Now that we have successfully defended your home from the hoards of goblins, ghouls and ghosts our thoughts naturally turn to Thanksgiving.  The end of the year is a traditional time for reflection and planning, both personally and in business. However, it is no accident that we begin this process with gratitude.

Our country was literally founded on the concept of gratitude. One of our oldest holidays is Thanksgiving, dating back to 1621.  This is only 14-years after the first European settlement was founded on this continent. The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was in 1789.   It became a national holiday in 1864. Thanksgiving opens a season of reflection. In many traditions, the long winter nights are a time of rumination followed by planning for the new year.  For us in the west, this means New Year resolutions. For most businesses, the process is the same.

Recent studies have shown that gratitude is a key to becoming successful. According to research by Prof Robert Emmons at UC Davis, gratitude leads to increased happiness, energy and stronger relationships, 3 critical elements to achieving your goals. In addition, being grateful requires us to focus on our past successes since we are never grateful for failure. As I pointed out in my blog, “Are You Focusing on the Right Things” focusing on past successes leads to future successes.

Gratitude, the Secret to Success

Gratitude Cafe

Start your 2018 planning with acts of gratitude by writing down the answers to these 3 questions. If the answer to these questions trigger thoughts of other things to be grateful for, write them down as well:

• What new business do you have this year?
• What new or more efficient processes have you put in place?
• Who on your team has contributed above and beyond?

Now that you have identified what you have to be thankful for, ask yourself

• Who is responsible for each achievement?


• Who helped me achieve these successes?

Next, say thank you to the individuals in a meaningful way. Take them to lunch, give them a bonus, provide them with a gift card or certificate, get them a thoughtful and personal gift. In other words, show them you appreciate their contribution in such a way that they know to the core of their being that your gratitude is genuine. If you have the opportunity, make your praise public to the rest of the team and tie the accomplishments to your company’s core values, In my June blog I talked about bonusing based on values, this is another way to do that. By publicly showing gratitude to the people who helped you improve your business and tying them to your values you demonstrate how the company’s values lead to success.

Finally, sit back and bask in your success. Take the time to celebrate and enjoy the rewards of this year’s hard work. When you start your planning for next year, not only will the team members you just recognized step up but some of your other team members will as well. We’ll talk more about planning in a subsequent blog.

Let me wrap up by saying to you, Thank You! It is your loyalty to this blog that keeps me writing. I appreciate your confidence in me and your success as a leader, business person and human being are what keeps me motivated.