Canadian Thanksgiving is coming this weekend. The word thanksgiving is a great word, because it is a reminder to take some time to be thankful for what we have, and for those who love and appreciate us. It can be tough though, because it is a habit that needs to be developed through practice.
When I was younger, I didn’t really have an appreciation of Thanksgiving. My family cooked a turkey, but that was about it. When I went away to university, I really noticed Thanksgiving for the first time. I was too far away to go home, and I lived in residence. When my friends would go home for Thanksgiving, it was lonely. Occasionally a friend would say “hey maybe you can come home with me for Thanksgiving dinner” but wouldn’t follow through.
During those times, I would try to make the best of it. I took myself out to dinner, hung out with others that were staying around, go to a movie, walk around and enjoy the fall colours, and sometimes I had a pity party. It was a tough holiday.
It isn’t easy to be grateful when you don’t feel grateful. Those times are the hardest to dig deep to find some small thing to appreciate.
I made a point to invite those without family or plans to Thanksgiving dinner or any other holiday dinner after I graduated. I know that they were grateful for the offer whether they joined us or not, because they knew that someone was thinking of them. My children started this practice as well and is something they continue to do. It is a way for me and for them to help show our appreciation for others, especially those who are lonely.
I am grateful for the lesson that lonely Thanksgiving holidays in school taught me. Holidays and celebrations can be hard on those who are alone. I know from experience how a small act of kindness can make a difference in someone else’s life and how good it feels to be remembered. It can also make a big difference in your life and how you see the world.
So, what does gratitude have to do with leadership? When I read various articles about leadership, frequently, a key quality of leadership mindset, is an attitude of gratitude. There is nothing like a manager who tells you that they appreciate the work you do. Similarly, having family or friends tell you that they appreciate you is special. It makes a difference. Good leaders take the time to appreciate what they have, and those around them regardless of their situation in life. Many give their time and money to build a better world.
What we reflect to the world, is reflected back to us…
What are you grateful for?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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