It's two days before Thanksgiving, and knowing that in 48 hours I'll be hosting two dozen people for the first time in nearly two years, my life is already full of lists:
- What I still need to pick up from the grocery store
- Who is bringing what (tons of appetizers, side dishes, and most likely an obscene number of desserts… hey, we're Italian…)
- House cleaning and setup checklist (a dining room table plus two card tables and lots of couches in front of “can't-miss” football)
- Timing schedule for day-of marathon cooking (turkey AND ham, mashed potatoes, two types of stuffing/dressing, cornbread, vegetables…)
Everyone seems to have their favorite dishes. Personally, I don't care about mashed potatoes, but I absolutely love all the cured meats and cheeses in the antipasto appetizers (like I said, we're Italian), and I could eat a whole plate of stuffing with some cranberry sauce on the side (the jellied kind that slides out of the can and still LOOKS like the can… old habits die hard…) and a huge slab of mom's homemade apple pie for dessert. What's your ideal plate?
While it's fun to anticipate what foods you'll eat, here's a fun little twist: Have you ever thought about which Thanksgiving food you'd BE? Try this 60-second personality quiz to see which thanksgiving food best reflects who you are! (FYI, it turns out I'm a turkey! No comment from the peanut gallery…) 😉
Food avatars notwithstanding, here's the thing: I'm one of those crazy people who loves the chaos of hosting a big holiday gathering. But I'm also very lucky that my family members all get along with each other!
Gatherings like Thanksgiving create anxiety for many out there because it means bringing together people with very different but strong opinions on everything from football allegiances to politics.
The key to keeping the day in the holiday spirit is knowing whom to engage, whose comments to ignore, and how to have a meaningful and enjoyable conversation with someone who insists on steering the conversation into what's wrong with the world and who is to blame, when all you want to do is hit the couch to slide blissfully into a tryptophan-induced food coma.
Ironically, this is not all that different from engaging in workplace conversations with people with different perspectives, pressures, interests and needs.
That's what we dove into on this week’s episode of Speaking to Influence, with Luciana Bonifacio, Chief Development Officer of Save the Children, whose mission is to ensure all children around the world have a “healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm.”
Luciana shares how she finds passion and joy in work that often involves engaging in difficult culturally and emotionally-charged conversations.
Listen in here or watch the full video here as Luciana and I discuss the power of not speaking first, the difference between understanding data vs. understanding perspective, and how the nuances of labels and language used to discuss her work impact the success rate of projects and new opportunities.
And don't forget: Giving Tuesday is just around the corner! Consider how much we're all going to eat on Thursday. At a restaurant it would be at least $50-100 per person… but did you know that the same $50 can feed three children for an entire month? A little can go a long way. Please consider making a Thanksgiving gift to Save the Children here.
Finally, I want to share one of my new favorite quotes of the season:
Taking that cue, in case I haven't expressed it clearly or explicitly enough, every day I give thanks for all of YOU!
I'd love to know what you're thankful for. Better yet — let someone else know!
Here’s my Thanksgiving challenge to you: Think about someone who made a positive difference in your life, big or small, but whom you have not told yet, and send them a message of thanks. Trust me, it is NEVER too late, and you'll thank me when you've done it and see their response.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!