A few years ago, our family was invited to a Jewish Seder celebrating Passover by dear friends in Atlanta. Our friends had their children and parents in attendance along with us gentiles. We were given yamakas to wear during the ceremony. My yamaka had “NC” emblazoned on top. Asking what it was, I was informed it was a North Carolina Tar Heel yamaka that our host had been given at a bat mitzvah of a young man who was a big Tar Heels fan. I asked the host if he had a Notre Dame yamaka. There was a roar of laughter from his family (he was actually a big ND fan and I was able to find an ND yamaka online and send it to him; he wears it all the time). What struck me during the Seder ceremony was the focus on the history of the Jewish people and the recounting of the many blessings that had come to them over the centuries. It was clear that gratitude was central to their lives. Psalms of gratitude recounting the many blessings of the Jewish people throughout history were read. Our hosts also recounted other blessings to the Jewish people over history.
Thankfulness and gratitude are so important for us to express. As Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” Why is it negativity comes so easily to us? Perhaps it comes from a media-driven culture that so often focuses on the negative and tears people down. Who knows the cause? But the antidote to this negativity is gratitude.
Make It a Great Day
Quarterly meetings at Healy Group are something many of our associates look forward to. They are an opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on happenings in our company. Communicating what is going on in an ongoing way is appreciated by all and encourages associates to think about ways we can all be better, both individually and as a company. These meetings often have time built in for some fun. Our Halloween meeting is always especially fun as many of us participate in a costume contest. But the best thing about our quarterly meetings is the shout-out time. It is a time we take to allow people to spontaneously shout out the good things they see in their coworkers. It is part of our Healy Spirit charge to “Make it a Great Day.”
Our shout-outs come towards the end of our meeting time and are followed by a talk by one of our owners to the group. Over time we realized we had to extend the shout-out time and thus reduce the final talk because everyone loves honoring the many wonderful things they see in their coworkers. This time will often go for 15 to 20 minutes. People hear coworkers point out the great things in each other. As we hear those things, we often remember other good things about each other and the sharings go on and on. It doesn’t get old. The expressions of gratitude in our shout-outs light up the room. People go out of those quarterly meetings feeling affirmed. Our post-meeting surveys have indicated this is the best part of the meeting. New associates experiencing this for the first time are often blown away by the atmosphere in the room as the shout-outs keep coming.
Light Up the Room With Shout Outs
While raising our children we would say night prayers with them at bedtime and we always ended with a time of recounting blessings. We would ask each child what they were thankful for that day. It was a great way to end the day full of gratitude. At birthdays, we would go around our table and each child would share their gratitude for the sibling whose birthday we were celebrating. Every Saturday evening, we would share the things we were most thankful for during the past week. Those blessings we shared on these occasions didn’t need to be earth-shattering. They were often simple things that someone was grateful for.
This Thanksgiving, spend some time pondering the blessings in your life. Perhaps write them down. I have often thought I should write down the blessings in my life, much like the psalmist. Then, when I get down, I can pull out the list and remember how blessed I have been. Perhaps give a shout-out to someone in your life. Even better, perhaps go around the dinner table and tell each person what you are thankful for about them. If you want to see some people light up on Thanksgiving, do that.
Wake Up With a Thankful Heart
Thanksgiving Day is a great reminder for us to take stock of our lives and remember how blessed we are. Let’s not just have it be a day; let’s have it be a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be a life-changer for us and those around us if we woke up each day with thanksgiving in our hearts and ended each day thankful for all the blessings that came our way during the day? And it would be even better if we told those around us how thankful we are for them. If we can put thanksgiving into practice and make it a habit in our lives, we truly can “Make it a Great Day” for ourselves and for those around us.
About the Author:
Rich, the President and an Owner of Healy Group, has been a financial advisor for over 39 years. His overarching goal in his work with his clients is to help them connect their money to their values. He believes that his work with his clients isn’t just about rates of return, asset allocation, and maximizing wealth; it is about helping them create a better life for those they love and creating a better world.