Thanksgiving may only come one day a year, but we have the opportunity to experience gratitude – to give thanks for all we are, all we have, and all that we can be – every day.
Long after the food is gone, football is over, and family and friends have departed, the spirit of Thanksgiving can linger. If we let it.
I commit to being more grateful for what I have, and to worry less about what isn’t quite to my liking. My resolution is coming early this year.
In the spirit of gratitude, I’d like to thank all of you for visiting. For reading and sharing my work. You’re the reason I’m still here.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What I did on my summer vacation
When our family goes on vacation, invariably I bring a few books to read. At first, there will be mindless fiction, allowing me to decompress and put work aside. Eventually, I find my way to a new non-fiction read, designed to create new connections and insights I can bring back to my day job.
Seth Godin’s Linchpin was my 4th of July reading this summer. I had asked a colleague what book he would recommend and he didn’t hesitate. “Given what I know about you, and how you think about your work, you need to read this book.”
I was intrigued, and added it to my Kindle for a leisurely read. What I did not expect was for it to light a fire that would last for months. A fire that bed rest and surgery could not put out.
We all need quiet time. To have ideas. To create great things.
Noise and distraction dull our muse. Our ability to innovate and be creative.
Quiet time does not require meditation or yoga. We might have our best ideas in the shower or on a walk. We’ll never have them while we’re going Mach 80, racing from one meeting to another.
As leaders, not only do we need to make time for us to create, but for our teams as well.
If our people can follow standard operating procedures, but don’t do the extra, the creative or the new, it’s time to look at the environment. Often, our offices are filled with noise and visual distraction. They are designed to be able to follow instructions, but not much else.
Blocking calendars, putting phones on mute, working remotely, or going into an office and closing the door, can all help create the space and time for quiet. For putting in the effort and mental focus necessary for effective communications, thorough performance reviews, or that creative new idea.
If we are surrounded by noise and distraction, our work can become a check in the box. Our people and our customers deserve better than that. We all do.
Find ways to give yourself and your team the space and quiet to create and focus. To create the meaningful instead of the ordinary.
As a young girl, I grew up watching Roger Moore as James Bond. My parents had been Connery fans before him and continued watching 007 suave his way through trouble during the course of my upbringing.
For almost half a decade, that was the way of James Bond. Beautiful women with catchy names, campy innuendos, and action sequences that suspended belief. What more could you ask for?
When it was time to replace Pierce Brosnan in 2005, the expectation was that the next Bond would be an attractive brunette with the ability to deliver bad pickup lines with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
Instead, we got Daniel Craig and the world as we know it imploded. A blonde? Never, in all the imaginings of Ian Fleming’s writings, was James – martini drinking, gadget-laden car driving, women seducing – Bond ever to be THAT of all things.
A decade later, we all have a different view of Daniel and 007. Following the Spectre release this month, I told my friends “James Bond has my day job and Daniel Craig is my hero.”
Well, I doubt I’ll become a gun-toting spy anytime soon, but as a leader, Daniel has accomplished three feats that I aspire to replicate. Might we all have his abilities.
1. Be the unexpected
The bar was high and expectations low that Daniel could fill the 007 shoes.
And then came Casino Royale. Do you remember the opening scene? The frog-like man flying around town, trying to escape James’ clutches? And James, in Indiana Jones-like fashion, getting battered and bruised along the way, but still going because that’s what a good agent does?
Suddenly, we did not just have a new Bond. We had a NEW BOND.
We all have moments where we struggle. Where times feel dark and we are not sure how everything will turn out.
Our story is unique to us, but our experiences are rarely the first of their kind. There are others around us, willing to lend a hand if we reach out. Those that have gone through something similar and can help us see a way forward.
When you find your way out of that dark place, there is only one way to truly repay the kindness. Be the light for others.
Sharing our experiences costs us nothing but time, and maybe a little humility. What we gain is the knowledge that we have spread the light we’ve found to someone else. Eased back the darkness enough to help them move forward.
Make those challenging experiences count. Be the light.