Short RFL Long on Thanks

We give Thanks that this is a short week!  And, so I’ll strive for a 40% shorter RFL J

On the Everyday Leadership Radio Show I’ll spend both hours with four of the teacher/researchers of the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship.  This group does fascinating work – all from the perspective that’s positive-rather-than-pathological.  They look at what works, at the “positive deviance” of high-achieving groups, at the productivity of high-energy organizations, and even at the positive power that flows from loss.  These guys are Michigan’s best kept secret when it comes to leadership and work.  They always uplift, inspire, and often surprise me with their research.  If you don’t listen in live on Saturday, then Google the podcast later; they’ll get you geeked.

I want to publicly thank Kim Cameron of the Center for POS for his work on writing a daily thanks journal.  Consider buying one for yourself or somebody else during these holidays.  Kim has written about the research-proven power of ending your day by writing thanks.  I attest to a much-improved attitude since I began doing it last year.

Lastly, on my website I’ve pulled together 11 really fun songs of thanks.  They range from Country to Gospel to Reggae to Indian to old Bing Crosby himself!  Might be a fun CD or podcast to build, especially if you’ve got a long drive or travel time this week. In both music and lyrics, they give thanks and uplift.

Give a lot of thanks this week, as you

Lead with your best self!


Click here

  • Dan and RFL readers,

    I like Kim’s idea of a thanks journal! Let me also tell you about a small activity I led last night (Sunday).

    I am a member of CMU’s chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary, members of which are recognized for their leadership in their campus’s residence halls. I have realized that with leadership comes responsibility, and with responsibility often comes stress. At those stressful moments, it can be easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for.

    The activity I created involved envelopes, several slips of paper, and writing utensils. On each slip of paper, we wrote one thing for which we were grateful.

    In the future, when we are feeling stressed out, we can pick up this envelope, grab something out of it, and realize that we have plenty for which to be thankful!

  • Dan,

    Thanks for reminding us to give Thanks for all that we have.

    I have a friend named Jack from Salt Lake City Utah who has written a book on “How to School Your Toughest Opponent” Which of course is usually ourselves. I use it with my students.

    The first rule in the book is Appreciation. ~The TIP Lady

  • Dan,

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

    I am sharing this quotation with the faculty tomorrow; I received it last week in an email and plan to pass it on to the hard working staff members here, because it fits the times we live in!
    Craig Douglas, Supt.
    Carrollton Public Schools

    In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We
    should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
    Albert Schweitzer

  • A good RFL couldn’t go from start to finish without finding a way to bash a white male. This time, Bing Crosby took the hit. Would any other group have gotten that?

    • Dave,
      Have you completely lost your mind?
      I took a hit at Bing Crosby?
      Paranoia knows no end, I guess.
      Amazedly yours,
      p.s. I apologize if I missed some ironic wit.
      p.p.s. I apologize if you’re feeling sick today.
      otherwise: Huh?!?!

  • Dan,

    I’ve written a daily journal for as long as I can remember. A thanks journal is a grand idea, but I have to add that any kind of journal helps put one’s life into perspective. There are pages in my journal that are so full of bitter thoughts and white-hot rage, I swear the pages hiss and smoke. And there are pages so full of joy and sweet memories they positively glow in the dark. Both have great value for me, because they let me see me, both the light and the dark sides of this crusty old curmudgeon.

    I also discovered that it is difficult and even painful to maintain an attitude of hatred and recrimination for any length of time. There is a well of darkness in each of us, but if we siphon it off into an external record, it lightens the load we carry. Harry Truman wrote many letters he never sent. Most were angry and hurtful exercises, but they removed that yoke from his shoulders, so he could get on with the business of being President. The letters that survived him show a man subject to all the knee-jerk anger and resentment which plagues every human being. I believe his passion kept him vital until his last days. The few letters he actually sent, like the one attacking a music critic who panned his daughter Margaret’s recital, caused him great grief. He was wise to capture the darkness and lock it away.

    An attitude of gratitude is a tremendous goal to seek. However, it seems to me that it would be an artificial construct if the incredible bright lights were not balanced by the indigo darkness they dispel. For those who feel they do not have the time to write a journal, I offer the following suggestion: Use the power of your computer to record your thoughts in audio or video format. Deliver a pep talk to yourself via your Web cam or your Smartphone. Take a picture of yourself when you first get out of bed in the morning. I always look in the mirror right away…so I can start my day with a good laugh — and that is something for which I can give thanks!


  • Trying to find the link to the songs – keep circling back to the main page – hoping to download them for the annual trip north for the holiday!


  • I attended a funeral service yesterday for a friend’s 16-year-old son who had struggled with depression for several years. I can’t imagine anything worse happening to a family. And I can imagine that like most people, thoughts about that young man make me think about my own two children who are close to his age. I’ll continue to think of my friend and her family through the Thanksgiving weekend and beyond, and will be even more thankful for my own family and friends, because I know there’s no guarantee they’ll still be here next Thankgiving, or even tomorrow.

  • Tony,
    I also have a friend who had to go to his son’s college and pick up his belongings and, of course, his son’s body. Nothing makes me quake more than the thought of the unnatural of having to bury one’s child.
    The depth of that fear and loathing surely is the flipside of the immeasurable thanks for being given the gift of a child or children. We’ll remember your friend and her family at this time of endless thanks,

    • Dan,

      Thank you, I appreciate your thoughts. We’ll be thinking of your friend, as well. It’s appropriate for all of us to give thanks knowing that we shouldn’t take any of our loved ones for granted, and should be thankful that they were a part of our life.

      Happy Thanksgiving,

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