Trust me, I do not intend to put a negative spin on the day, however if we are only expressing thanks on Thanksgiving, are we really getting the meaning of it? To me it is a day to reflect, to be with family regardless of what you do. We do not have many days to be together when other outside lures are a bit slower. And yes, when we are together we often make the obligatory declaration of the things we are thankful for.

So here is the rub, do you take your declaration with you…. or leave it at the table? Are you equally thankful for these things on a random day? Are you thankful for the good things you have in life on say March 11th? Do you share that gratitude with others?

Try this – get out your calendar and randomly pick 5 dates in 2020 that are NOT in November. Write on those dates “BE THANKFUL TODAY AND SHOW GRATITUDE”. Step 2 in this on those days DO IT!

The real goal is how do we move from acknowledging the good things we have from 1 day a year to 5 days to 365 days? Wouldn’t it be nice?

(As a side note, there is an overwhelming show of volunteerism at shelters and the local food pantry on Thanksgiving and Christmas, however needy communities need your help in August too!)

To Hope needs Work too

How often have you said “I HOPE THIS WORKS” or “I HOPE I GET THAT ORDER (or) JOB (or) POSITION (or) GRADE”etc …..

How often have you HOPED for it but not fully participated in the outcome?

Probably often and maybe too often. Although it is true that we are not in control of many things including our destiny, we need to make sure we participate in the process. We need to work towards the things we hope to achieve, we need to plant seeds – we need to be farmers and hunters.

Too often we HOPE without working towards that goal. Put in the effort you will be surprised with the results. Actually you should not be surprised with the results if you put in the work. You will get back what you put in.

If you work to build relationships you will get that ORDER (or) JOB (or) POSITION (or) GRADE” etc…. maybe not at that moment but they will come.

To steal from a spiritual saying , ” Hope without works is dead “

What is the backstory? There is always a backstory!

Everything has a backstory, our actions and reactions are molded by them. I have written about you get what you give on my blog. Sometimes you give what you got, and it is not always good…

Backstories.  Some are deeply rooted into our personalities and others are as simple as what our experience was getting our morning coffee.  The experience, good or bad, shapes us sometimes for the long haul and often just for the day.

“Wow – someone randomly bought me my morning coffee – it looks like it will be a good day!  Ughhh some one just cut me off in traffic and I spilled my FREE morning coffee….” 

Who knows if this will be a good start to the day or a bad one. If a bad one, unfortunately it is often taken out on a very unsuspecting third party.
So what’s the backstory?  How do we prepare for it not to rule us?  That is for you to figure out, (but here is how I minimize it). If you are willing to be vulnerable and honestly share that you are human and have a backstory molding you today, you may just get by without it ruling you.

“Sorry I am late and cranky I spilled my coffee all over myself in traffic”. See now you can start the day without a bad backstory – here is the fun part. “Bummer I spilled my coffee, some random stranger bought it for me, for no reason at all!!” Now you have a good story to start your day. Undo the bad!

We also need to recognize that the people we interact with have a backstory too.  I find that I need to always be ready to investigate it best I can, understand it and relate to it.  

I recently saw the play ADMISSIONS granted the topic was timely as I have one in college and the other preparing her search.  It was about the admissions at a small prestigious boarding school and the college search for some of their students. Plenty of room for conflict! The interaction behind all of the characters would never have worked if you did not learn through the play their backstories.

If we all take a few steps to learn each other’s stories I do believe relationships will be smoother and stronger.  

A better you (me)

So I read this last week…. “Today, I will let the rest of life intrude upon my mind. I will let myself be nourished by what comes along.— “

How do I interpret this – Keep your eyes and ears wide open – use what you see and hear to be a better you. It is your job to know what makes you a better person in all areas of your life (work included!)

So – how do I bring this into my professional life? The same way I bring it in to my personal life – watch, listen, learn and grow.

People work with people – be human!

Be ready for the worst case scenario – because it is not happening

I want to start by saying this is not a pessimistic cup half empty post. It is a topic that has helped to keep me positive and grounded through many stressful situations

People say – “If it can go wrong it will” I am not so sure that is true. It might go wrong, it also might not. More likely it might not. The IT can be and is almost anything.

Let’s pretend it does, will you panic? Likely not if you take a few simple steps:

If it goes wrong what will I do? What are the steps and actions to get it back on track?

How will I communicate this to the people affected?

What is the worst case scenario if it does?

Once you have a plan you are ready to handle what most likely will not happen anyway.

With no plan there is panic, there is relationship breakdown (sometimes ones that can not be fixed). Who wants that?

So what initially sounds cup half empty is really a process to prepare your self to keep your cup more than half full.

Say “you are sorry” and mean it

Do we say it often enough and when we do is it said with intention? Or is it said with other motives in mind?

I am someone who wants to learn from my mistakes and wants to allow others too as well. The power of saying you are sorry with intention and no motive other than to be sorry is well, POWERFUL. Too often we say “I’m Sorry” with hollow intentions because we think it is the right thing to say. Are we sorry? Do we mean it? Did we make a mistake? Are we saying we are sorry but our ego is telling us that we said it because we are supposed to say it?

I hope it is not ego driven and I hope it is with intention. In fact it does not matter the relationships of the people or groups we say it to. Regardless of a personal relationship, a work relationship or a stranger, we are all allowed to make mistakes and we are all allowed to be sorry.

I have found that being sorry, with intention and growing from it has allowed me to create better relationships in all my groups. My motive is to recognize what I did and hopefully not repeat it.

#saysorry #groweachday


It is that simple –

respect people and you will get respect

be charitable and you will get charity

love and you will be loved

be willing to forgive, and you will get forgiveness

The mistake we make is that too often the motive is How do I get respect? How can I be loved? How will others be kind? We then campaign for that emotion from others – some even go as far a to buy respect and kindness.

Make it natural, not forced – Make it a part of your life. Practice kindness. Practice it so often that it is just natural.

We are not perfect and we live in an imperfect world – but it is simple – we learned it before kindergarten – treat people the way you want to be treated.

You Get What You Give

So, This Happened

So humbled and not something I “campaigned” for. Bottom line is I am lucky to be surrounded by great people –


Create it, Own It, Change it – and be open to growth

When you create or develop is it for you and you alone? Is it for others? Is it collaborative?

I follow Seth’s Blog #sethgodin #sethsblog on a regular basis and I particularly liked his post today about Artists and Freedom. It ends with the statement – The responsibility to own what we make. “

I agree with the blog whole hardheartedly, however I also recognize that in a world where we are creating and sharing you also need to be open for growth and criticism (good and bad). This does not mean you have to change your creation, idea, direction or plan.

It does mean you should evaluate the creation, did you make it solely for yourself? Or to share? If you did it for you and you alone and you are happy with it, that should be enough. However if your creation is to be shared and has a direction or a plan, be open to others thoughts on it – listen and be willing to change and pivoting – work together and be ready for growth. Collaborate and create together

The biggest challenge is to know the difference and when to pivot and when to be happy with your work.

Teach a person to fish……

Regardless of your position in life, one thing for certain is you do not know everything and you are not in charge. The mistake we make is when we think we do and are.

I just read the article “To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well” in the HBR #HBR. My take away:

Delegate – and empower… show others you do not know it all and can not do it all. Surround yourself with many people who can enlighten you. Don’t just delegate to them, ask assistance – be willing to learn. Know and learn how to enlighten others. Know that we are all leaders in one relationship or another.

The more you ‘take-on’ the less gets done as a leader. In fact you are less of a leader.

The article sums it up perfectly in the second paragraph “The upper limit of what’s possible will increase only with each collaborator you empower to contribute their best work to your shared priorities.

Think about deploying this in all areas of your life, not just at work. It will change how you do things.

#delegate #Jessesostrin #empower

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