Around the Thanksgiving table it’s easy to express our gratitude. The aroma of a fabulous meal and the laughter of family and friends breeds the welcomed cliche´: we are so grateful.
The challenge is expressing that gratitude again today, and every day.
Maybe it helps to remember that Abraham Lincoln officially established Thanksgiving 150 years ago at the urging of an aging magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, who observed that our nation – at odds with one another – needed a formal day of “thanksgiving and praise.” Her point: she believed all of the United States needed to share the experience of gratitude to keep us “united.”
Two of the cornerstones of goodness in leadership are “living generously” and “spreading positivity.” My simple mind can’t conjure up any other way to spread goodness than to live and work with gratitude. Like Sarah Josepha Hale reminded Abraham Lincoln, it’s the goodness that brings people together.
We all need those reminders. One of my life mentors – Jerry Hoffman – lives and works like a fine Swiss watch…without fail, he offers a well-conditioned response: “I’m grateful!” when anyone asks the “How are you?” question. The first time I heard it, I chuckled. The next few times I thought this guy’s impressive. Today, after nearly 20 years of receiving his “I’m grateful” response, I believe he means it. I can feel it.
Are you still grateful today? Can the people in your life feel it? After the turkey leftovers are gone and family and friends evaporate into their calendars…everyday life takes over.
When you’ve taken out the garbage, answered the emails, sat through budgeting meetings and jumped back on the treadmill…are you still grateful today? How would I know?
Good leaders make a habit of living and working with a spirit of gratitude, long after the buzz of Thanksgiving is gone. And we create a mood and tone that brings people together, again and again.
Please share with me: In what ways can the people around you feel your gratitude today?