Janelle Julian and Matthew Julian
Planting Seeds of Gratitude
“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates” (Ben-Shahar, 2017).
Note: Next Level Heroes is composed of 2 distinct voices - Janelle’s and Matthew’s. We write as we speak - conversationally. Rather than smash our voices together into something that doesn’t fully resonate with either of us, we simulated a conversation between us. Janelle’s voice will be denoted by orange text and Matthew’s by blue text.
J: The ancient art of gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in the universe - it should have its own Infinity Stone (1). It has the ability to energize everyone it touches, whether it be the recipient or the giver. My brother Matthew and I discovered its power during our adventures and have harnessed it to produce terrific results in our lives. I’m so glad we extracted it from that ancient, abandoned temple in South America. It was totally worth the booby traps and giant boulder (2). With gratitude fueling our desire to positively transform the world, the company Next Level Heroes (NLH) was born in fire like Khaleesi’s dragons (3).
M: We collaborated with some of our very talented family members to create the NLH Spring Card project and share our appreciation with our community of heroes who have positively impacted our lives from teachers/mentors and old friends to recent colleagues.
Our team-up consisted of heroes with a particular set of skills, skills that make us a dream come true for people like you (4). Our sister Ali, an experienced event producer, managed the project with her superpowers of extraordinary organizational skills and hawk-eyed attention to detail. Our sister Genna, a gifted artist, crafted the beautiful cover art. Our stepdad Jim, a project management expert, served as Executive Sponsor and Advisor across all phases of the project.
J: We were initially thinking of sending handwritten messages via carrier pigeon but were just so bogged down by the logistics - I looked like I had just found Pepe Sylvia (5). Then we rode the pony express back to reality and decided to start with a good old-fashioned handwritten “thank you card” as our base. From there, we added a spring theme because the season perfectly aligns with our mission of personal revitalization and renewal. As we continued through the planning phase, we identified three main intentions that we had for the final product.
M: First, we wanted the card to surprise and delight the recipient. We decided to give people something they couldn't easily purchase at a store or design online, so we came up with a custom illustration. Like master crafted clickbait, the front cover had to catch the eye and intrigue the recipient to open the card and discover more about the card’s purpose.
Second, we wanted to incorporate the three (completely original) central themes of Next Level Heroes: Love, Peace, and Joy, along with our value of inclusivity. We decided to create a metaphorical seed packet with three flowers to represent the three themes - a red rose, a blue violet, and an orange pot marigold. The red rose is the universal symbol of love, the violet represents balance and peace, and the pot marigold is associated with joy (not to be confused with “pot” which is also associated with joy). The flowers also span the globe - the red rose being native to Asia, the violet native to North America, and the pot marigold native to Europe.
J: Third, and most importantly, the card needed to be personal. We wanted to reach out and touch each person with our messages to make them feel loved, valued, and seen. The personal messages are based on our relationships to the card recipients, highlighting what we most appreciate about them, how they positively impacted our lives, and how they make us feel. Honestly, my heart grew three sizes (6) as I thought of each person and put words to paper. It made me feel like I was with them all over again experiencing the cherished qualities that they brought to our interactions.
M: We created physical and digital versions of the cards to ensure that we could reach as many of our beloved community of heroes as possible. For the physical versions, we ordered 100 custom cards from a print vendor, hand wrote the personalized messages, then mailed them out. For the digital versions, we wanted to approximate the magic of the physical cards. To accomplish this, we recreated the card layout in PowerPoint, added our custom messages, then exported the presentations as video files that we sent electronically. Kudos to Matthew for this creative hack.
J: The cards have been a rousing success! Many of our recipients have reached out to us sharing their experiences of receiving the cards. We’ve heard things like “you made my year, you’ve lifted my spirits substantially, who are you and how do you have my address?” The beauty of sharing gratitude with people is that such a simple action can yield powerful results. It strengthens your bond with the person, makes you both feel warm and fuzzy, and can invite glorious new experiences. Gratitude is limitless, free, and generates positive ripple effects. We recommend that every person and business harness its power.
M: The Spring Card project also represents the official launch of Next Level Heroes. Through NLH, we help successful individuals lead more loving, peaceful, and joyful lives. We use our unique and proven blend of coaching and consulting called "Guiding" to help our clients replace their limiting beliefs with empowering ones. Guiding our clients to tap into gratitude creates exponential returns in their lives.
Janelle is a certified life coach with a lifetime of experience guiding people to greater fulfillment. I head up the business side with my background studying abroad at a prestigious international business school, completing Y Combinator Startup School, and working at a successful tech startup in a leadership role in San Francisco. We have each discovered genuine happiness, bliss, fulfillment, ecstasy, heaven on Earth (“Ooh baby, do you know what that’s worth?” - 7) - or whatever term suits you best. We’re passionate about sharing what we have with heroes like you!
Love, Peace & Joy,
Janelle and Matthew
To learn more about NLH, visit:
To learn about Ali’s event production business, visit:
To see more of Genna’s wonderful art, check out her Instagram:
Ben-Shahar, T. (2017, May 18). When you appreciate, the good appreciates. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-you-appreciate-good-appreciates-tal-ben-shahar
Next Level References 🧚
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 - )
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
“Heaven Is A Place On Earth” (1987)