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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 042919 — Asal Dean

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We are full of love today as #sparkchamber welcomes gratitude visionary Asal Dean, an oncology pharmacist turned gratitude-thoughtleader, the founder of Gratitudegrams. Gratitudegrams are hand-sized tokens of appreciation, designed and produced to encourage people to spread their gratitude and kindness with other people. The idea for the company was sparked by a moment in November of 2016, when, in her car after a gym class, Asal thought, “Wow, I’m pretty unhappy.” Such an ironic revelation given how perfect her life looked on paper: the awesome job, the cool car, the great neighborhood, the supportive friends, the loving family … even the cutest puppy!

A mentor suggested that, each evening before going to bed, she should note things for which she was grateful. Asal took that advice, beginning a 2-minute daily gratitude practice that changed her life. She quickly realized that her true passion was to teach and inspire people to share their gratitude with others. At a coffee shop one day, on a random burst of inspiration, she put pen to brown kraft paper and wrote personalized notes expressing what she was thankful for about each of the people in her life. As she delivered them, the responses were incredibly supportive, the general idea being, “we need more of this in the world.” And the Gratitudegram was born.

She printed a batch of blanks [get some here] including instructions to write what you’re thankful for about a person and give it to them — along with one or more blank Gratitudegrams so they can pay it forward to someone else.

Right now, Asal is partnered with Bolster & Bridge, a foundation supporting cancer patients and their loved ones through the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of diagnosis, treatment, and residual impact of cancer. With every purchase, she will make a one-for-one donation of Gratitudegrams to Bolster & Bridge to pass along to the people they serve.

In addition to Gratitudegrams, Asal now also leads Attitude of Gratitude workshops to help people “unplug,” practice gratitude, and connect with other people in a safe and comfortable environment, and offers public-speaking engagements to share her story and inspire gratitude.

Learn more about The Growing Gratitude Movement and Asal’s story here, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

1.] Where do ideas come from?

Ideas come from: a person’s mindset, a person’s interests, inspiration from other human beings, experiences, time, a combination of thoughts, failures, wants & needs, purpose, change, nature, technology, teachers & mentors, peers, expertise, mistakes, meditation, challenges, and energy

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

What drives me to create is my true purpose of living this life on earth — to make this world a better place. More specifically, my purpose is to inspire people to be kinder and to share their gratitude with one another. We need more kindness in this world. Our communities would thrive more if people tapped more often into a mindset of gratitude and happiness. I want people to be part of a community [the world] where they feel appreciated and are connected with other human beings. Connecting with people [as simple as exchanging a smile] motivates me to show and teach people how they too have the power to positively impact another person. I work with sick people who are battling cancer, and they are my biggest life teachers. We don’t need to experience sickness or the loss of our health in order to truly live life and make the most of our time on this planet Earth.

3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

I work best when I am at a coffee shop, listening to music and sitting at an individual table. Essentials on my table include: black, iced americano, black gel ink pens, scratch paper, post-its, my gratitude book, my planner, Apple laptop, dark chocolate, roasted almonds/pecans/macadamia nuts/hazelnuts snack, and lip balm. I tend to spend 3-to-5-hour blocks working on projects. I occasionally take breaks to people-watch and exchange smiles with strangers who walk in and out of the coffee shop. Depending on my schedule I can be an early bird or a night owl. An ideal day would be to start work early, take a break in the afternoon and get back to work in the evening. Crossing items off my “to-do” list gives me an adrenaline rush and it feels great! I prefer to work like a hare. I enjoy achieving my goals, completing projects, challenging myself and seeing results with the tasks I focus on accomplishing. I plan out my week usually on Sundays and make time to work on my personal projects [the Gratitudegrams and The Growing Gratitude Movement]. I maintain the flow by writing timelines and goals in my planner and working with my accountability buddy. I have learned to overcome my fear of being judged or criticized for what I produce and bring to this world. I learned to stay committed to the core purpose of why I do what I do — to inspire and teach people to share their gratitude and kindness. Living and working with this mindset helps me overcome challenges, fears, doubts and keeps me motivated to continue creating.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

That’s a great question. I don’t know and I don’t think I will ever know when I will be done. I think for me, being “done” is when I leave planet Earth.


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