Thanksgiving is almost here — I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of gratitude and how it relates to leadership. This Thanksgiving message from my good friend, Robyn Marcotte of Aha! Leadership, inspired me:
Gratitude does more than make us feel good, it does us good. What’s more, it’s good for other people too. So, thanking the people we’re grateful for increases happiness all round.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward
Thanksgiving is a time of joy, appreciation, love and gratitude. The holiday has evolved to include all sorts of great accessories, too, such as pumpkin pie, turkey, casseroles, football and naps. These foods and experiences help us celebrate, but sometimes they can overshadow the spirit and intent of this important day.
As a leader, enjoy the holiday’s bounty, but also take time to express your gratitude for the people in your life.
- Share with your parents 1-2 memories of how they helped you become the person you are today.
- Talk with your siblings about their strengths and how you’ve appreciated growing up with them.
- Call your friends and remind them how important they are to your life.
- Do something unexpected for your neighbor – write a card and place it on their doorstep, shovel the snow off their driveway, bake them cookies.
- Write a Facebook post about a favorite teacher or coach and how they inspired you (and if they’re on Facebook, don’t forget to highlight their name so they see your message – this will light up their day).
- Tell your children why they are so special and how important they are to you.
- Take five seconds and walk inside the gas station after pumping gas to wish the attendant a Happy Thanksgiving and share your appreciation that they’re open on a holiday.
Also, don’t let the little things get in your way of experiencing thanks:
- Turkey that’s too dry
- The cousin who has snarky comments
- Your uncooperative two-year-old
- A rainy day
- A demanding workload that’s infringing on your Thursday
- A long-standing family disagreement
Let’s all be present on Thursday, bring our best emotions and set the right example for others to follow … and then work to be present for the days and weeks that follow.