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Creating Successful Leaders

Well, Thanksgiving is over and the Holiday season has kicked into full gear. Stores are playing Christmas music nonstop, Starbucks has switched their cups over to their holiday color scheme, Christmas lists cover the front of refrigerators everywhere, and for those of us who live in Minnesota, we’re beginning to experience that familiar, tundra-like weather our state is known for.

Holidays are meant to be relaxing, warm and joyful; a time to reflect and commune with friends and family. But for most of us, stress is a big factor in preparing for the holidays, which makes it difficult to keep the whole point in sight.

I think thankfulness is a great antidote to holiday stress. Yes, Thanksgiving has passed, but does that mean we should reserve feeling thankful for our blessings to just one day?

Of course not!

As you take on the tasks of coordinating dinners with relatives, filling up the calender with baking, shopping, cleaning and decorating, keep the word “thankful” at the front of your mind. You have a home to decorate. You have friends and family to be with. You have a year’s worth of trials, challenges and victories to share with those you love.

Perhaps you read this blog because you’ve had trouble with either finding a job or with finding joy in the job you have. If so, maybe the holiday season for you is a time to gain perspective. Life can be trying, but with every failure comes new-found strength and wisdom. There is always opportunity, even in these tough times. And we should be thankful for everything we have, no matter the circumstances.

And believe me, I’m no expert on this. I’m not immune to holiday stress. But I’ve made a point to tell myself, “I don’t have to pick up my son from the airport, I get to.” Replacing the word “have” with “get” is a simple, yet effective way to change my attitude from stressed to thankful. With everything I do in preparation, I try to say, “I’m thankful for the chance to give gifts of love to my friends and family. I’m thankful for the opportunity to open my home to loved ones and provide a warm and happy space. I’m thankful for this time to reflect and grow as I look back on the year’s accomplishments and shortcomings.”

And you know what? I truly am thankful for these things. It’s just a matter of reminding myself of this, instead of getting lost in the distraction of the holiday bustle. When I dwell on my gratitude, I find that my stress and anxiety diminish, enabling me to embrace the true holiday spirit.


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