Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

A Thanksgiving Perspective

Monday, November 19th, 2012

My wife and I just returned from an extended trip to Asia where we celebrated our 50 years of marriage.  Yes, to the same person.   I can almost imagine your initial responses if you are American.  That’s great, immediately followed by “wow, they are old.”    When we think of old people in our culture, we think of social security, medical issues and senior discounts.

When we shared this significant life event with people on our travels in Asia, they were universally happy for us but more importantly, it elevated their esteem and respect for us.  It was as if we were being honored by them.  In their culture, older citizens are people who have had many important life experiences and the wisdom and strength that comes with it.

Same couple….different culture, different perspectives.  Both are valid observations.  The first view tends to distance people.  The latter connects people and adds richness to the experience and to the relationship.

So at this time of Thanksgiving, for younger people in particular, think of those who lived a generation or two longer than you as a source of wisdom and life experience.   Learn from them.  Equally important, if they are your parents or grandparents, or their contemporaries, and have had an important impact on your life in any way, express your gratitude to them.  You will be the better for it and it will enhance your relationship not to mention the joy that the person would feel knowing they have made a difference in your life.  This Is the Moment!

An Exceptional Holiday Gift Everyone Can Afford

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

We have all seen the TV ads for Black Friday and our mailboxes are being filled with retail advertisements for holiday shopping.  For many of us the experience of gift giving is stressful not only because we feel the need to buy the perfect gift, but we also feel pressure to spend money at a time when budgets are tight.

Make the most of this holiday season with a personal, thoughtful and inexpensive gift that will be a perfect “fit.”

There is nothing more personal than a gift of explicit gratitude to someone who has made a real difference in your life. This is a gift only you can give and in doing so, it is likely that you will enrich your life, enhance your relationship and bring joy to the recipient.

I recognize that it’s highly unlikely that anyone will take a journey similar to my yearlong victory lap. I was fortunate to have the time and resources to devote to this significant undertaking, and it was also important for me to do it in this way.

All of our life circumstances are different, however, and our processes and journeys will of course go in various directions. I did things my way, and you should do them your way. For example, you don’t have to travel around the country having face-to-face conversations with people. If you do want to meet in person, you can start with those close to home and schedule others during vacations, holiday visits, business trips, and so forth.

Writing a letter costs the paper it’s written on and a stamp, and e-mails and phone calls are virtually free. In other words, everyone can afford to make these expressions of gratitude. The investment is low and the payoff is high, and there are so few opportunities in life that this can be said for. How you go about conveying your messages is entirely up to you; just design a way that’s meaningful but doable (and affordable) for you.

In my book This Is The Moment! I share a story entitled “44-cent stamp.”  It is the real-life tale of two marines that had a relationship spanning over a half a century.  My friend, one of the marines shared with me that by writing a letter to his dying friend took just 15 minutes required only two pieces of paper, an envelope, and a 44-cent stamp but in doing so gave him amazing peace of mind and closure to this all important relationship.

Take a few moments this holiday season to give the perfect gift.  I’d love to hear how you expressed profound gratitude and the reactions it created.

How to Set the Emotional Table for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Your flights have been paid for and now all that’s left to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday is gearing up to spend time with your relatives.

For many people this is an exciting time, and for many more it is an anxious and stressful one.  With families come emotional buttons that have been embedded for years and are visible only to a select few.  This can affect the depth and tone of how we communicate with those who have impacted our lives the most.  Add to this the expectations of having the perfect family holiday and it is no wonder Thanksgiving is often disappointing.

The essence of Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our many blessings, not the least of which are the important relationships in our lives. So could you proactively set the table for a loving and grateful holiday?  What if this may be the last Thanksgiving some of you spend together?  Regardless of your motivation, you can increase the prospects of having a most enjoyable holiday with your family by doing only one thing in advance.  Express profound gratitude.

Here are the very simple steps that will could an enormous impact on how much more relaxed you feel with loved ones.

  1. Make a list of the people you will be seeing who have made a real difference in your life.
  2. Write down bullet points of the contributions each of them have made and how it has impacted you.
  3. Express these sentiments to them – in a letter, email, call, poem, conversation, etc.

To help you in this 3-step process, download the Free Guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Conversations by signing in at the bottom of the  website.

What better way to set the table for a relaxing and appreciative holiday than telling people how much they mean to you.  There is no need to bring up past grievances, just share what you love about them, to them and for them.  It is not who they are that matters the most, it is how they have impacted you that is the premise of these conversations.  You will be amazed at how great you feel and how easier family gatherings can be when people are in a state of gratitude.

An alternative to communicating in advance would be to plan to a one-on-one conversation with your life influencers.  If you choose this approach, make sure you have this discussion in a quiet place so that you both can get and give your full attention to each other.  You may want to record the conversation so that you can save it and savor it for the future.  Have someone take a picture of the two of you together and capture the memory of this moment.

I would love to hear how your conversations went or how expressing profound gratitude changed the tone of your Thanksgiving holiday.  Please share them either below in the Comments section or  privately by submitting them on the Share Your Story page of this website.

For more information about how to have these powerful gratitude conversations, check out my book, This is the Moment.  Consider writing a personal inscription inside the cover and presenting it as a special gift or hostess gift.