By Gino Blefari
This week my travels find me at home, starting off with my typical Monday WIG calls. After the calls, I met virtually with two groups of students at the San Jose State University School of Business Entrepreneurial Venture Lab class. Listening to their pitches and delivering critiques was the closest I’ve gotten to becoming a Shark Tank judge. On Tuesday, I participated in the weekly Berkshire Hathaway Energy Presidents Meeting and today I was invited by Ken Baris (CEO of Jordan Baris Inc., REALTORS® Real Living) to give a 30-minute presentation about gratitude during the West Orange New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Thanksgiving luncheon, held via Zoom.
And gratitude really is the name of the game this week. I feel so grateful to pursue my calling with leaders who have become more like family. From the staff members to our CEOs to our network brokers and owners to our agents — everyone deserves my ultimate gratitude today and always.
Thanksgiving really is one of my favorite holidays. It’s non-denominational, so we can all celebrate it, and the core Thanksgiving message of gratitude is the perfect way to replenish your mindset with positivity, joy and hope just as we approach the end of the year.
And relishing the spirit of this holiday is easy. We sit back, relax and eat really, really delicious food. (Mmm, I can almost smell the turkey roasting and the sweet pumpkin pie baking, can’t you?)
I also love that Thanksgiving began with a visionary, female leader — fiction writer and poet, Sarah Josepha Hale. (Fun fact: She famously penned “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”) In the mid-1800s, Hale campaigned for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday, writing letters to governors, ministers living abroad, Navy commanders and even five American Presidents, including President Abraham Lincoln.
At the time, Thanksgiving was celebrated on a day and month decided by each state, but Hale wanted one, single day for nationwide gratitude. After 17 long and relentless years, Hale finally achieved her Wildly Important Goal when President Lincoln wrote a proclamation called “Thanksgiving Day 1863.”
He said of Thanksgiving: “It seems to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”
So, what’s the message? Thanksgiving isn’t just a story of gratitude displayed before a festive fall feast. At its historic core, it’s also a tale of perseverance, of unity, of prudence and of heart. For all that and more, we give thanks this upcoming holiday.
Respond to THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP: HAPPY THANKSGIVING