This week it’s Thanksgiving in the US. It’s the time of year when we allow ourselves to get in touch with the things for which we are truly grateful. It offers us a time – away from our usual activity – to pause, to reflect and to feel the joy of appreciation.
At this very special time of the year, let’s all take time to go to our hearts and deeply appreciate the things that make our lives worth living. After the turkey is stuffed and the table is set, set aside time to be alone with your thoughts and make a list of the things you are grateful for.
Better yet, start a gratitude book and vow to write three things in it, everyday. Write about things that have gone well that day. Write at the end of each day, just before going to sleep. Focus on the positive feelings you’ve experienced and hold those things deeply in your heart.
What you focus on expands.
Start the next morning intending to look for and find things to appreciate. All day long your brain will be helping you discover more of the things that make you feel good. At the end of the day, you’ll have lots of things to choose from as you sit down to write in your book. This is how positivity becomes a habit.
Over a decade of empirical research tells us that habits like this actually help rewire our brains for the positive. Spending a few minutes a night writing a gratitude list trains the brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on the good in our lives.
As you look at your list of the things that really matter, you will most likely notice that “relationships” is a pretty big category.
The relationships you have with your family, friends, co-workers, and yes, maybe even some of your customers, matter most in life. So, while we are already in “the mode” of feeling grateful, how about taking a moment to be grateful for the customers, internal or external, that are important in your life. Think about all the people in your work environment who help you, validate you, appreciate you, celebrate you, challenge you to stretch and grow, and yes, even those who “needle” you. Isn’t there something that you can be grateful for in all these relationships?
I think back through the year and realize that I often learned more (about myself) from the challenging customers than I did from the “easy” ones. I learned more about my communication styles, my ego’s need to be right, and how much I’ve grown, from the customers that tried my patience the most. What’s great about that you wonder?
I am grateful for the opportunity to use my communication skills, my growing skills of patience, forgiveness and compassion and my commitment to learn to walk my talk daily. If it weren’t for the relationships that tried my patience the most, how would I know how I’ve improved my “relationship management skills” over the last year? How will any of us know if we have adopted a new way of living, if no one ever challenges us?
So, during this holiday season, I choose to be grateful all the relationships in my life, whether they are going exactly the way I would like them to, or not. I choose to pay attention to how I operate in those relationships and in doing that, choose to grow and change.
The world is changing at a dizzying pace. Those of us who are able to be comfortable with change, and learn new skills to deal with it, will fare far better than those who choose to resist it.
Customers are smarter, faster, and more demanding than they ever were before. They are not happy with the way they are treated by most companies, so they choose NOT to give their loyalty. As money remains tight and the economy continues to sputter along, a loyal relationship with a customer will be worth far more than a single sale from a new customer. What are the good relationship qualities that you practice every day that will make them want to be loyal to you? Write them down and think deeply how to make them a little better every day, and then be grateful for the effort you put in each day to make your world a better place.
Take care and keep caring (and spread the word!)
PS I am grateful for YOU! Without my readers, I’d have nothing to write! You inspire me to keep thinking and keep writing.