Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for reflection. It’s the ideal occasion for us to pause and think about what we’re thankful for in our lives.

Some families have a tradition of gathering around the dinner table and stating what each member is thankful for before they eat. (I love this tradition!) Others take to social media to share a list of what they are thankful for. (I love reading these posts!)

Discovering what evokes a sense of gratitude in others is both inspiring and insightful. The discovery offers a glimpse into what others value and a reminder of what we may be taking for granted.

What often gets lost in the practice of sharing gratitude at Thanksgiving, however, is the reason for our thankfulness. We focus on our what instead of our why. In other words, we tend to state what we’re thankful for without explaining why we’re thankful.

Assuming others understand why we’re thankful for whatever we identified is a mistake that can lead to misinterpretation.

For instance, “our good health” is a common response when asked to name something for which we’re thankful. “Our good health” is a worthy response. But it’s also the type of response that can be misinterpreted.

Why are you thankful for your good heath? Is it because you don’t have to be inconvenienced by illness? Is it because you don’t have to bear the financial burdens that accompany treatments? Is it because being healthy gives you the freedom to do whatever you want?

While all those reasons may be true, some could be interpreted as being more selfish than others. Why not take a good teammate approach by removing the doubt and adding some context to your response? Say: “I’m thankful for my good health because it allows me the time and energy to be able to help people I love.”

Another common response is for people to be thankful for their family. Again, why are you thankful for your family?

Is it because they give you companionship? Is it because they make you laugh? Is because you know they will help you carry boxes the next time you need to move? Or, is it because they give you something to serve and provide purpose in your life?

If you’re truly thankful for your family, don’t leave them wondering about your reason. Reveal to them the basis for your gratitude. Expressing your thankfulness in this manner provides a deeper understanding of what matters most to you and why it matters.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about how good teammates state their empathy. Explicitly stating the reasons for your gratitude falls into the same category.

I hope you and your teams have a joyous Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone reading this knows how thankful I am for your continued support. Why? Because every blog you open, every book you buy, every tweet you retweet, and every post you share helps us spread the be a good teammate message and makes the world a little bit better place in which to live.

This week, whenever you start spouting off everything you’re thankful for remember to also mention why you’re thankful.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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