Using a Gratitude Journal App: There is no “but”

A couple of weeks ago a famous online tech dude named Stewart Rogers put my book on a very prestigious site for new techy things called Product Hunt. It’s a really big deal in the nerdy world. Really.

But the thing about Product Hunt is that once you’re on there, people have to give you upvotes to show their support. And you have to get plenty of upvotes right away or your little product slips down in the rankings and is much less likely to be seen. And even more challenging… you really only have ONE DAY to make it because the next day the leaderboard starts anew.

OMG but I was stressed out. He told me the day before that he was going to do it at about 9 a.m. Eastern Time so I got up at 4 on the West Coast and fretted. When the book appeared a couple of hours later, I obsessed for hours about getting people to check it out (it’s against the rules to openly ASK for upvotes).

I was a mess for hours, especially when the upvotes stalled and my email to my 7.5k followers resulted in quite a few people unsubscribing because I was spamming. Although I ended up getting 53 upvotes, which is pretty high for the books on Product Hunt, I realized that I was in the bottom 33% of the products that Stewart had nominated. I thought I had let him down. I misspelled his name in the email. I made my followers angry. I wasn’t going to hit critical mass to be successful. Everything was stressful.

I was freaking out on the phone to my (much more than an) assistant, Molly, and she said something that really made me think.

“This is a really big thing that you’re on this list. I want you to be happy about this.”

Wow. I wasn’t letting myself be happy. I was focusing on what wasn’t happening instead of being grateful for what was. This was quite a wakeup call for me. To be honest, I’m a worrier. I want to be perfect every time on stage; to be well prepared way in advance; to make everyone happy; to balance travel and work and home. And when everything isn’t perfect, I focus on the negative.

I was inspired to try a gratitude journal app after listening to a fantastic speaker named Mary C. Kelly. She talked about changing your attitude in a number of different ways. One that struck me as the easiest was to swap out the phrase “have to” for “get to,” as in:

  • Before: I have to go to work.
    After: I get to go to work and do something I love while making a living for myself and my family.
  • Before: I have to do the dishes.
    After: I get to do the dishes with a modern dishwasher in my beautiful home. I’m so fortunate to have these amenities!
  • Before: I have to go on a diet.
    After: I get to change my eating habits to become more happy and healthy.

Just that simple switch makes all the difference.

There are lots of gratitude journal apps for your mobile devices. I’m not particularly in love with the one I chose, so I won’t bother with a review. I don’t even remember the name. But the premise is the same: every day, you get to share things you’re grateful about. And I love that there’s no place for a “but.”

I’ve been faithful every day since I downloaded it, almost two weeks ago, and it’s really starting to make a difference. This morning is a prime example. For the first time since 1995 (no, really), I did not hear my alarm clock or it didn’t go off or whatever. I woke up at 6:21, and I had to be on a shuttle at 6:30. If this had happened pre-journal, my internal monologue would have been something like OMG I’m late I’m never going to make it I look like crap and don’t even have time to brush my hair I can’t believe I did this I suck This sucks OMG!

If the gratitude app had a place for a “but,” I might have written: The alarm clock didn’t go off, but I still made it to the airport in time.

Instead, here’s what I wrote:

Because the alarm didn’t go off, I was able to get in another half an hour of wonderful sleep. And since I had packed the night before, I was able to make the shuttle and get to the airport in time! And it’s refreshing to head out without makeup or fancy hair… I am not meeting clients at the airport, so I can be relaxed!

Now I’m sitting here at the airport between connections, and I get to share a tool that has helped me with you, my wonderful followers.

I’m grateful to you for listening. 🙂


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