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Transforming Your Business Through Living Thanksgiving

For those of us who live in the U.S., this Thursday is the celebration of Thanksgiving: a day of gratitude for all that we have, and all that got us to where we are. Most of us, certainly anyone reading this post, have a whole lot to be thankful for, regardless of the recent state of the economy. Given the constant pull to give our attention to what’s wrong and what we don’t have, I personally am looking forward to this occasion to focus on and appreciate what I do have.

So that’s one step; redirect what you’re focusing on from what’s not there to what actually is there. This is certainly relevant in business. One could say that leadership and management of an organization is largely a function of what isn’t. In leading a team, our intention is to produce some result or outcome that isn’t currently present. In managing a team, we measure “where we are” in a project against where we aren’t (projections, promises, etc.). Business is all about what isn’t. So now is the opportunity to really focus on what is; acknowledging fully the results, opportunities and quality of life we do have. This in its own right can be quite a transformative experience.

In acknowledging what we have, the second level of acknowledgment starts to arise: acknowledging where “what we have” comes from (the “source”). This is the fun (and miraculous) part. See, usually it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we did not build our business in a vacuum. We had help. I know that, especially in our culture, we really love the idea of being independent, and I also am clear that this drive to be independent has produced a lot of great results at many levels. AND we must acknowledge that the idea of independence is truly a fiction of the mind. In reality, there are no “self-made” millionaires (or billionaires). How could there be? Business, by its very nature, requires customers, right? Good luck succeeding in business without other people buying (and using) what you’re selling. And what about employees? Vendors? Investors? Bookkeepers? Mentors? Teachers? The authors of those books you read to “teach yourself”? Could you be in business if you had never been born? That makes your parents pretty crucial as well then, doesn’t it?

Are you starting to get this? Can you see that, from one view, absolutely everything you have is a result of the contribution of the people around you? Can you see that, without relationship, you’d have nothing?

If you’re getting this, great. If not, at least try on the view that you’d have much less (or something much different) without those contributions. So now what?

Let ’em know, that’s what!

I invite you to do the following exercise this week:

  1. Make a List. List out the ten people you consider to be indispensible (or at least really important) to your business. If you’ve been blind to the fact that it’s not really your business, this in itself may take some real thinking and produce some extraordinary insights. These people can include (but are in no way limited to) customers, customer/advocates, employees, coaches, spouses, bosses, etc.
  2. Set Up an Occasion. Schedule an occasion to be in communication with each of those people. While a phone-call can be sufficient to deliver on the intent, something face-to-face is recommended, be it over coffee, dinner or whatever. No texting or e-mail for this!
  3. Give Thanks! The intention here is to leave each person with an experience of being appreciated for the unique contribution they have made to you and your enterprise. The short version? “I wouldn’t be where/who I am if it wasn’t for you. Thank you.” Period. There will then be room to share what you’re now up to, and maybe even create something new for the future.

I’ve been assigning versions of this exercise to clients for over five years, first as part of a Business BootCamp for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs and recently as part of my Power & Performance Program. In fact, early on there was no limit to the people on the list, and I certainly recommend you build this in as an ongoing practice. As far as results, I’ve seen people double their revenue in a month, find their “dream-job”, expand their core team (and therefore, results) and so much more.

These results cannot, however, be the reason behind doing the exercise. It’s only when your acknowledgment is authentic that this really works. This is not about sly marketing, or about appearing to care and be grateful- this is about actually caring and being grateful!!

This is not business as usual. This is about transforming your business results and quality of life through honoring ourselves and our partners for the difference that we make.

Please let us know if you’re taking this on, how it goes and what comes out of it. If you’d like to have a further convo about it, contact me at or here.

Lastly, thank you for who YOU are and what you’ve contributed to me and us at ALS. It is through your commitment that we get to be who we are, and for that we love and appreciate you. Happy Thanksgiviing!

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