Almost since the beginning of time, seasons have regulated our lives. Planting and harvest, heat and cold, flood and drought marked time for millennia. And we humans marked each of those seasons with particular holidays that reflected the rhythm of life. Sadly, in our fast-paced, always-on modern lives, we seem to rush nonstop from season to season, holiday to holiday. We race from Halloween to Christmas with hardly a pause. But I think it’s crucial to resist the rush and take the time to truly enjoy…Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving – for all the “gobble till you wobble” hype – is the holiday built around gratitude, reflection, and appreciation. I know that for a lot of us, 2023 has been a challenge. Inflation is up, budgets are tight, and news from around the world is almost all bad. It can make us want to jump headfirst into the joy, hope, and excitement that Christmas brings.
I want to encourage you to acknowledge that Christmas is on the horizon, but let it come in its own time. Refrain from rushing the season, and let Thanksgiving have its time center stage. Why? Because I’m convinced that taking a deliberate pause to appreciate life’s blessings will change your heart and mind. Find joy in the simplicity of Thanksgiving traditions…pulling out that special turkey platter, making dressing from your grandmother’s recipe, welcoming someone new to the family table. Take time to build some new traditions that foster connection, gratitude, and reflection to create lasting memories. Many people use a gratitude list or cards to spark conversations around the table. Snap fun photos and actually print them out to frame and have as keepsakes. Or haul out an old family photo album and share memories with everyone. Finally, reflect on the past year and your personal and professional growth, acknowledging the fruits of your efforts. You’ve worked hard over the past months, and although I’m sure there have been challenges, you’ll be surprised at the many victories you’ve achieved.
Savor Thanksgiving for its unique qualities of appreciation, gratitude, and reflection. In doing so, you’ll cultivate a deeper sense of fulfillment and prepare yourself to fully embrace the joys of Christmas. You’ll be glad you made the effort to resist the rush.
Holly Hayes, President & Founder
Yep…I said it. Quitting may be the most under-utilized resource in your organization. And I’m telling you to add it back in rotation. Dr. Julia Keller’s book entitled Quitting: A Life Strategy (2023) goes into great detail about how grit and perseverance has been put on a pedestal in our American culture and quitting is deemed as the “forbidden fruit.” Work hard. Don’t give up, no matter what. Quitters never win. Success comes to those who work hard. Think bigger, work harder. Go the extra mile. Do any of these sound all-too familiar? Are they parked on a poster on your wall?
I’m not saying we don’t need to work hard. The real question is…are we working hard at the right thing?
A friend of mine once told me one of the best pieces of advice she ever received was “Learn to say NO to the not-so-good things so you can say YES to the best things. And then don’t back away from your NO.” She said it taught her that her time and talents were valuable and deserved to be devoted to the best options available. Over several decades, it has saved her from lots of mistakes, regrets, and wasted efforts.
That’s why I think we need to reframe quitting. Quitting is learning to say “no” to something that isn’t working so we can say “yes” to a better option. Sometimes, we don’t want to quit because we think if we just work harder or longer, things will change or start working. But all too often, they simply don’t. We need something new. Let me put it this way. Let’s say you have a car with a beautiful paint job, a tank full of gas, four new tires and a V-8 engine…but the transmission is broken. You can sit in your driveway all day with the engine cranked and your foot on the gas, but you’re not going anywhere. And you might be able to install a new transmission, but if the car is 20 years old, is it worth the investment? Maybe it’s time to give up on that clunker and get another vehicle.
As Keller so eloquently states, “perseverance isn’t always the best strategy.” Quitting doesn’t mean that we are a complete moral failure – it may mean we are using our brain and moving in the right direction. We are letting go of whatever isn’t working so we have time to devote to something that will. But that can be hard to recognize and accept. Sometimes, if we are really honest, we hear our inner voice say we need to quit, but we ignore it. As a result, we can get overstressed, burned out, injured, or…insert your favorite bad outcome. If that describes you, take some time to consider if it’s time to quit.
Don’t worry…I’m not recommending you quit whatever and then just binge mindless TV and eat cheese curls all day. That’s a recipe for bigger pants, not success. I’m recommending you consider quitting X (job, project, idea) and then pursuing Y (your alternative job, project, idea). Often times, we need to “think beyond the quit”…and that, my friend, is strategy. Strategy involves hard work paired with the right goal, and that always leads to success.
Let’s make sure we’re all working hard at the right thing, and if not, let’s QUIT. Better options are out there.
Holly Hayes, President & Founder
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