Seeking an Attitude of Gratitude

There are always two ways to frame our outlook on life. Two options for how we choose to view and react to our present circumstances. We can dwell on the disappointments, the sadness, the frustrating. Or we can choose to focus on the encouraging, the uplifting, the good in the midst of the bad.  Of course, flipping our negative perspective into a positive one doesn’t change the realities of a crummy situation, but it does change how we go through it.

The holidays have a way of bringing out the best and sometimes the worst in us, so over the next few days, I’d like to challenge you to:

  • Choose to be grateful for access to good food and the money to buy it as you stand in those long grocery lines.
  • Choose to be grateful for safe, reliable transportation as you encounter the bumper-to-bumper traffic that accompanies a busy shopping season.
  • Choose to be grateful for warm homes, warm clothes, and warm workplaces in the midst of winter’s coming cold.
  • Choose to be grateful for your in-laws. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t have your spouse!

This season, challenge yourself not to regard “thanksgiving” as simply an event or a meal (or a whole lot of work!), but as an action that you will commit to doing more of in every season. It won’t erase your challenges, but it will improve your outlook and, most importantly, it will encourage others along the way.

Thankfulness. Why are we so open to encourage and be thankful at Thanksgiving time? Shouldn’t we “give thanks” every day of the year? What if Thanksgiving was every Friday and we ended the workweek by thanking our teammates?  Or what if it was every Monday, and we started the workweek out by giving thanks? Wow! I think this would totally change our mindset and drive positive thinking and expression.  Thanksgiving should be a daily mindset, not just an annual holiday.

Stay with me here! Before you think this is just another Thanksgiving Day blog, know that I was on this kick before the holiday. I work within a lot of companies, and I’ve seen a workforce trend of entitlement growing more and more common. Entitlement is the enemy of thankfulness. After all, why would you be thankful for something owed to you? (more…)

Did you enjoy a typical, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or was it full of little surprises and new twists?

This year, instead of eating around the lunch hour, we had our Thanksgiving feast at 4:00 p.m. Next, someone changed up the traditional broccoli-rice-cheese casserole. If that wasn’t enough, a different stuffing was suggested. Really???

I’m always up for change, but this year I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable with alterations to our traditions, which got me thinking about the significance between change and tradition. (more…)

On Thursday, many of us will pause either before or after the big Thanksgiving dinner to share something for which we’re thankful. Our families. Our friends. Our health. Our jobs. Our homes. If we are truly mindful of our blessings, the list can be endless.

I wonder, though, how many of us will pause to give thanks on this day, not only to God for our blessings, but to another for the support, for the encouragement, for the silent cheer-leading of a family member, a special friend, or a dedicated teammate.

A sincere thank you isn’t just about acknowledgement. It’s also about encouragement. It’s about validating their efforts at making your life better, easier, happier. And that small bit of encouragement is enough to refuel their determination in making another, maybe bigger impact in another person’s life.

Take time this week to give thanks to God for those people who’ve blessed your life. Then, give them your gift of thanks by telling those same people how they’ve blessed your life. Encourage them to keep it up. That you noticed their efforts, that you appreciate them, and that they truly have made a difference.

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns;
I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Unknown

There are always two ways to frame our perspectives on life, yet we often take the roses-have-thorns point of view. What if we chose a different mindset?

  • Choosing to be thankful for our jobs, even if we arrive there following a long, bumper-to-bumper commute.
  • Choosing to be thankful for problem teammates. They afford us the opportunity to impact them in a positive way.
  • Choosing to be thankful for those high-maintenance clients; it is their business that helps keep us employed.
  • Choosing to be thankful for a sink full of dirty dishes. It means our family is well fed.
  • Choosing to be thankful for a messy house; even our most modest of homes would be considered luxurious in much of the world.
  • Choosing to be thankful for our democracy. Even if we didn’t vote for all the individuals in office, at least we have the freedom to vote.
  • Choosing to be thankful for tough times; those are the moments that prepare us for something bigger.

Real Thanksgiving isn’t an event, a meal, or a feeling. It’s a choice we make each moment of the day. How will you choose to be thankful?

The week of Thanksgiving always seems like a good time to reflect on how we can thank employees for their hard work and for the value they bring to the company. But frankly, I don’t like the way that feels. Though there’s certainly nothing wrong with thanking employees around the holidays, it can also seem very trite, especially if that’s the only time of the year you show your appreciation!

This week, I want to focus on how leaders can show their thankfulness year round. Instead of just listing my ideas of good ways to thank employees, I wanted to hear from the employees themselves! This is a REALity question from me! So, this weekend I e-mailed a handful of friends and asked them the following question:

How does your leader show his/her thankfulness to you in a way that means the most to you?

Here’s what they had to say: (more…)