Thanksgiving - time to spend with family, eat, watch and play football, the Macy's Day Parade, traditions - old and new. New studies scientifically show how an 'attitude of gratitude' actually makes us healthier and happier ~ focusing on how being grateful is better for 'me' instead of for 'you'. This season, forget that stuff. Start being grateful because it's the right thing to do - for others, not for ourselves. So what are you grateful for this year? how long can you make that list? Give it a try - from little things like always knowing when you flip the switch the light goes on to the unconditional love of a parent, spouse or child. Perhaps just try for a list of things you're grateful for this month! Here's my abbreviated list!
Have a very blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving... as you are a blessing to others.
Mark Twain said, "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." Fiction pales in light of the Patreaus fiasco. I am simply astounded at Patraeus' grievously poor judgment and lack of virtue. The relationships and timing of all these events vis-a-vis the yet-to-be-revealed real truth about the Benghazi tragedy call so much into question - about our national security, decisions made about/in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. If you ever doubted how fast trust can be lost, doubt no more. We have a legacy of distrust.
It seems like our government is out of control, out of touch...living on a different planet with a different set of mores and morals. Are these the groaning sounds of a system at the precipice? I keep hearing the creaking of metal in the process of failure before it crashes...failure and fatigue. Can you name a significant government agency or department that has not been embroiled in a scandal in the past few years? And many of theses are ones entrusted with the safeguarding of our country.
Two of my sages, John Hagel and Steve Denning, have been warning us for years about the frailty and impending implosion of our institutions and institutional practices. We have not heeded their warnings and on November 6th, we yet again preserved the status quo. Why? Because...
- Those are the types that run for nomination of their parties? Why?
- Those that are willing to tell the truth and call it like it is don't make it far enough to get nominated? Why?
- We citizens really don't want to hear bad news and see reality? We want our officials to make "it all better"? Why?
- We don't really want to sacrifice what's needed to buttress up the foundations of this country? Why?
- The rewards of doing so are too far in the future? We no longer have a common vision of what America stands for to instill common sacrifice? Why?
I don't know the answer, only some of the questions to ask. But I do know this, Churchill was right when he said, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” America highlights the paradox of democracy and freedom. And yet, despite all of America's issues, people still flock to our shores for survival, people still want to start their businesses here and we are still the beacon for freedom. Yes, I can handle the paradox of being both horrified at the betrayal of trust and corruption of our government and proud to be an American and be free.
So, this Thanksgiving, while some of us sit at tables bursting with abundance, some in dark homes filled with sand, water and ruin, some in shelters, some by hospital beds, some in barracks in Afghanistan, give thanks for the gifts of trusting relationships and freedom. Give thanks....and give those whose lives, well being, livelihoods are entrusted to you the same gifts...of trust, integrity, and freedom...from your spouse to the janitor in the plant. Give thanks.
Tomorrow is a day of thanksgiving and blessing for me. It is the 4th Open Innovation Summit at BW’s Center for Innovation & Growth (CIG). My friend, Saul Kaplan from the Business Innovation Factory, is the keynote speaker and two other friends are on the panel. For the past 3 Summits, friends-clients-colleagues have taken a flyer (literally), trusting me, to come share stories, sacrificing a few days at the office.
I am honored and very humbled that these people would give up their time, other opportunities and fly or drive hours to share their stories with people they don’t know in a part of the country they have no ties to because I asked.
Why did they do this? Trust. Trust is a very precious gift –to give and to receive. It must be treated with tremendous stewardship and care. I have amazing friends and colleagues. Some of these relationships started in real life and some started via Twitter or “cold calls”. How these relationships started has no bearing on their depth and meaning. What has bearing is their nurturing, transparency, vulnerability and sharing. Yes, sharing. Trusting relationships are gifts to share.
So, as you approach thanksgiving, take a few minutes to reflect on the people who trust you, who’ll take a flyer on you, who’ll support you. Do you do the same for them? How have you positively impacted their lives at any level? Brought them wisdom? Brought them joy? Each and every one of them is a gift that’s been entrusted to you – treat those gifts accordingly…let them know.