Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the spirit of it. Gratitude for what we have and for those who have helped us have it is quintessentially and beautifully American.
But it's also hard to make time for anything, no matter how noble, when you're building and growing a business. I know how tempting it is to put a few of your pet projects on the Thanksgiving weekend. It seems like the perfect opportunity to get ahead before the final sprint to year end. I've done it, too.
Here are the ways to prep your Thanksgiving now so you can create a holiday you're truly grateful for:
- Tell your team early. Communicate that you won't be available over your vacation, whether that's just Thursday, or the whole week. Set a clear expectation that this is not one of those "always available" experiences for you. No need to explain, but you do need to set expectations.
- Make a Thanksgiving issue resolution meeting. It doesn't have to be incredibly formal--just get the people together that count on you, and have a moment where you explain you're taking a real break for your holiday. Ask them to anticipate issues now so you can get ahead of it. If you are like me--one of those people who answers emails all the time--it's a big departure to "go dark." Explain it and allow your team to come up with creative work arounds for each other.
- Message it on social. Go ahead and let your "tweeps" know that you'll be going dark, too. Consider that message on any social platform you're active on. Tell them when you'll be back, and then--leave!
- Consider how you'll make space for grace over the holiday. These days, you share so many details of your life on email, messages, SnapChat, Swam, Facebook, Instagram, or you-name-it. You may not realize how much head-space this digital half-dialogue with the rest of the world is taking.To hear your own voice saying "thanks," shut it down for a time period that makes sense. Maybe for you that's just the morning. Maybe it's over the meal. Maybe it's even the long weekend or the week . . .
- Consider a Thanksgiving focus ritual. If your family has a ritual already, deepen it by putting time into the "trimmings." Think about making the expression of community at the heart of Thanksgiving more real for you--like running with your neighbors in the local Turkey Trot, serving food with your coworkers, visiting the food bank, or taking food to elders that don't go out. You might shop for the meal together with your loved ones, or do a potluck in the office. This might be the year for a new riff on an old ritual that makes you feel even more blessed for the freedoms you have. Now's the time to talk about it.
- Go old school. The original Thanksgiving was celebrated by a group of truly diverse individuals--the American Natives that immigrated here thousands of years ago and the latest influx of new American Immigrants. They were expressing thanks for the bounty they built together.Blending diverse experiences together into something better is what builds our country. Who is dynamically different from you that has made all the difference in your life today? Thanksgiving was made for telling him or her how much it matters. How do you want to do it this year?