Why you should write an Acknowledgements section for your life

Takeaway: Acknowledgements sections usually exist only in books (and maybe in speeches at weddings). What would yours look like if you had to write one for your life?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 10s.

I just finished writing the Acknowledgements section for my second book. (I know I keep mentioning this book project, and I’ll have more to say on it soon!)

An idea struck me when piecing together the section: the work of everyone acknowledged, when put together, was likely greater than my own efforts. While my name is on the cover, dozens of other people have played a part in making this book come to life. Someone designed the cover and the page layout. Someone edited the book, and conducted the studies I reference. Others will pitch the book to media outlets, and to publishers around the world. The list goes on.

I felt a strong sense of gratitude in piecing together this section. But this book is just one project within the broader context of my life. Feeling grateful for everyone who made the book possible got me thinking about how grateful I was for everyone else in my life. My partner, who has always been by my side. My family, and their support of my weird curiosities. I even felt grateful for my eyes and ears, parts of my body that let me perceive the world around me.

When it comes down to it, we have thousands of people and things for which to be grateful.

It’s worth asking: if you were to write an Acknowledgements section for your life, who and what would be in it? Would you include…

  • Teachers who inspired you to pursue your career?
  • Your parents for supporting you along the way?
  • Your first boss who gave you advice that changed your career trajectory for the better?
  • Your nutritionist who inspired you to eat better and lose 20 pounds?
  • A certain book that changed how you think about something?
  • A friend who has given you tough but unconditional love for most of your life?
  • A meditation practice for helping you stay calm?
  • A massage therapist for helping you zen out every couple weeks?

Unlike a book, you don’t need to imagine your life is over to write an Acknowledgements section. Simply look at where you are today, and who and what has helped you get there. Look across the elements of your life—your mind, body, emotions, career, finances, relationships, and the fun you have. Chances are you’ll find a lot to be grateful for.

Chasing success and productivity is worthwhile, but in that whirlwind it can be easy to forget who and what have helped foster those accomplishments. Writing an Acknowledgements section for your life will remind you what has led to where—and who—you are.

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