Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Food, family, and football. If your home is anything like mine at Thanksgiving, you won’t want for any of those things!

Yet…which of your holiday traditions reflect your gratitude?

It’s easy for the season’s reason to get lost in the busyness.

Thanksgiving is a special day our forefathers set aside so that we would remember to honor God and express our thankfulness to Him for all of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us throughout the year. I appreciate this holiday. It highlights the opportunity we have to show an attitude of gratitude every day.

Gratitude is the lifeblood of servant leadership! By consistently leading with gratitude, you naturally lift others up. You build up their confidence. Your relationships naturally deepen, as does trust, performance, and your own well-being and happiness.

Gratitude naturally improves every aspect of how you interact with other people. Yet, leading with gratitude may not come naturally for you. You can deepen the gratitude you feel and express if you get intentional about it. Your intentionality, in fact, is the only thing standing between you and more vibrant, meaningful relationships at work, at home, and out in your community.

Here are seven ways you can deepen your gratitude this Thanksgiving and beyond:

  1. Look for opportunities to be grateful. Make it a goal each day to go out and catch people doing the “right thing.” Let people know how much you appreciate them and the positive impact they are making on your organization, customers, family, church, or community.
  2. Be specific and authentic. Don’t just tell someone, “Great job”. Instead let them know how their specific performance or behavior has made a true difference. Demonstrate that you care about them enough to pay close attention to their efforts!
  3. Use gratitude to esteem values-aligned behaviors, recognize effort, and affirm strengths. Don’t focus only on results; focus just as heavily on all the foundational work that leads to results.
  4. When appropriate, make “It” a “Big Deal”. Recognize times when gratitude should be publicly celebrated. Invest your time, energy, and creativity in lifting others up in front of their peers.
  5. Hand-write notes of appreciation. Hand-written notes take more effort and mean more to the recipient. I received two hand-written notes in the last couple of weeks, and they meant so much to me! Carve out a bit of time each week to write one note. You’ll be amazed at the return on your investment.
  6. Welcome and appreciate gratitude. Graciously accept gratitude coming your way. Don’t deflect it. Don’t humbly brush it off. Just as the people in your life need your gratitude, they need you to accept their gratitude in return. Grateful feelings can be generative, reciprocal, and self-reinforcing – if you allow them to be!
  7. Be consistent. Each day, challenge yourself to keep deepening your capacity to feel and express gratitude. Identify the one person who needs to hear you say, “Thank you, I’m grateful for you.”

A core tenant of servant leadership is modeling the actions you wish for others to adopt. In that spirit, as I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this year, here are a few specific things I will share that I am thankful for:

  • God’s love and mercy that enables me to passionately fulfill my calling to spread a movement of servant leadership.
  • My wife Kim and our family for their love and never-ending support.
  • My amazing team at Triune Leadership Services. I could not do what I do without them. Thank you Allyson, Jane, Tyler, and Matthew.
  • My Advisory Board, friends, and clients who challenge me to get better every day to be that much more effective in leading a movement of servant leadership.
  • Readers and subscribers of my blog who encourage me with their comments and their commitment to servant leadership.
  • My clients, who I am honored to serve and who inspire me everyday with their passion for making a positive impact on this world.
  • People who pray faithfully over me.
  • Our Couples Bible Study Group. Thank you for helping me continue to develop in my faith life and stay accountable to what is most important.
  • My health and caretakers. I have had four surgeries in the past year, so I am very thankful for the professionals that truly care about the well being of others.

I wish you all a Blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends! Let’s make 2018 and beyond a year of gratitude for God’s blessings.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.   1 Thessalonians 5:18