Ten years ago I received the dreaded “middle-of-the-night” phone call. My dad had suddenly passed away, which pushed me over a cliff that I already had my toes dangling over for quite some time. I was living in London, desperately trying to breath life into a failing business and his abrupt departure from my life was the last straw.
I spent the next few months curled up on my sofa with a wine bottle prompted to my mouth, scared to even leave our flat. Desperate, my husband thought living closer to my family might snap me out of it. So we packed up two suitcases and pilgrimaged to South Dakota where I got worse. Feeling like a lost foreigner in my hometown, I also had a failed business under my belt and an obvious hole in my family. My health suffered, relationships blew up, I cried all day, my weight skyrocketed, I didn’t sleep, and at my worse I stared down a pile of pills just wanting the pain to end.
That’s when I stumbled across the concept of a gratitude journal. It seemed simple enough – write five things that were great each day – so I sat down and began my first list. To this day, it amazes me what little things kept me going – the sun rising, the sound of someones laughter, or hearing a song I like.
My lists gradually moved me into a space where I made healthier life choices. In fact, only two months into my gratitude experiment, it occurred to me that I had lost about 20 pounds, was sleeping better, exercising more, had job prospects, and laughed all the time. I was laughing again!
This was my “ah-ha” moment. Electricity zipped through me as I realized the incredible power of focusing on the positive rather than the negative. I wanted the entire world to discover their own power, so I decided to create the Gratitude app.
I wasn’t a programmer, had never used a Mac, and had a measly $500 budget. In fact, I didn’t even have an iPhone, just my iPod touch. But none of that was going to stop me. A few months later my app stormed into the top position on the App Store and was hailed in major news publications around the globe.
If you had peered in my window during those few months, you would have seen me huddled at my computer, absorbed in design tools, messaging developers, and fumbling with Xcode—at the crack of down, all before going to my day job. I was determined to figure out how to get Mojo out there and changing the world.
My apps have since graced the front page of USA Today, been featured on Good Morning America, and been praised in the media from Fargo to France as proof that anyone can create a killer app.