I am thankful for ALL of my family, friends and associates. While only a small few support me personally or professionally, I have learned that having hundreds of people in your life gives one perspective. It gives you the ability to separate those special people that go out of their way to help you, from those that never lift a finger to help you and disconnect from you because they never were really connected in the first place.
We all have family that we love dearly, and the assorted ones that we tolerate for the sake of keeping the peace. And yet I like to think I can benefit from each one of them. Much like those managers from our past that fight for positions of “least effective manager ever” I have fashioned my own leadership style from not only the most admired qualities of some managers, but striving to avoid the qualities of some of the worst managers. I think family relationships are much the same.
Think about the family member that gushes over you at the holiday dinner, but hasn’t said boo to you since the last time the family gathered for a meal. The utter fakeness of their gushing reminds us to be authentic with people. We need to monitor our behaviors so they align with everything we do. Seeing these people even a few times a year, reminds me to be the same person year round.
Close friends seem to get the whole supportive relationship, and the natural give and take. I have a small group of people in my life that live up to that expectation all the time, and it is easy to be grateful for every single one of them.
But the bulk of people that I know can’t qualify as friends, and are people that through the work environment I’ve got to know and value their individual expertise. While I support their professional endeavors when I can, most of these people are just cordial. Many of them cannot even be bothered to return a phone call, text or email. So can I be thankful for the majority of the people I know?
As I enter my 12th year of consulting, I have had to admit on several occasions that most of the people I know travel a one way street, headed in the direction they want to go. When they need something from me they are only too quick to contact me, gush about how time has flown by, and go right for what they need from me. I always respond in any way I can, hoping the Golden Rule will apply and that someday they will return the favor. I am usually disappointed by 99% of these return trips.
And while it may not be possible to replace a family member, we can pick and choose our friends. Hanging with people that bring you down is not healthy, and neither is staying connected with people that are just too busy to give you the time of day. People we have connected with in social media sites should be people we want to work with, but if they are unable to reply to you in any way it is time to disconnect.
I can be thankful for even the people that ignore me, because it reminds me that I am not the center of the universe and just because I have hundreds of people “following” me, it doesn’t make me special. I remain only unique and special to some people. But for the majority of the world I am just another warm body.
Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!