How is it that Thanksgiving hits at just the right time every year? It’s the perfect time to step back and take stock of all the things you have to be grateful for… Maybe this year has offered more challenges than some in more recent memory. Still, I’ve found myself contemplating how much I have to be thankful for even now. Sometimes, these thoughts come easily. Sometimes, it takes more work to call those things to mind.
I’ll share a bit about what I’ve been thinking about this year as well as a few ideas to get you started on your own mental journey to thankfulness. One of the first ideas that comes to mind for me is my work. This year we decided to record short clips of each member of the company sharing what they appreciate about each other person here. The results have been cut into short videos featuring one person per day this week. The whole process has created a cyclical thanks-giving effect both in and through the videos as well as in the experience of watching them. My video premiered on Sunday and it was an awesome experience. I’m even more thankful for the team that I work with and can’t wait for them each to enjoy their own videos honoring their attributes this week.
But we don’t all have video production companies creating honoring videos about us, so here are 3 tips to help you get in the “thankful mood” this week:
Work on something with another person.
This year could make this advice a bit more of a challenge but there are probably still ways you can make this happen. This could be a bigger project or just a small task. Thanksgiving presents all kinds of opportunities to work together. If your family cooks a big meal, each person can contribute with their own role: whether that’s making a dish or helping tidy up. If you’re unable to get together this year and are opting for a virtual Thanksgiving, you can work with your technologically challenged older relatives on getting their videos/internet/devices to work. It will be loads of fun! Joking aside, the act of working together creates a satisfying feeling and makes you feel connected. I’ve had the opportunity to continue working with my team at Backflip while following Covid measures. In addition to work, I got the chance to deer hunt with Ryan and with my father-in-law. The hunt was a success, but just the simple act of going and doing the work together inspires gratitude for these guys. If you’ve been isolated, try to connect virtually and get something done. You might even thank me.
Do something challenging by yourself.
Let’s continue that hunting story. Last night I processed my own deer meat for the first time. (Ok, I actually had help from my wife and kids, too.) Gaining a new skill like that or accomplishing some large task inspires thankfulness in several ways. I am grateful for butchers and meat processors that usually do this work for me - thankful for the fact that I can usually just go to a store and buy meat, or any food for that matter. I’m even thankful for the deer, the land, and the agencies that managed them and put on the hunt. There are many years that I’ve been able to look back with pride at some challenge I took on and completed. However big or small, the satisfaction you get from completing something is a great way to lead your mind to gratitude.
Well, I guess it's not actually "doing nothing". You do have to step back mentally and take in your situation. Sometimes the act of “doing nothing” actually takes a fair amount of effort. Stop reading the news, watching tv, or listening to podcasts. Get out a journal or just create a quiet mental space to take stock of your life. Do you still have your life? Do you have your health? Do you have a job or a hobby? Think about your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances… Being thankful is a mindset. In any life situation, the optimistic person finds even the smallest sliver of positivity and focuses on that instead of the inconveniences we all run into.
Negative voices tend to dominate the conversation, especially online and on the news. It takes an act of the will to find the positives and to give them the acknowledgment they deserve. Thanksgiving is a great time to let some “Thankful phrases” rise through the noise and dominate the conversation.
This year, I’m thankful to my team at Backflip, to our clients, and to our business partners. I’m thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and food on my table. I am thankful to God for the great blessings He has given us and I’m thankful to you for reading this blog!