I am always borrowing things from other people to create better versions of myself and others. This time it’s a chapter of out of the great James Allen playbook.
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” –James Allen
Leaders have a lot to be thankful for and so often we forget to write or verbalize them. Here are the top 10 things that I am thankful for that any leader should be as well.
1. Family – “Family where life begins and love never ends.”
Margie and Keith Eades provided my two brothers and me with a strong family unit and were sources of unending support. No kid could ask for a better situation. My wife Amy and I are lucky to be given a chance to pass that on to our two beautiful children John Ellis (4) Lucy (1.5). Through the family I was born into and the family that I have created, I have learned so much about putting others first.
2. Friends – “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”- Walter Winchell
You don’t realize how important great friends are until you really need them. While I have too many to list, I have been blessed with fantastic friends that support me and hold me accountable to be the best professional, father, and husband I can be. If you don’t have friends like this in your life or if you have friends that do the opposite, take a look in the mirror and make this a priority.
3. Mentors – “A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained”- Shawn Hitchcock
To the mentors in my life: Steve Smith, Scott Cornwell, Jason Sutton, Chuck Hood, Chris Halligan, Tom Coyle, Robert Kear, David Dooley, Mac Lackey and Charlie McNealy; thank you. Any young professional would be lucky to have just one of you guiding them through the minefield of their career. If you don’t have a mentor, seek one out; the more the better. They are incredible sources of knowledge and wisdom, but you have to make the effort to find them. I can assure you the effort will always pay off. If you are later in your career pick up the phone or write a quick emailing thanking a mentor that helped you in your career and make an effort to pay it forward to a younger professional.
4. Colleagues – “Happiness is working with people”
As a leader, being thankful for current and past colleagues is so important because we are nothing without them. I get more fulfillment and value out of seeing my colleagues improve and succeed than anything else I do on a daily basis. To Christina Wilder, Mark Houston, Ravi, Pranay; I couldn’t do my job without you and I wouldn’t want to. To my former colleagues who shaped me into the man and leader that I am today, thank you. While I can’t name them all special thanks to Dorthy Wood, Tim Sullivan, Grant Cox and Nick Maslanka, your support guided me down a path with a sometimes rough terrain.
5. Clients – “You can never be satisfied as an entrepreneur, and the basis of any successful, growing business is new clients” – Herjavec
Businesses don’t exist without clients. Its funny how quickly leaders forget about the people that keep their business growing and feeding their families. To anyone we have worked with and will continue to work with, thank you. You have helped us turn the online learning and the leadership development world upside down. If you are a leader of a team when is the last time you have written a hand written thank you note to a client just to say thank you for their support?
6. Organization- “Organizations change when people in them change”
Its funny how often we forget that the organization whether it be our company, family, or team is what provides us the opportunity to lead. While you can always lead yourself, it isn’t nearly as rewarding or fulfilling as leading others and helping them create the best version of themselves.
7. Challenges and Opportunities – “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”- T.S. Elliot
Most leaders take for granted or despise the challenges and opportunities put in their path everyday. You are in your position of leadership because you can handle them and solve problems. I am so excited and even grateful for the challenges and opportunities that have presented themselves in such a short amount of time. Our brand new Getting Leadership Ready Program, The Follow My Lead Podcast , and the book living in my head (and begging to get on paper); thank you for choosing me. Life is too short not to try difficult and challenging things. It’s amazing what begins to happen when you willingly and optimistically take on them on.
8. Faith – “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”
I am a Christian man. There is no judgment here, as to what you believe in. In my experience, faith has freed me to pursue life knowing that I’m not alone; I am strengthened by my relationship with Christ and he is responsible for what ultimately happens. All I can do is try to use the gifts he has given me to the best of my abilities. Regardless of your belief system being thankful for the ability to have faith in something greater than yourself if a gift that is worth being thankful for.
9. Thought Leaders- “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
Out of the box thought leaders like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Urban Meyer, Simon Sinek, Michael Hyatt, and Bill McDermott could never be repaid the amount of value they have provided to me. While I don’t always agree with everything they say, write or believe, they get me out of my comfort zone and help me to think critically. I don’t know any leader that hasn’t been impacted by a book, movie, mentor, or teacher. Be thankful for those thought leaders that changed your career and help others on your team find one themselves.
10. Hobbies- “I do virtually nothing except my work. No hobbies.” – Milton Glaser
I couldn’t disagree with Milton more. While I love my work I love things outside of work. Having ways to get away from work and the office are critically important. Hobbies are a fantastic way to network, build lifelong friendships, and bring joy to life. For me it’s golf, my sports teams (Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Braves) and live music. I fit them in when I can and always come back to work with a renewed vigor inspired by what I did while I was gone. Don’t forget to be thankful for hobbies that clear your mind, providing a moment of mental relief, and inspire you to achieve more.
There you have it, 10 things all leaders should be thankful for. Whats great, is anyone regardless of role, tenure, or experience can be aware and thankful for all of these. SO do your best to channel your inner James Allen and verbalize or write to those that you are thankful for.
John Eades is the President and CEO of LearnLoft. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, speaks, and hosts a podcast about leadership and modern learning techniques.You can follow him on twitter and snapchat @johngeades.
Getting Leadership Ready. LearnLoft’s out of the box training approach to helping organizations develop their young professionals to be better and more proactive leaders. Find out more here.