It’s the season for Thanksgiving at home, in the markets—and certainly in the workplace! As the year winds down, it’s a great time for reflection on the year’s successes, lessons learned, and objectives met or missed.  It’s also a perfect time to thank those people who helped you survive and thrive over 2016.

jude-olson-november-is-the-season-of-gratitudeSend Thank-you Notes

to your Mentors, Internal Customers, External Customers, Peers and Friends! (Don’t forget those coaches, too!)  A hand-written note these days is ‘golden’ however; even an email will be meaningful if you describe specifically how these wonderful folks helped you in these potential ways:

  • New Business or opportunities
  • Networking
  • Listening when you needed a confidant
  • Giving guidance when you had a career decision to make
  • Cheerleading when you were ready to quit
  • Reviewing your resume when you were ready to jump
  • Providing information or resources to help you finalize that project
  • Making time for you on their very busy schedules

Use professional stationery note cards or choose a stunning art or Nature card which evokes those images of Thanksgiving harvest and bounty…


Give Surprise Gifts

to those very special clients or managers who stood out from the rest. Suggestions include:

  • A book on Leadership (your favorite or a NY Times Bestseller) or a book of inspirational quotes from Leaders could be just the gift for an upcoming holiday read during down-time (An Amazon Book Gift card works well, too!)
  • An executive journal (leather bound) with a personalized pen might invite reflection by the fire
  • Unique gifts tied to personal interests open up possibilities if you know them. One of my favorite gifts received was a beautiful carved wooden executive kaleidoscope that could be displayed on my desk, because I love seeing things in new ways!

—Celebrate with Colleagues

before the Christmas rush, take time to build community with your co-workers and colleagues.

  • Schedule a Potluck Luncheon to thank your co-workers. Buy the turkey with stuffing and gravy, then invite others to bring sides dishes or desserts. They may like the opportunity to show off their holiday recipes. Ask about family traditions and Thanksgiving travel plans.  Get to know your direct reports and team members as people with families.  Thank them for their contributions at work—and offer a fun blessing that is universal in language (see my favorite,Thanksgiving Vegetable Blessing”).
  • Book a Happy Hour with colleagues to raise a toast to keeping jobs, looking for jobs, leaving jobs or retiring—whatever the year has brought! Having a career in any form is an accomplishment and having a job is something to be grateful for in any season.  Thank your colleagues and friends for their continued support throughout the year…
  • Make Dinner Reservations for your Partner—if you have a business partner, celebrate your financial success with a bottle of bubbly. Take your significant other out for his/her favorite food and thank them for covering you at home on all those late nights at the office and on business travel, picking up the kids and taking them to soccer practice when you had a meeting, and sharing the chores at home so you can have that work/life balance and time off on the weekends!

In this wonderful ‘change of seasons’ and ‘bringing in the harvest,’ remember that your career is never built on your efforts alone.

No matter how talented and hard-working we are, someone has helped us along the way.  They may have given us an opportunity to prove ourselves, hired us when we didn’t have all the credentials, offered resources when we were depleted, leveraged their network for information or mentored us by listening unconditionally and sharing their experiences and wisdom.  Take time to acknowledge them this Thanksgiving season and reap the benefits…

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”   –Voltaire


Resources:Thanksgiving Vegetable Blessingby Max Coots.