Timely reminder that it's always a good time to be thankful

An article by Elizabeth Jenkins in the November 2016 issue of Real Simple magazine quotes Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California–Davis, as saying, “Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are called to gratitude. If we choose to ignore this truth, we steer ourselves off course. Just knowing this is usually enough to inspire a more grateful outlook on life.”

Gratitude can light up the darkest of days, and November reminds us to create an “attitude of gratitude,” as we focus on the people and the things we are grateful for in our lives, both personally and professionally. The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to reflect on and honor those who’ve had a positive impact on our work and personal lives, and inspires us to show our appreciation. We really don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to show how thankful we are, but it’s a good time to start.

An unknown someone once said, “Gratitude consists of being more aware of what you have, than what you don’t.” This time of year it’s good to think about all the things we have and are grateful for. While a gratitude list can change every year there are usually a few points that remain at the top of the list. This year, I’m thankful for:

  • Family. They are always tops on my list.
  • Close friends. Friends who step up without asking, when needed, and who always seem to know when that is. Friends who show horses, ride motorcycles, love to shop, will go eat at Cheesecake Factory so I can enjoy my favorite desert, share their knowledge, mentor each other, and know how to laugh together.
  • A brand new roof over our home (thanks to a wicked hail storm) and the fact that it was covered by insurance.
  • A great spring and summer that led into a beautiful, long fall, with colors that we haven’t had for years. And crisp autumn weather that will lead into blankets of white.
  • A night at the theater. I love Broadway musicals and we have great theater venues in our community and close by. Give me tickets to a musical performance and I’m a happy camper.
  • A business that we enjoy, and that is an authentic expression of who we are and what we believe in — helping others to show their recognition and appreciation.
  • Working with a great team. I’m so fortunate to be able to work with folks who “get it” — who know that what we do is meaningful and that we help others everyday to say “Thank you!”
  • Wise mentors who remind me that there are no limitations on how to live life and that everything and anything is possible.
  • The opportunity to keep learning. Even though I gripe when we get a new program and I have to adapt, I’m always thankful and proud when I master it.
  • Access to quick answers from the internet.
  • The smell of books at the public library or at Barnes & Noble. I could wander through the stacks for a whole day and not be bored, and I always seem to go home with more books that I can carry. My mother taught me early on about the value of reading and it’s still one of my favorite pastimes.
  • Resilience. Some years ago, one of my dear brothers told me that I was the most resilient person he ever knew. I’m grateful for this compliment that came from someone I looked up to all my life. It has helped me to deal with both personal and business changes in a positive way.

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Every one of us has had days where we can’t get motivated, when the best laid plans go awry (Murphy’s Law). Experts suggest that this is the time to make a list of all the things you’re thankful for and that have been great, both personally and professionally. Turning your focus to gratitude is the simplest and one of the most effective ways to turn a bad day into a good day.

A life and business coach friend says don’t wait for Thanksgiving to figure it out. She suggests making it a habit each day, all year ’round, to write down at least three things you’re thankful for.

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

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