There is no question in my mind … value is inherently exchanged in gratitude. The annual celebration of Thanksgiving brings value within its singular focus. Giving thanks. Being grateful. Coming together with friends and family to pause in our busy world … all in a moment of gratitude. I would go so far as to say I’m even grateful we have this holiday!
It is my favorite holiday of the year … and many have shared this same sentiment with me. Many would say it’s their favorite holiday because it comes with little or no expectations (and lots of food, football and shopping). I think this favoritism is driven by a deeper phenomenon … the valuable experience received in giving thanks!
As we take this momentary pause to give thanks … I hope it gives us pause to know that gratitude brings its greatest value when it is lived moment-to-moment as a way of life. While many might be quick to agree with such a position, it seems we fall short of consistently recognizing or tapping into this valuable resource.
Maybe it’s because we inherently know the value of gratitude, but rarely name it as a core value.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen “gratitude” named on the list of any organization’s stated core values. If you have, I would love to see it! I would also love to see the impact it would make if it was genuinely imbedded into the culture of any organization and the perspective of every individual … simply by naming and embracing “gratitude” as a core value.
I am often asked for examples of core values. And I’m usually hesitant to suggest specific possibilities. I think it is far more effective for both organizations and individuals to start with a blank sheet of paper and begin to dig inside. The process of exploration may prove to be just as valuable as the final list. It is the first step in owning our own list. However, with all that said … on this Thanksgiving morning … I would like to make an exception and name just one.
I am convinced, every organization and individual would be well-served by having an authentic sense of gratitude deep at their core. The longer it sits at our core the more valuable it becomes … for it becomes richer with our experience in learning how to reap the value of this value.
Like anything, gratitude can be misused or misdirected. For instance, it may be used as a projection on others … as in a boss saying, “You should just be grateful to have a job here!” Or an employee thinking, “You should be grateful I even showed-up for work today!” Or we may simply find ourselves grateful for the things we have “wanted” or when “things have gone our way.”
Gratitude only meets its greatest potential when we are grateful in all things. Not because we feel we should be, but simply because we have decided we will be … because we value it at our very core. Gratitude can’t be forced. But it can be learned … and eventually embraced.
In turn, gratitude has a way of embracing you.
May your Thanksgiving be joyful and lead you on a journey to your core. It’s the perfect day to begin the journey!
Today’s post is the featured article from the November 2013 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.