Notes of Thanksgiving

When was the last time you wrote notes to family or colleagues just saying how thankful or grateful you were for them?

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What will you do this holiday season to make gratitude part of your traditions? I have made it my practice over the last 10+ years that, on Thanksgiving Eve, I go through my contacts and send personalized emails/messages to as many people as I can. It is always a slow day at work, people usually leave early and it gives me quiet time to reach out to many people that I have not been in contact with for a while. It is an opportunity to simply say “hello”. It’s a chance to reconnect…to see how you are….I don’t want anything…I don’t need anything…I just want you to know that I am thinking of you and I am grateful for you. It takes me most of the day to go through all 2000+ contacts and I always feel it is a worthwhile investment in time.

Almost everyone I reach out to responds and shares their sentiments of gratefulness and happiness as they prepare to spend thanksgiving with family and friends. Very often… it also evokes sharing of hardship or challenge they are facing which is all a part of who we are and a reminder that everyone is facing a struggle that no one knows about. Lastly, it never ceases to amaze me how at least one or two people respond with a heartfelt note which stops me in my tracks and inspires me even more.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

~Brother David Steindl-Rast

People chase happiness by buying more…trying to make more…trying to get promoted…and in the end all that chasing just keeps them chasing for more. They always think happiness will wait for some magical day…when they achieve what they perceive to be the source of their happiness. If….by some chance….they actually DO reach that magical day…the feeling is momentary at best. The question is…what did they miss out on or lose along the way while they chase perceived happiness…and…was it worth it?

Despite all that life has to throw at us…some of the happiest people have very little but they are grateful for all that they DO HAVE. I believe it is our job as leaders and as parents to take time to lead by example. To create the traditions, the moments and the activities that propagates this sense of gratefulness for all that we have….not all that we have lost or that we don’t have.

I am grateful for the health, happiness and well-being of my family and friends. I am grateful for the quality of my life and that I can take time to appreciate all that I have. I know these moments are all that we have and that we cannot take them for granted both at work and at home.

Leadership questions of the week for YOU:

· What are you most grateful for at work and at home?

· When was the last time you wrote notes to family or colleagues just saying how thankful or grateful you were for them?

· What are your holiday traditions for your family and friends?

· Knowing that at the core of who you are that you are a grateful person – can you ask at least three people around you to tell you what they are grateful for? (it can be family, friends or colleagues). What did you learn about them that you didn’t know before or that touched you that you will carry with you?

Thanks for reading and remember…..YOU make a difference!

Be sure to continue the conversation by liking, commenting or sharing this post. You can also follow me on twitter @marciedwhite.

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