If you want someone in your life, then make a point to own the relationship. Too many people wait for an email in their inbox or for a phone call from a friend. My challenge to you is to buck this trend and be the one to reach out to someone!
In order to practice what I preach, I decided to deliberately reach out to the people in my life by sending a different postcard to a different mailbox on each day of 2015. After half a year of sending one postcard every day, I’ve learned a few things about myself and my network.
First, Some Background
The idea surfaced sometime in November of 2014. A mutual friend’s project appeared one day in my Facebook newsfeed. Chris Barker used his project, PostBark, to showcase his photography skills by taking amazing shots of his daily postcards and posting these pictures to social media. On each of his postcards he included an inspirational quote. The project found a fast following on social media and people from across the globe were requesting his postcards.
This idea resonated with me and I wanted to take on my own postcard endeavor. My passion project, Well-Rounded Success, encourages people to feel successful today with the way they build structure into their daily pursuits, instead of deferring life and striving for some unknown and uncertain future of success. The motto: why wait to be the person you want to become?
The Well-Rounded Success model encourages people to deliberately contribute to five areas of one’s life in order to feel and be more deliberately successful today. Relationships are one of those five pillars and that’s where the postcards make total sense.
The Postcard Project FAQ:
“Isn’t it inconvenient?”
It does take a lot of work, but it never feels like a burden!
“Is it expensive?”
It adds up, but I think an average of a dollar a day is worth bringing a smile to someone’s face.
“How do you know 365 addresses?”
I just ask! How many Facebook friends do you currently have? I’m sure you can find 365 addresses.
“Do you really write a postcard every day?”
I’m excited to say, yes, I do!
Why I Love It
This project brings me so much joy. I’m obsessed. Whenever visiting a new place, I’m immediately searching for postcards. My collection continues to grow and it’s fun to lay out which postcard to snail-mail each day!
To make these postcards authentic, every message is handwritten and contains a personalized thank you. My current family and friends receive postcards. Some of my favorite teachers (including my kindergarten teacher) get postcards. My friends from previous phases in life receive postcards. Some old colleagues and mentors receive postcards. I’ve even sent postcards to some celebrities and authors who I admire. And each of these postcards acknowledge that individual’s impact on my life.
Some random people from around the world have reached out asking for a postcard too. They found my daily postcard pictures on Instagram (@wellroundedsuccess) and got in touch! It’s been fun to make new connections that way.
The most memorable postcards so far include a few which took a tremendous amount of emotional willpower to write. Apologies. After writing these postcards, I needed to take deep breaths and sometimes walk around the block. Certain life stages didn’t bring out the best in me and I burnt bridges. These parted relationships bothered me so I decided to either research their current addresses, or send them a message asking for their address. I put pen to paper and let a heartfelt message appear on the back of a postcard. Even though this act is small and controlled, it felt good to apologize.
A few contacts returned their own postcards and I proudly display these in my home. Some reach out saying “thanks” with their own heartfelt messages, or let me know that I made their day. This project has a special kind of power like that, and that’s why I love it.
Now, Go Send a Postcard
You know your face lights up when you check your mail and a handwritten note is mixed with your bills and advertisements. When this happens, what do you usually open first? We all open the handwritten letter first.
Now, why don’t you write your own postcard or letter to someone? Why not buy some postcards when you travel and simply write “wish you were here” or another friendly message?
The gestures we as family members, friends, colleagues, partners, or strangers make, have the power to make people feel either significant or insignificant. So write someone a note to let them know they’re significant. You’ll feel great for making the gesture, and what’s more important, is the smile you bring to their face.
I’m half way through my year of postcards, and I can’t wait to send the next 180!
Send a Postcard,
To see pictures of past postcards, and/or if you want your own postcard, please visit this webpage where you can input your contact information. To follow along, connect on Instagram, Facebook, or visit the blog.