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The true meaning of Thanksgiving is GRATITUDE.
We all know that gratitude is synonymous with Thanksgiving right? Then, how did we get so lost? How did we find ourselves over-indulging in so much of everything from over-sized houses, to too many clothes, to pumpkin-spiced lattes, and accumulating so many things in general?
How did we fall for the "more is better" mantra? Remember that bumper sticker in the 90s, "He who dies with the most toys wins."?
Did we really fall for that? Did we really believe that things would make us happy?
I always preferred buying myself an experience, i.e., travel, fantastic foods, entertainment, over a THING. Yet, how did I accumulate so much crap in the last decade?
Something has come over me during the last year.
I have been going through a detoxification of stuff.
I have been filling bins, boxes, bags, and buckets of stuff I no longer want or need or have any use for.
Every time I unload more stuff, I feel lighter, happier, and a sense of freedom begins to take over.
I don't think this shift in simplifying and de-cluttering one's lifestyle is only happening in me. I see it everywhere around me in other forms and shapes.
I think we are finally waking up.
I think we are all awakening to a new way of living, working, and BEING. And, it's not just happening to individuals…it's happening to businesses, organizations, and institutions too.
We are starting to look at our lives, and businesses in terms of our legacy. We are starting to realize that how we live our lives and design our businesses will be the legacy we leave behind.
It's not some one-time public act of benevolent bestowment.
It's how we respect others, it's how we participate in our community, it's how we treat our planet, and most of all, it starts with a change within ourselves. Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
We are shifting to a value-based economy.
Perhaps the downturn in the economy has caused us to look inwards… inside ourselves. We know that blaming, judging, and criticizing others for our problems is counter-productive.
So, we take time to get still and ponder the legacy we want to leave behind.
We begin to ask questions like, Do we value people over profit? In other words, do we view our workforce as an asset rather than an expense?
Do we value our planet more than convenience? Hmm, maybe carpooling or public transportation is not such a bad idea after all.
Do we value relationships more than money?
We are taking a big pause and saying stop the insanity. No longer will we follow the sheeple crowd. A life of meaning and contribution is what we crave and that means being conscious of our choices, decisions, and how they affect everything and everyone around us….and I mean everything and everyone.
Take coffee for example. Making a coffee purchasing decision on behalf of the employee break room should be a seemingly easy decision right?
The coffee industry is one of the most human labor exploited industries in the world.
However, if we are building a value-based business, then we can decide to only buy from companies who use Fair Trade coffee practices. That's a decision based on a value of treating everyone with respect and dignity, including the coffee farmers who are growing the coffee beans.
Where there are challenges there are always opportunities.
We are shifting into a new economy. There is an emerging new economy, being brought about by a new type of entrepreneur.
This entrepreneur will build our new economy based on openness, transparency, authenticity, honesty, and intelligence.
She will provide and encourage opportunities for innovation, creativity, and imagination. Alienation and isolation from oneself while working will not be part of this new paradigm.
Mediocrity will no longer be the status quo that have pervaded our businesses for far too long.
She will be there to serve her team and empower them to realize their dreams and goals by encouraging them to step into their own power.
Her vision will be bold, audacious, and radical. It's a vision that will help create a world that works for all, not just a few.
The opportunities are abundant and I am grateful for that on this Thanksgiving day of gratitude.