As the dawn broke on 2016, I contemplated a New Year’s Resolution. I wanted it to be something that I could and would commit to fully. I thought about the saying by Sean Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, “We become what we repeatedly do” and decided that I would start a Gratitude Journal.
Being a photographer and social media manager, I quickly realized that writing my thoughts in a book simply wouldn’t stick. So I decided to create a platform that would suit me (and hopefully you too) so that I could share my daily inspiration for gratitude. The answer was obvious – to use the cell phone that was almost always glued to my hand and take a photo every day for a year.
I decided that I wanted to emphasize through my posts that life isn’t only about the happy Facebook posts and photographs we see every day. Life can become messy and I wanted to encourage interaction on a more personal level. Why?
Because three days prior one of my friends posted this Facebook status:
The comments that followed really bugged me because it seems widely accepted that it’s okay to not communicate authentically.
“…none of it’s real, people love a good #imagecraft”
“yes, I get dem feels too but that’s Social Media for you”
“Most are not happy. In fact very few are even at Peace”
“Don’t be fooled by the pictures people post.”
Nowadays Social Media is the communication highway for many friendships and building new relationships and it seems ludicrous that we aren’t really connecting at all. Why waste our valuable time on empty relationships?
Can I change Social Media?
The main focus of #Opportunity365 is to inspire others to gratitude and to establish real connections on Social Media. I knew the idea was pretty out there but I really wanted to try change the frivolous nature that we seem to foster on Social Media. While the project was initially launched on Instagram, as the project developed, others were inspired to participate and used the hashtag #Opportunity365 on any photo that inspired them to gratitude on any platform – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Pinterest.
Has #Opportunity365 been successful?
2 months into the project, I was on a set for 14 hours and I struck up conversation with the gentleman next to me about the project. Before I knew it, he whipped out his cell phone and showed me an email which he had received from a friend, telling him to read an article because he had been feeling depressed. The link was the article in which I launched #Opportunity365! The project was starting to circulate and was inspiring others to gratitude!
As awareness grew around the project, I started receiving more emails, messages and making contact with people who felt the project resonated with them.
People across the world have participated, some even post regularly. What started as a local project has jumped borders and united many who were in a dark place in their lives.
I have offered a month of free marketing to whoever inspires others to gratitude with their post and that offer is still up for grabs!
The Personal Reward
The daily act of posting an inspiration to gratitude has changed my outlook on life and raised me to a new level of awareness. #Opportunity365 became a habit and because “your vibe attracts your tribe”, the people I met through this project are now life-long friends. We met for coffee, we shared stories and we worked together on projects but most importantly, we connected! And I have #Opportunity365 to thank.
Can I participate?
Yes! I encourage you to participate and help me to make Social Media a positive place, at least once a day. I want to ask you to look for a moment of gratitude in your daily life. To foster this mentality takes practice and at a time when the whole world, not just South Africans, are gripped by an uncertain future, I believe that #Opportunity365 can uplift and unite many who are fearful.
I look forward to seeing you on the social media highways!
Yours in gratitude, Stephanie #Opportunity365