This Monday at The John Maxwell Company we had our annual “work family” Thanksgiving dinner.  It was enjoyable, incredible, and phenomenal to say the least. What made it even more special were the people we had there. Although, the thought did cross my mind as I saw the turkey and dressing continue to diminish what it would be like to have dinner alone. Seriously, one of the best things about the holidays is the people in our lives. Our family, friends, and teams make this time of year exceptional. 

Brittany Gardner, our guru of creating “fun” for our company culture, had us work on an activity to see how many different words we could extract out of the word “Thanksgiving”. This activity reminded me of another useful exercise that I do this time of the year. I enjoy finding the many reasons to be thankful AND finding just as many different ways to express it to others.

One of my favorite things about traveling the world with John Maxwell is dining, which seems a little obvious when I step on the scale these days. I enjoy the exquisite styles of food and the unique locations we experience, but it is something else much more meaningful and that requires less intake of calories that makes this a favorite for me. John always comes to the table with a question (or at times 10!) for us to discuss during dinner. Because of this bonding experience, it has motivated me to take this home to family dinners.

Now, it has become a Cole family favorite. Last week, I asked my girls the question, “What is your favorite family tradition?” The response: “Questions at the table!”

Last night, my wife and I went to dinner and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance with my Executive Assistant, Kim and her husband, Scott. Stephanie and I wanted to express our appreciation for the value that Kim and Scott add to our lives.

I HIGHLY recommend demonstrating to someone who adds value to you of your appreciation around Thanksgiving! We started the evening off with dinner together. I have learned so well from my mentor, John and so, I came to dinner prepared with questions. Kim and I, and our families, have known each other for years but last night I learned some very insightful things simply by asking questions. I have a new appreciation and gratefulness for both Kim and Scott. And to my surprise, I even learned some new things about my wife!

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I want to encourage you to be INTENTIONAL about expressing gratitude this year. Many of you already do this, but some of you are just starting out with new families or new circumstances. Be intentional this weekend to do more than BE thankful, SHOW how you are thankful!

I want to encourage you to post ideas to this blog how you demonstrate gratitude. What is your “go-to” expression of thanksgiving?  One idea to engage your family and friends around the dinner table this year is to already have questions ready to discuss.

Here are the questions that our families discussed last night:

  • What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory or tradition?
  • What is your all-time favorite Thanksgiving food or dish?
  • Who are you most thankful at this time of the year? Why?
    Family member (excluding your spouse/significant other)
    Non-family member
  • What is the one thing or experience you are most thankful for this year?
  • What do you hope is the one thing you are most thankful for next Thanksgiving?

Please post additional questions you have used or think would work well to ask family and friends this weekend. Also, we would love to hear additional ideas you have used to express thanksgiving to your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving from Stephanie, myself, our family and the entire team at The John Maxwell Company to you and yours! We trust you will have a safe and replenishing time this weekend. We are incredibly thankful for YOU!

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