Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather cools, the leaves turn a beautiful array of colors, and the holiday season is here. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, gathering with friends and family to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It’s more than just turkey and football or another paid vacation day. It’s an opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things in our lives that are worthy of thanks.
I’m thankful for my wonderful wife and three healthy, fantastic kids. And I’m thankful for the friends in my life, a roof over my head, and the opportunity to come to work each day to do something I love. But I’m also thankful for the group of people I’m surrounded by each day at work. People who are committed to what they do, care about their work and their colleagues, and genuinely want to grow and succeed. Work wouldn’t be much fun if it weren’t for the people. I often say that life is too short to spend it working with people you don’t like. And it is. So I’m thankful for the people I get to work with each and every day.
And I’m thankful for all they do to make my job the joy that it is:
Teamwork. I’m thrilled to get to spend my days with people who work together not for selfish motives but for the greater good of the team. Each day I see examples of cooperative efforts that produce results that would be unattainable by any individual. And the energy that comes from a group of people working in concert to achieve their goals is palpable. It brings a certain momentum to the business that makes it fun to be a part of.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
—Harry S. Truman
Humor. It’s good to laugh—even at ourselves sometimes. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the job at hand and forget to have a good time. As I write this, I can hear two coworkers laughing outside my door. It’s music to my ears. We spend the majority of our lives at work—way too much time not to spend some of it laughing. A little bit of humor at work can go a long way toward making it more fun and, believe it or not, productive.
I realize that humor isn’t for everyone. It’s only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive.
—Anne Wilson Schaef
Action. If you want to accomplish something, you first must act. I’m surrounded by a group of people who take action each and every day to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves. You can either sit on your hands and hope someone else acts or you can act. The biggest failure of many people is that they are afraid to act. Working with people who are willing to take action is a blessing I don’t take for granted.
Focused action beats brilliance any day.
Nerve. Call it what you like—nerve, grit, determination, courage, heart, or even spirit—but there’s a toughness required to be successful. The person who is afraid to try will never succeed. Sometimes you have to walk to the ledge and take a leap of faith. I work with people who have nerve and are willing to put themselves out there and risk failure to succeed. It’s motivating to watch it in action, and I’m thankful for it.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Kindness. My mother taught me to treat others the way I would like to be treated, and kindness is a big part of that equation. I work every day with people who have good hearts and respect one another. No one wants to come to work and be treated poorly—it takes away from the entire experience. Being surrounded by talented, motivated, and successful people who also happen to be kind makes this a special place to work.
Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness.
Success. So much of what I have achieved in life can be attributed to the talents and efforts of others. In business, we fail together and we succeed together—you’re never alone. Any degree of success I’ve attained has come as a result of those I’ve been blessed to work with. Surround yourself with good people, and the rest will take care of itself. I’m lucky enough to work with great people who know how to succeed.
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.
I’m a lucky guy to get to work with the people I do each day. They make work fun and rewarding, and for that I am blessed. And I’m glad to have this opportunity to stop and reflect on what I’m really thankful for—at work, it’s the people I get to spend my days with.