How To Give Thanks

By Mo Bunnell

What's On My Mind

Sending this out a few days early this week to line up with US Thanksgiving!

I've been thinking about thanksgiving.

One of my worst traits is optimism.

Sure, it's one of my best traits too, but it has a dark side.

​I always think I can get more done than I do.

And damn, it happens every day.

Every day goes by, and I get less done than I thought I would. In short sprints, my over-optimistic mind can actually bring me down.

I've realized there's a simple fix.

​When I help someone out or catch up with an old friend, I get to share my expertise. It feels good to help.

​This forces me to recognize how far we've come.

Example: I caught up with a great long-standing client last week, and it had been about a year since we talked. They asked about our year at BIG and how things were going.​

I explained how we're growing like crazy and helping our all-star clients grow like crazy. I recapped a few of the bigger things we've done.

They were blown away.

At that moment, I couldn't believe how much we've gotten done this year, how amazing our team is, and how fun it's been impacting our clients. .

​One second, it was not enough. The next, we're moving fast!

​The difference?

​I didn't judge myself on what I thought I could get done in the short term.

​Instead, my friend and client asked me what I had gotten done in the longer term.

​I had an a-ha moment.

​My insight was deeper than short- versus long-term:

We can help others feel thankfulness more powerfully than we can force ourselves to feel it.

Pause. Contemplate.

Let's put this into action.

Here's a simple way to help someone feel great, borrowed from my friend Luke Burgis's excellent book Wanting.

Paraphrased a bit, try asking someone these three questions in sequence:

  1. What's the number one thing you've done this year you're proud of?​
  2. I'm curious, what did you personally do that made you so proud?
  3. OK, this is interesting. Why did that bring about such great satisfaction?

These are amazing questions.

My wife Becky and I went out for paella last weekend to take a pause from the fray and celebrate the year so far. Paella!

​We asked each other these questions—even knowing they were coming, my answers moved me.

Hers moved me more.

She shared how she's persevered every day, standing up her non-profit equine therapy program at Reins Of Hope.​

Feeding the horses and donkey every morning and night, no matter the weather. Building her breast cancer survivor program. Working with the AMAZING volunteers at SAP that have adopted her program.

​In the short term, she feeds the horses in the rain. She leads 50+ volunteers. She has countless texts and emails to answer.

​In the longer term, she helps breast cancer survivors reacclimatize to society. She helps young children walk. She helps.

It's amazing what we all accomplish in a year.

​Yet how hard it is to let ourselves be satisfied.

​Here's an idea...

​On the business side, schedule some calls with clients. Send them a short note, asking to check in.

​On the personal side, spend some moments with family at Thanksgiving or if you're outside the States, check in with some friends.

It's the perfect time of year for it.

Ask them Luke's questions or whatever version of them feels right. Give them a shot.

I'm blown away by their impact.

​Give the other person the spotlight.

Let them feel the thankfulness.

Because a funny thing will happen.

You'll feel more thankful too.


ps. These are GREAT questions for discussion around the US Thanksgiving dinner table. That's why we sent this out a few days early.

​I'm wishing you TONS of Thankful thoughts and conversations. Let's make a difference in others!

And thank YOU for being a reader of my weekly thoughts.

I'm feeling thankful. 😉