This week those of us that reside in the United States will gather with family, friends, and in some cases strangers to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. I know there will be lots of well wishes for this day, but this caused me to move pass the traditional way we think of this day and reflect on “what does being “thankful” look like in the eyes of others?” Join me as I share the ways “being thankful” has and is showing up in the lives of my clients and others I encounter.

We all know that the Pandemic impacted everyone differently. I’ve found that for some clients, they experienced record sales years while others were holding on for survival and a few even folded. Like any challenge, at some point the band-aid is ripped off and the wound is revealed. This is where things can get really hairy and hard decisions, that clients may have been avoiding dealing with the underline issues they knew existed, but simply didn’t deal with, must be addressed.

Despite where clients may have fallen on the pandemic spectrum, the act of being thankful has been realized by all. Here are a few stories.

I remember as if it was just yesterday when I met this client. She was full of excitement and passion for her business. Experienced in the industry, she was ready to create a new vision for her new endeavor. People like her are contagious as you can’t help but grab ahold to their excitement and join in on this amazing feeling. Fast forward, her company was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Recently, as we reflected on her journey over the past 18 months, it was refreshing to hear, that despite all the challenges she had and continues to face, she was thankful. Thankful for those who rose to the occasion to offer assistance of resources, encouragement, willingness to listen, a shoulder to lean on, a joke to make her laugh, and in some cases, the hard truths that caused her to make change. She found hope as she rekindled her faith and utilized tactical ways to manage her negative emotions through her mental fitness work. Most of all, she found that despite all that was happening, she chose to look beyond the things she couldn’t control and intentionally seek and act on what is good, in herself and others.

Another client, experiencing record sales and a demand that has set his business on a path of exploring acquisitions, purchasing property to meet the growing business needs, hiring additional employees and dispersing record payouts to employees that have compensation tied to sales growth. Yes, there have been some hiccups here and there associated with supply and demand, but business is great! What struck me about this client was despite all the financial success, growth, and opportunity his business is experiencing, he is most thankful for his family, immediate and extended; his health, the opportunities to continue to grow and contribute to those within his companies and beyond. Instead of riding the wave, he balances life the best he can and continually strives to explore how he can show up in the best version of himself.

What both of these clients share as they express “what does being thankful look like in their world,” it starts and ends with an intentional decision to focus on the positive. They aren’t negligent by ignoring the challenges that exist, but they choose to be guided by a positive mindset; focusing on what will best help them propel forward in the most effective way. They realize that being thankful isn’t about them at all, it’s about the impact of having others in your circle, family, friends, colleague’s, trusted advisors, professional accountability resources, emotional and spiritual beliefs, and the willingness to get outside of themselves because this life isn’t meant to be traveled alone. Being thankful requires each of us to reach out and pull up others and allow them to do the same for us. It’s through the exchange that the human element displays, no machine, code, or formula will ever be able to duplicate, the power of people coming together and supporting one another in this journey of life.

I’m sitting here feeling a bit melancholy, because I know there will be people who will read this and feel alone and defeated. They won’t even know where to begin to tap into this shared positivity that my clients have chosen for themselves. Perhaps, they have been let down one too many times from the same people and resources that uplifted my clients. They simply may feel they have little to no control over where they reside at the moment. As this US holiday approaches, they are experiencing anxiety and sadness, whether they have family, friends and colleagues to celebrate with or not. Where does this lead them? How do they identify what being “thankful” looks like in their world? I’m a simple kind of leader, so I have a simple answer, “look for all that is right in your life right now, big and small, and be thankful.”

Being thankful is a choice. It’s a choice to look for the sun behind the clouds; seeing the Fall leaves hit the ground and know that green leaves will follow in the Spring; it’s the sound of “hello” from a stranger who chooses to share their joy with you at that moment and time; it’s the invitation to break bread with others even when you don’t feel like going, but you do it anyway and leave with a pep in your step because you had a wonderful time; most of all, it’s the intentional decision you make to grab the joy that is right in front of you, simply because you can.

This Thanksgiving holiday, my family will be in different places, some with new friends and others with family. As I reflect on what being “thankful” looks like in my world, it’s living an abundant life, guided by my faith in God and choosing to see His hand in all things.

I’m thankful to you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m thankful for the gift of having a platform to share more about the clients I serve and how my purpose is being fulfilled in and through them.

No matter where you will be or who you will be with on this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, take a moment and give thanks for what lies right in front of you! #LeadershipChaser

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!