A Guide to Gratitude

I don’t know about you guys, but getting ready to host Thanksgiving is pretty hectic for me. How do I get 20lbs of turkey home on the train? How do I entertain out-of-town guests the rest of the weekend? What can I do weeks and days ahead to lower my stress on the big day?86H

Notice anything there? I, me, mine. Not the George Harrison lyrics; it’s the T-day ego. See, all the folks you praise for working so hard to make Thanksgiving happen aren’t saints. Most of us genuinely like making stuff for other people, and seeing you all smile and pat your tummies when it’s over is the best thanks we could get. What we hosts really need is to be reminded of how to thank others. See, in planning and executing such a grand experience, it’s even easier to forget the meaning of it all than it is for those who simply partake.

For me, the best way to remember to be thankful is to read the words of others who are actively giving thanks. This year, my inspiration comes from the REALTOR® family. A little over a week ago, when reflecting on his time at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans this month, Nate Ellis of Keller Williams Realty in Walnut Creek, Calif. wrote the longest Facebook update I have ever read in full.

See, Ellis was recently diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition called CIDP. While his prospects are apparently good, he required a wheelchair to make it through the long days of the conference. And instead of posting something at the end of the conference talking about how tired he was, or how much work awaited him back home, he took the time to thank more than 50 people (!) who had made his conference experience awesome, listing the specific actions they’d taken to do so. When is the last time you could list even half as many people and tell them what they’d done to make your world a better place? I have never met Ellis, but he seems to be that quiet kind of “amazing” that embodies gratitude.

Here’s just a tiny snippet from Ellis’ post:

I knew that coming to New Orleans I would need to lean on some of my friends for support. I just did not know how much their love and support would really mean to me… My smile may have masked many things during this conference. From pain, to doubt, to self pity but please know that my smile contains so much joy and gratitude for everyone who has helped me make this my favorite and most memorable conference ever.

So, if you’re not sure how to toast this Thanksgiving dinner, channel your inner Nate Ellis. You’ll be thankful you did.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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  1. Kyle L London

    Thanks for sharing, Meg. What a great story and an inspiration! I was driving into the office this morning and WTOP had a wonderful segment about the power of gratitude on people’s general health. This holiday season (and into the new year), I’m going to take a cue from Nate Ellis and shoot for an attitude of gratitude. Thank you!