Last Thanksgiving we were all piled into my brother-in-law’s house. Near the end of the night my then five year old, unprompted, jumped up on a chair and made everyone cry with a speech about how thankful she was for our family. This year is going to look a little different but, more than ever, it’s important to appreciate the good in our lives. So I came up with the idea of slightly amending the holiday this year to Thankyousgiving.
If we can’t be with the people we love this year, we can take the time to make sure they know we’re grateful to have them in our lives. Most of us have some version of going around the table to say what we’re thankful for. This year you can skip the anxiety of coming up with the right thing to say (what, just me?) before it’s your turn, but still enjoy that moment of reflection. And you can have the added bonus of making it a point to let those people and places know your gratitude.
Writing a thank you card to someone just for being in your life can be a great way to show them your appreciation and create a sense of connection that might not be able to happen in person this year.
If you want extra credit you can turn it into a personal development exercise. You’ll be thanking yourself for it, so go ahead and set an extra card aside for you.
As a business we’ve been taking this “unexpected downtime” to work on the future. If our revenue this year has to be down, what sorts of strategic things can we be doing now to ensure we make up for that? As individuals we should be doing this as well. It is true that time cannot be replaced. I can only speak for myself but I would guess that many of you can relate that the way we spend our time could be improved.
This is actually an excellent time to really zero in on what’s important to you. Do you really love that bar you go to three nights a week or has it just become your routine? Do you really want to invest your time and energy in the people you were investing it in before or was it a habit?
Taking time to think about who and what you are grateful for is a great way to help you identify who and what you should be focusing on as we reacclimate to normalcy next spring or summer.
This Thanksgiving day, set some time aside to write thank you cards or letters to the people you wish you could be with. Write some to the places you care about too. If that feels a little too weird maybe consider writing the places an online review instead, but I can tell you that all of the times we’ve gotten hand written cards or letters at our businesses over the years really lifted the spirits of the whole team.
Now think about where these cards are going. If you compared them with your calendar from the past couple of years, how aligned are you? Is there someone or something you’re spending an inordinate amount of time on that didn’t get a card? Could you not fit the entire message on the card for someone you barely saw at all?
When it comes to both personal and business relationships it can be hard to make changes because, well most of us are nice. If you’ve been going to the same yoga class, with the same people, and then going to the same coffee shop after two years, you don’t want to be the jerk that says “hey, I’m just not feeling this anymore.” All of that sense of obligation and guilt is gone now. It’s a great time to take stock of the things you wanted to change and change them.
So this Thanksgiving (or random day after) set aside an hour or so and write some thank you cards. I promise you’ll feel great, the recipients will feel great, and you’ll gain meaningful perspective at the same time.