As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S., it’s a great time to reflect on three specific things for which we are thankful.
- The gift of the present – There is a fabulous quote from Winnie-the-Pooh, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” We make it a daily practice to share three “I am grateful for…” They change each day but this regular practice has helped us maintain our focus on the gift of the here and now.
They say that you cannot hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time. If you are focused on what you are grateful for, it pushes out the unpleasant, frustrated, angry thoughts and re-centers you on the good of the moment. There are times when we feel negativity swelling up from within. When that happens, we ask each other, “what are you grateful for?” Try it sometime and see how that simple question can orient you to the gift of the present.
- The gift of relationships – connection is critical. In the book, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, Dr. Matt Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more essential than our need for food or shelter. We are thankful for you, our reader, and thankful for each person whose presence has blessed our lives. We are richer for knowing you and learning from you. As neuroscience tells us, you are more important than what we eat and where we sleep!
Connection with others has even been shown to make you live a longer, healthier life! In the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, social engagement is one of the six lifestyle characteristics of residents in the blue zones. “Stay Social” is one of the nine lessons Dan Buettner writes about. It’s not just about having connections, but who you are connected to. If you become like the people you spend the most time with, then it’s essential to connect with encouraging, inspiring, wise people. We are thankful for the people who make our lives better because of their presence.
- The gift of good work – for many years’ leaders believed that money motivated employees to work harder and do their best work. Some leaders still believe this! In our experience, people are at their best when they understand how their work connects to a greater purpose. We’ve devoted our practice to eliminate the erosion of human potential in the workplace. Erosion happens in many ways. For example, when employees are unable to bring the best of who they are to the workplace for the benefit of themselves and their employer their potential is eroded. We have observed numerous M&A situations where millions of dollars of value, productivity and potential is eroded because leaders ignored the importance of culture.
We are blessed to be working with CEO’s and executive teams who value their people and are committed to improving their culture. We believe that everyone has value and needs a place to realize their purpose. We believe that when the collective value of people is focused on a clear vision, it creates exponential value in the marketplace for their organization. We are thankful for work that enables us to realize our potential and helps others realize their potential.
For more information on the value and importance of gratitude, check out this post from the Greater Good in Action department of Berkeley. It explains ten research-based reasons for practicing gratitude and gives twelve effective ways to cultivate gratitude.