Did you know that Thanksgiving is the most stress-filled holiday of the year? While this family ritual is about gratitude and happy talk, it's also about being with the very people who can push your buttons more than anyone else in the world. Learn to observe and take what you learn back to the office.

This is a super opportunity for long term gains. This dinner setting can offer some great understanding about what triggers you at work and how to make changes for optimum success.

Think about last year: there you were listening to your younger sister Suzie go on and on about her latest and greatest business deal. You sat there smiling thinking about how you would like to staple her mouth shut. Your dad was complimenting her and your blood was boiling.

It happens every year. She is the star, the darling baby sister. And she knows how to play it.

Are you prepared to hear a replay of "special Suzie" again? Do it differently this time.

Look for the patterns that connect.

Let me explain. Behavior patterns that were developed in the family follow us to work unless we learn to observe, understand and transform them. Take the time to see who each relative reminds you of at work and you are on your way of responding in a new and more effective manner.

When you think about Suzie ask yourself who she reminds you of. Suddenly you see an image of Bill, the V.P. who does the same thing at just about every leadership meeting. You finally get the connection. Suzie, Bill...Bill, Suzie. They both twist your gut.

Remember last year when you were ready to finally toot your own horn and talk about how your marketing campaign won an award and your mom interrupted you to pass the potatoes? She also kept going, giving details about the special recipe that made the sweet potatoes more healthful.

Nothing new. She has interrupted you since you learned to say your first complete sentence.

Now think about how you always respond to your mother. Ah yes, you shut up and sulk.

Suddenly an image comes to mind. You do the same thing sitting around the conference table at work when the big boss cuts you short.

"Holy crap" you say to yourself. Same frustrations, different setting, different day.

Now you can give thanks for the best discovery of the day: the same responses you learned as a kid show up at work when you are stressed and confronted by someone you see as a challenge. Suzie, Bill... Bill, Suzie. And of course, mother!

Let this year be the beginning of deciding to break the cycle of pattern repetition that can turn outdated, ingrained family baggage into creative energy that will foster better workplace associations and even higher level career success.

Remember the way out of the old is to observe the patterns so they no longer have such a strong hold on you. Then understand that they started in your family when you were two or five or eleven. And finally make a commitment to transform what no longer works and that it will no longer push your buttons.

You can do it. And once you see the connection your colleagues at work will start to look and sound different. And that's a good thing.

And by the way...Happy Thanksgiving.