Thanksgiving is the time of year where we give thanks for all the many important people in our lives. One of my favorite quotes from Meister Eckhart is “If the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you, then it will be enough.” I have always been thankful for all the different people in my life, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. Beyond that I don’t need much more to feel happy.
It’s a joke with my dad I could be happy flipping burgers if that was what I needed to do to take care of my family. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. But can I share several ideas today that will help make your everyday a Thanksgiving Day?
Here are eight lessons that I’ve learned that have made me thankful in my life. Let’s see if these ideas can help you make every day Thanksgiving Day. I believe that the people I know who are blessed go into their days being thankful. Let’s see if these simple ideas can help you find more of the joy of Thanksgiving in your life.
I’m thankful for the people who keep us safe. In today’s uncertain world, I’m thankful for the people who keep my home, community, and world safe. These men and women are our true serving leaders. Their lives are a constant reminder of the high ideals of serving leadership. This group not only includes the military, but also the men and women who run toward trouble, whatever it may be, rather than running away. I’m thankful for their courage and bravery which permits much of our world to do the things that we love. They invest their lives so we can enjoy Thanksgiving day with family and friends.
I’m thankful for the people who help us grow. These people are committed to making the world a better place through education. They do it because they understand that a better educated person is going to make better life choices. They do it because teaching is their passion and, many times, their greater purpose.
I’m thankful for all the people who have mentored and shared ideas that helped shape my destiny. If you’re successful and serving others, you probably know several people who helped you grow.
Now for the other half of growth. I’m thankful for the people who challenge my thinking. I enjoy the interaction with others who have different ways of seeing the world. My enemy is a much more powerful ally in my growth many times than success. Without people challenging us, we would become only average leaders. As the world becomes more and more connected, it’s critical that you surround yourself with people who challenge you to grow.
I’m thankful for the people I spend my time with. I’ve learned that even in the most challenging times, as long as we have friends and family, we never feel broke. If you want to enjoy your family and friends more, learn to be thankful for who they are, not who you want them to be. It’s very hard for people to judge you when you don’t judge them.
I’ve been in many challenging situations from hospice, to dealing with another’s mental illness, to unexpected deaths of children, to friends who have lost family members in war. The quality of the people around me have helped me deal with many life changing situations. Spend time around people who put their lives on the line every day and you begin to see the power of belonging to an organization that is larger than the individual’s wants and needs. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of their teams and their communities. They helped make many of my work days seem like Thanksgiving!
I’m thankful for the people I’m with today. Life today is always changing and evolving. Want to find more joy in your life? Be present with the people you’re spending time with. As my grandfather used to say when working, work, when having fun, forget about work. If you want to be more thankful, find ways to use your unique gifts, strengths, and life experiences to serve others. The more you do what you love, the happier and more joyful your life will be.
I’m thankful for my health. If you have your health, almost anything is possible. Invest part of your life in taking care of your health. You don’t have to be a world class athlete, but you may be surprised how much joy you can find when you’re taking care of yourself. There are so many ways to keep in shape today. From walking to yoga to other great exercise routines. If you’re not sure where to start go to your local fitness center and see what might be available.
Finally, I’m thankful for my connection to the Divine. There is seldom a day when someone special doesn’t come into my life. I try to look on them as messengers from God. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy my time with them. I believe that every person brings a unique message from God that only they can deliver.
Happy Thanksgiving. I believe if you incorporate several of these practices into your life, every day can be Thanksgiving Day.
See you here next week when I share several leadership trends that will help make 2016 your best year ever.