Jane, Kim, Wayne, Lynn, Bob, and Gretchen – the Positive Leadership (Scholars)* at University Michigan – were the most POSITIVE people I think I’d ever met. I have met some very religiously positive people. But these were PhDs, scholars(!), the kind I’d known at Yale and Harvard, who seldom believed in anything, except for not believing in anything! I don’t remember how or why our paths crossed, but I will never forget Kim insisting, as he pulled out a checkbook, that he would buy my book and I would inscribe it; I was not allowed to give it to him or them.
Have you ever felt honored? They made me feel honored. Can you touch what it felt or feels like – to be honored? I think it’s almost impossible to feel honored without feeling humbled! Is that your experience? Often, “honor” is casually tossed about. “It’s an honor to be here,” the politician or speaker tosses out, like they’re opening the door beneath the sink and throwing some eggshells into the compost.
By contrast, what would it be like if we, as Thanksgiving hosts or Thanksgiving guests, cultivated that positive Michigan spirit before we opened the door to share a meal and thanks this Thursday? How might you create or activate the same kind of extraordinary field of positive energy that I walked into 15 years ago at U of M, when I left feeling seen and honored? I’ll be a “guest” of sorts at Granholm-Mulhern East in DC, where my wife, kids, and perfect grandbaby Dylan Azul reside year-round. I’m gonna light me one of those scented autumn candles before I go upstairs to help prepare the meal. I’m going to prepare myself to feel the honor of being with each of them. I’ll do three in- and three out-breaths while picturing each of them in turn. I’ll open to them, in my mind and heart, and in the spirit of a candle’s flame.
It’s a big flippin’ deal – for a leader or a follower – to be given the honor of being seen, appreciated, and cared for. Cultivate honor to Give Thanks and to
Lead with your best self.
*Jane Dutton, Kim Cameron, Wayne Baker, Lynn Wooten, Bob Quinn, and Gretchen Spreitzer are all prolific writers as well as people who walk the walk of positive leadership! I wish Amazon would group their work together, but if you scroll this page, you’ll find much of Kim’s work. Some of Jane and Gretchen’s work on connection and compassion at work are here.