053: John Israel on The Mr. Thank You Project & How Intentional Gratitude Can Impact Your Life & Business

053: John Israel on The Mr. Thank You Project & How Intentional Gratitude Can Impact Your Life & Business

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to our latest episode – please excuse me for the stuffiness as I’m just getting over a cold but wanted to battle through this to make sure today’s episode hit you all by Thanksgiving as it ties in perfectly. On a day where we all should sit back and reflect on all that we are thankful for, I am humbled to share this conversation with you all. And a couple of amazing gives to say thanks for listening in that I’ll share here in a second… but on to today’s guest.

My buddy, John Israel, is the author and founder of The Mr. Thank You Project: A Journey to Elevate the Level of Gratitude on the Planet…. One Card at a Time. Over the course of a year, he wrote 5 thank you cards a day, EVERY day – that’s 1,825 handwritten thank you cards over the course of a year!!! His new book tells the story of the surprising and amazing things that happened along the way! It’s easily one of the top books I’ve read in 2018 and if you’re looking to learn how expressing gratitude – both personally and professionally – can make you a better financial advisor and a better person … this episode is for you!


Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
  • [16:07] John starts out by sharing a few stories, including the very first thank you card he wrote to a Starbucks barista at 5am in the morning, an over-the-top reaction to a note to a random waitress in Philadelphia, and even text message responses from handwritten notes he’s shared with pilots that have made sure he landed safely. He explains how thanking people for real, meaningful things impacted him just as much as it did them – even if he’d never met them before.
  • [38:27] Then, John introduces the idea of what he calls “The Gratitude Loop” – and how a major breakthrough in his project led to a discovery that helped keep his own ego in check.
  • [54:19] From there, we dig into why nothing bad can ever happen from saying ‘thank you.’ John shares a HUGE lesson for financial advisors about how saying thanks to even those who don’t become a client can be one of the most powerful things you’ll ever do. He shares how doing this himself led to a 300% ROI for John – even after he’d lost the sale!
  • [01:01:39] John then reveals surprising and unintended results from the aftermath of The Mr. Thank You Project – including how it increased his profits solely in terms of non-canceled business and customer retention.
  • [01:13:14] Next, John shares the amazing story of how expressing gratitude, like for instance a runner-up national championship team, can lead to incredible experiences you didn’t see coming.
  • [01:19:08] Finally, I share a challenge to all of you listeners – that can help you bring the lessons of the Mr. Thank You Project into the real world, with the commitment of just one thank you card to start out.



  • [06:15] The story of the man who set out to change the world – and why this story affected John Israel so greatly.
  • [10:22] How writing Thank You cards put John in the heads of people he didn’t know – and the surprising responses that he received by showing his appreciation for them.
  • [13:04] John introduces the rules of the Mr. Thank You project – and the clench move that ensured he would follow through.
  • [16:50] How John gave the best tip a waitress had ever received – and the way it validated his work in the Mr. Thank You project.
  • [45:53]John introduces the concept of the YNK factor – and the power of not knowing what good you’re bringing into the world – as well as how it relates to sales.
  • [57:40] What John would want to receive from the people who don’t earn his business now to all but guarantee it in the future.
  • [01:01:03] Why trust is so essential to building relationships – especially in industries known for being less than trustworthy.
  • [01:06:26] The reason it’s okay to have canceled orders if you’re having success in business.
  • [01:09:02] How to write a personal, authentic Thank You card – even when you’re saying thank you 5 times a day for a year.
  • [01:23:06] The first person John thinks of as successful – and the power of mentorship.
  • [01:23:46] What John wants to see thought of as absurd in 25 years.
  • [01:25:42] Why Jay Papasan’s The ONE Thing is one of John’s very favorite books – and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is among his most gifted.
  • [01:28:21] The power of the actual experience of gratitude – and its lasting effects, especially in a field as up and down as sales.
  • [01:33:38] Why people are more important than profits – and why this mentality always leads to profits.





This week’s first review comes to us from user Nwrightjr who says:


Thanks for the kind words and the review! So glad you enjoyed the conversation with Greg, he shared some incredible advice for every entrepreneur out there. I love hearing that after 12 years in the business you are still focusing on making yourself better, I find it’s a common trait of the most successful in our business. Thanks for the praise in regards to the podcast, these comments really do mean a lot and keep me hunting for more incredible guests to bring your all’s way.

The next review comes to us from user Jarrod_W who says:

Thanks for your thoughts Jarrod and the review. I wish podcasts would have existed in my college days… at least in the easy to access format they do today. Not sure where you plan on your business career taking you, but if you are already seeking out additional ways to learn and grow, my guess is wherever the next phase in life takes you, you’re going to be a rock star. Hit me up if it happens to include financial services 🙂

Next up is user daleshafer who says:

Thanks for listening in Dale and for the 5 star review! The episode with Ian Cron and the Enneagram lessons in his book The Road Back to You still impact me today a few years after I first met Ian. In fact I just texted a friend the other day to share his assessment test www.exploreyourtype.com and highly recommend taking it and then picking up a copy of his book for anyone in a relationship or business where you are trying to better understand what motivates others actions. So glad it helped you in the same way it did me Dale. Thanks for the super kind words and I’ll keep the conversations coming!

And the last featured review for the week comes to us from LegatoFinancial, who says:

Take the 1st Step to Building Your Ideal Practice: Apply for “Virtual Discovery Session

For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them, versus them serving it. Yes it’s possible to grow your business and work less, this is a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country… So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a 1-on-1 conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at bradleyjohnson.com/apply. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out the application so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. We then dive into a Discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey. We do a lot of listening, and take a lot of notes to build a rough draft of our proprietary Elite Advisor Blueprint – 90 Day Plan™. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at bradleyjohnson.com/apply 🙂


Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!




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This is provided for informational purposes only. Results from the use of these concepts are no guarantee of your future success. For financial professional use only.

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