I’m never ready for Thanksgiving until the day before. I’m never ready for Christmas until Thanksgiving. As I grow older, the years go faster and I try my hardest to make time stand still. The arrival of Thanksgiving means the year is almost over and the year being almost over means time has gone too fast. Everyone, both at work and at home, starts to focus on the next year and the future. The pace at which we forget the now and focus on the future quickens year after year and sometimes slows me down as I get caught up in trying to keep up.
Over the last year I have thought a lot about simple, yet complex actions of positive human interaction such as kindness and generosity or patience and humility. As I reflect on the year and push back hard to avoid the swift transition to 2018, I think of a talk I once heard about prayer. Now, I am not advocating for any one religion and we at RDG are supportive of all religion. However, for this particular example, the talk I think of was given by a Christian leadership figure. His message was simple: Some of us perhaps pray when we wake up in the morning and pray when we go to bed at night. We may start our day asking for guidance or support in a specific area or hoping that we are protected as we move about in the world. And perhaps we repeat those same hopes in the evening. But, how often do we offer only prayers of thanks? Instead of being quick to jump on the opportunity to ask the higher power upstairs to continue to bless us or support us, do we spend enough time thanking them for bringing us to where we are today? How often do we pause during our routine to recognize moments and opportunities for gratitude?
As I have made a conscious effort to think about and recognize such moments in my own life, I have attempted to adopt two mantras:
1. Be kinder than necessary
2. Look for and try to recognize the inherent good in those around you
I was also challenged to think about adversity I face when someone said to me “An easy test to see how well you operate in forgiveness…. When is the last time you prayed FOR someone who has hurt you?”. These three operative thoughts have dominated my self-reflection in recent months.
There’s no economic development message today- just a challenge to slow down and reflect on your year before moving onto the next one in just a few short weeks. There’s no Christian message either – if you’re not the praying type, read that thought as “How often do you pause to be grateful for the decisions, events, and individuals who have helped you to get to where you are, protected you along the way, and supported you?” and “How quick are you to operate in forgiveness for those who wrong you?” These core thoughts are what I am calling my end of the year mental detox as I prepare to move into 2018. What will yours be?
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”
– Henry David Thoreau
Walden Pond: site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin in Concord, MA
and subject of his related book, Walden
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Resource Development Group. We hope you have a full table and full hearts.
Special thanks to all of our 2017 clients:
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Dorchester County Economic Development
Fort Worth Chamber
Greater Cleveland Partnership
Metro Atlanta Chamber
Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership
Thrive Regional Partnership
Tulsa Regional Chamber
TwinWest Chamber of Commerce