Today’s post is the featured article from the November 2010 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

john-newHappy Thanksgiving! When Thanksgiving rolls around, there are two comments I typically hear. The first is, “I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already here.” It is never a surprise, but it always seems to sneak-up on us. It must have something to do with the realization that another year is slipping away. It certainly is a reminder that time passes quickly. It is a wake-up call of sorts! The second most typical comment is, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.” It is my favorite too! My unscientific survey indicates Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday … hands-down!

There must be a reason.

Some would say it is their favorite Holiday because minimal expectations come with this celebration. You just get to hang-out and be together. Could that have something to do with how we were designed? It is certainly one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is simple.

On the surface, simplicity is probably what makes it so appealing. But I think it is more than that. I would suggest it has to do with the very intention of why this Holiday was created. Whether it was the first celebration of Thanksgiving in the early 1600’s or Sarah Josepha Hale’s persistence with numerous politicians and five presidents, in the 1800’s, to institute a national holiday of thanksgiving … the intention was simply to stop. Give thanks! How could you argue against such an intention?

Gratitude is a powerful force.

But why would you stop, give thanks and then start again? Doing so undermines the real potential of Thanksgiving. What if Thanksgiving was a national day of practice … not a day of giving thanks, but rather a day of practicing gratitude. Not a day to stop, but rather a day to begin … to get in-shape for developing a richer perspective deeply planted within gratitude.

It seems our tendency is to look at what is wrong … and it is often done with the good intentions of fixing a problem. Instead of seeing what is wrong, Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup Organization have done extensive research in seeing what is right. They found, in looking through the lens of what is right, we gain refreshed perspective and are energized to tackle the challenges we face.

Likewise, gratitude changes our perspective and in-turn refreshes our attitude.

Imagine an organization naming “gratitude” as an official corporate value. Grateful for our employees. Grateful for our customers. Grateful for our leaders. Grateful for our resources. Grateful for opportunities to learn, grow and develop.

I am not talking about a “feel good” exercise, but rather a defined expectation. It could change everything! It is easier to respect that for which you are genuinely grateful. But it doesn’t happen organizationally. It happens individually. The seeds of gratitude can only be planted within each one of us. Then from us, gratitude has the potential to spread like wildflowers, yet have the strength of sod with its tightly woven root system.

I am thankful for Thanksgiving!

In the end, Thanksgiving may be the one holiday that actually comes filled with expectations … not to stop, but rather to begin.

It is time for us to eat, drink and be merry … and to get our gratitude in-shape. I hope in pointing this out, I haven’t ruined your favorite holiday. May your Thanksgiving be happy … but most important, may it deepen your ongoing sense of gratitude.