Inspiration is Power

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The third Monday of January is the observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., an American minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and civil rights leader dedicated to non-violence. This is a day to honor King’s principles and visions, perhaps best exemplified by his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

When I look at the essence of his words, I see why his speech had and is of such significant influence. His “I Have a Dream Speech” serves as a powerful example of how we can inspire ourselves and others to effect profound change and be our highest vision of ourselves as individuals and as organizations.

He focused on what he wanted, not what he didn’t want.

What I feel and what I experience depends on what I am focused on in each moment. The direction I take and the decisions I make also depend on what I am focused on in each moment. When I am focused on what I want, on what matters, on what has meaning and purpose, I become inspired and I inspire others.

When I am focused on what I don’t want, what I did wrong, what could be better, what is irritating, angering, frustrating, sad, what holds me back, what I don’t have, can’t do, what isn’t fair, or is overwhelming, I am not inspired.

It is when we are inspired that we achieve significant results.

He inspired others vs. motivated.

We often think that when we’re leading or selling, we have to persuade, convince, and motivate others to

achieve results.

Motivation does not work–not in the long run. And neither does persuading or convincing. That’s the reason we find ourselves continually needing to persuade, convince, and motivate ourselves and others.

When I am trying to motivate myself or others, I am actually in a state of force; and in the long run, there is no power in force. Often, it brings about an equal and opposite reaction.

Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. Or what we needed to make happen or better.

He said, “I have a dream” and shared his highest vision — authentically, sincerely.

Inspiration is power.

Inspiration, which means to be infused with spirit, ignites a power within. When I am inspired, there is no stopping me, and remarkable things start to happen. When I am inspired, I am in touch with my highest awareness and creativity. I get all kinds of ideas on how to create and expand what I have envisioned.

And others want to help.

Vision, purpose, hope, thankfulness, wonder, and possibility all bring about inspiration.

He shared his dream.

When I work with business owners and managers, I ask them to tell me what their dream is for their organization. Nine times out of ten, they don’t have one. They wax on and on about providing value to their customers, being an employer of choice, and maximizing returns for their investors.

When they finish, I tell them I am not inspired. Because I am not inspired. They weren’t inspired, so they weren’t inspiring, and I wasn’t inspired.

When I ask them to tell me their dream for their life, they look at me with a blank stare because they don’t have one. They haven’t thought about it.

Their first assignment, then, is to write their “I have a dream” speech.

Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Once they start, they can’t stop. They write their dream for their organization, their employees, their customers, their suppliers, their investors, the community.

They see and feel the difference they are making, and they become inspired–mightily.

When they share that vision with their teams, their customers, suppliers, and investors, they too become inspired. And they write their dream speech for their role and contribution to creating that vision.

Remarkable things start to happen.

They can’t wait to get together with their partners and families and write the dream speech for their life, their career, their marriage, their family, their retirement….

What’s Your Dream?

I invite you to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech again. And then write your “I Have a Dream” speech for your life, your work, and every role you play.

See what happens.

© 2015 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Reduce Holiday Stress and Experience Peace of Mind

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Reduce-Holiday-Stress-Peace-of-MindWith holiday festivities to host and attend, families and friends to connect with and visit, gifts to buy, food to prepare, with time and money at a premium, you may find yourself tied up in ribbons.

The American Psychological Association, reported that one in three adults in the U.S. experience extreme stress on a continuing basis. I imagine these numbers are compounded during the holidays.

I invite you to remember that it is my true nature to be happy, healthy, full of energy, creative, expansive, inspired. It is my true nature to want connect with others, imagine what is possible and create it.I experience stress when I am out of alignment with my true nature.

  • I could be out of alignment because what I am thinking, saying or doing is really not true to me. It’s not what I envision or hope for myself and others.
  • I could be out of alignment because something is happening or someone is behaving in a way that is different than what I expect, what I believe, what I have learned, what I have practiced, what I value.
  • I could be out of alignment because I am in a state of force.
  • I could be out of alignment because of how I am thinking a thought.

When I am out of alignment for whatever reason, my brain acts as if I am in physical danger and, delivers to me the fight, flight, and freeze thoughts that I have practiced.

Of course, I am not in physical danger. My brain, bless its heart, doesn’t know that and goes into a state of flight, fight, or freeze anyway.  It delivers thoughts of worry, frustration, anxiety, anger, disappointment, insecurity, criticism, depression….and other fight, flight and freeze thoughts that I have practiced in similar circumstances.

Without self-awareness, that’s where I remain–in fight, flight, or freeze. With self-awareness, I can pause, take a breath, and add light to the situation. I can choose thoughts that move me in a direction that helps me create what I truly want and be my highest vision.

Here are some powerful thoughts to practice during the holiday season to rise to a new level of consciousness, restore your ability to discover what truly matters to you, receive ideas on what to do next, and experience peace of mind and the joy of the season.

  1. List everything you think you want to accomplish during the holidays, and ask yourself, “What does this bring me?” for each item. Keep asking and answering the question “What does this bring me?” until you get to the essence of what you want. If the essence of what you want does not bring you peace or inspire you, then you can cross the item off your list and wonder what you could think, say, or do to accomplish the essence of what you truly want.
  2. Notice  “I have to,” “I need to” and “I should” thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself thinking one of these forceful, often judgmental (and exhausting) thoughts, restate the thought using “I am,” “I choose,” “I am committed to,” “It could be great if” or “I wonder how I can” and finish the thought with what difference you are making for yourself and others by doing what you are choosing to do. Turning these forceful thoughts into thoughts of intention and wonder help us to reclaim our lives, discover what we really want and open us to the many ideas on how we could achieve it.
  3. Take a deep breath,  focus on the exhale, (holding my breath actually contributes to stress!) and think “I wonder what truly matters in this moment?”  Take as many breaths as it takes until you feel a click, back in alignment, true to you. Re-invoking the state of wonder is a sure-fire way to reduce stress, spark creativity, and  stay fully present and focused on what really matters, what truly brings peace and joy.

I invite you to practice any one of the above suggestions and see what happens.

 

© 2014 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Guest Blogger Kris Taylor Asks: What Word Should (Might) You Want to Remove from Your Vocabulary?

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No ShouldingToday’s guest blogger is Kris Taylor, the founder of Evergreen Leadership. Kris is a respected colleague and friend with a proven track record of promoting, leading, and implementing positive change.

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I had the opportunity to meet a brilliant young man this week. His list of accomplishments was long, his skill-set was broad, and his impact on others was positive and deep. Yet it was clear that he was struggling with a bad case of the “shoulds” – and the second-guessing that came with it. He should have gone to college sooner, should have had a better idea of where he was headed, should have stuck with his business venture longer, should be in a better job…

We all carry around some “shoulds” – both past and present. The list of past ”shoulds” is long and may include: I should have gone to different school, followed a different major, pursued a different career, tried harder, risked more, married differently, taken that opportunity, stayed with it longer.  And we all have an equally long list of present ”shoulds”.  They might include: I should make more money, have a better house, be a better boss, be a better parent, spend more time at work, spend more time at home, go back to school, exercise more, eat less, be kinder, make more money, work harder, relax more.

I’d like to suggest that you banish the word should (and even need to) from your vocabulary. The words connote an obligation or duty, rather than a choice or free will. “I should get a new job.” is heavy and onerous,  and conveys inaction and guilt. The “shoulds” wear us out – make our load heavy. Our past “shoulds” have us looking in the rear view mirror and beating ourselves up for missed opportunities or perceived missteps. Our future “shoulds” burden us with obligations that may or may not serve us well.

Contrast the thought “I should get a new job.” to these:

  • “I am choosing to stick with this job for the next year.”
  • “I am committed to making the best of this job, even if it is not where I want to be forever.”
  •  “It’s time for me to find a job that is a fit for me.”
  • “I wonder what steps I might take to find a job that is a fit for me.”
  • “I am curious about what I would like in a different job.”

Mary Lore, whose work on Managing Thought inspires me, provides a list of substitute words – that are accountable, freeing and focused. Instead of using the words need to, have to or should – try these substitutes:

  • I am choosing…
  • I am committed to…
  • It’s important to me that I…
  • I could…
  • Based on where I was, I chose to… Today, I am choosing…
  • I wonder how I can…
  • It could be great if…

When I began to substitute these words for my “shoulds” – there was a little jolt. This was followed by a sense of freedom – and letting go of some guilt and pressure I put on myself. I began to forgive myself and let go of past decisions and actions – and make conscious choices in the present. And I began to own the choices I was making – and make them with intention based on what I really wanted, rather than an amorphous obligation weighing on me from some other source.

So see if you can shed some “shoulds” and see what happens.

© 2014 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

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Kris Taylor has brought together her keen insights about organizations, change and leadership to create Evergreen Leadership.  Over the past 9 years, hundreds of leaders from 50 companies across the country have worked with Kris and her talented associates for help in successfully implementing large scale, mission critical change initiatives. Evergreen Leadership reflects Kris’s signature talent of creating high impact learning programs where leaders emerge with deep insights about their own personal leadership and learn how to lead others in today’s fast paced and uncertain environment.

What’s Your M.O. – a Love of Labor or a Labor of Love?

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Mary Lore Labor of LoveReflecting on some recent interactions got me to thinking—We have become a nation of laborers.

We love to labor. We are busy, busy, busy, doing, doing, doing.

When we face a big challenge or a difficult situation, we labor. We cancel vacation, skip lunch, work through the weekend, and stay late to solve the problem, put out the fire, accomplish the result, fix it.

To succeed, we labor. We strive, do whatever it takes, put in the hours, persevere, expend blood, sweat, and tears—no pain no gain!

And our heads are filled with all the things we need to, have to, should, and must do.  We even do things to force ourselves to get motivated!

We believe that doing, forcing – laboring – brings results.  I wondered – what if we approached our work and life as a labor of love?  Here are stories of those who took the labor of love challenge.

  • A stay-at-home mom dreaded bathing her two year old. Forcing her child to take the bath, scolding her child for making a mess, and mopping up after made bath time a labor. When she made the bath a labor of love, she took the opportunity to enjoy being with her toddler. They splashed, giggled, and squealed with delight. Bath time became an anticipated event and cleanup became a joyful reminder of quality time with her daughter.
  • A runner realized she’d lost the enjoyment of running. She had to motivate herself to run and force herself to run great distances. She criticized her performance, continually pushing herself to do better. When she chose to run as a labor of love, she went back to her original routine—enjoying the sights and smells of nature as she ran through parks, enjoying the landscaping, and seeing kids play and adults chat as she ran through neighborhoods. Running became fun again, effortless. She looked forward to it and started running marathons.
  • The sales and production team at a firm that publishes several monthly magazines found it hard to meet their sales targets and production deadlines and they struggled financially. Their mantra: You get burned out in this business. You finish a magazine and move on to the next. Your work is never done.  They celebrated hard work and motivated themselves to work harder. When they changed their approach, instead of producing thousands of magazines, they made a difference in the lives of those who read the articles, attended the events listed in the calendar, and utilized the products and services that were advertised. Instead of selling ads, they helped their advertisers grow their businesses and fulfill their dreams. Instead of increasing sales by a certain percent, they were of highest service and in return received dollars, which they used to pay the team for their talents and contributions, who in turn spent their earnings on who and what they loved. They no longer NEEDED to make a sale or a deadline. They were inspired to make a difference and contribute the livelihood, education, well-being, and joy of others. Exhaustion turned into energy and creativity.  Struggle turned into flow and survival turned into thriving.

Deadlines, needing to or having to do something, and making a number are, in and of themselves, not inspiring. They are about doing. Not about being.

We get inspired by helping others so I could get inspired by working together to meet a deadline or to achieve a number – maybe once, twice, or three times.  Meeting deadlines month after month and year after year becomes a burden and uninspiring if the objective is just to meet a deadline or make a number.

I become inspired and achieve significant results when my goals are meaningful, when I truly know that I am being of service, contributing, making a difference, helping – when I do what I love and love what I do.

What’s your M.O.?  Love of labor or labor of love?

I invite you to take the Labor of Love Challenge:

  • Notice when you are operating from a love of labor—when you are in a state of force, trying to motivate yourself or others, in the need to/have to/must mode.
  • Change it to a labor of love – Wonder what difference you are making, how you could help, how you could make it fun.

See what happens.

 

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

September is Self-Awareness Month

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September is Self Awareness MonthAre you self-aware?

When I ask this question in my workshops, and it doesn’t matter if I am with CEOs, management teams, educators, parents, medical professionals, graduate students, or teens, the answer is a resounding: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.

Yet, according to various studies and authorities, self-awareness is the:

  • #1 characteristic of a successful entrepreneur
  • #1 characteristic of a high performing leader
  • #1 characteristic of an authentic leader
  • #1 factor of predicting success in business

And we have been hearing in the spiritual realm for thousands of years that self-awareness is the #1 characteristic of a successful human being.

This is not surprising to me. Because everything we say and do first begins in a thought. Everything.

In my experience, most of us have not thought about our thoughts. We have no idea what we are thinking.

We don’t realize that we are making thousands of choices every day, thousands of decisions every day.

We don’t realize that most of our thoughts are rooted in fear, focused on what we don’t want –They’re not moving us in a direction that serves our true purpose.

We don’t realize that we’re not inspired.

I can’t even begin to describe how much power each and everyone of us has.

Every thought we have is creating — for better and worse — richer and poorer — sickness and health.

Individually and collectively.

We all have the ability to be self-aware, to notice what we are thinking, how we are feeling, and if we are in alignment with who we truly are and what we truly wish to create in this world.

We all have the ability to choose the thoughts we wish to hold, to create health and happiness and be creative, inspired, and impactful in everything we do.

Confucius once said: To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate ourselves.

This is true for us as individuals and as organizations, particularly in such fast-moving and volatile times.

I change the world around me by changing myself. And I change myself through self-awareness, self-mastery, and being on-purpose.

Are you self-aware?

 

For daily self-awareness thoughts and inspiration follow Managing Thought on Twitter or “like” Managing Thought on Facebook to receive them as they post.

I have dedicated my life and work to helping individuals and organizations develop self-awareness, think differently, think powerfully, and achieve significant, meaningful, and long-lasting results. If you are truly interested in practicing self-awareness and being inspired and impactful in everything you do, visit www.MindfulnessMonday.com and www.ManagingThought.com

For additional ideas on cultivating your life-well lived, check out this inspiring video: Resolutions, Intentions and Affirmations for a Life Well-Lived.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

 

 

The Pursuit of Being Truly Happy

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Mary Lore Pursuing True HappinessEvery July 4th, I am thankful to our Founding Fathers for their passion, their commitment, to our freedom to pursue that which makes us happy –our freedom to be who we truly are and to create what we truly wish to create in this world.

Are you exercising the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness? Are you truly happy?

It is our nature to be happy. That’s our nature. If we are not, something is amiss.

I invite you to read or listen to this Forward ThinkingTM Reminder on the pursuit of happiness. It covers the difference between emotional happiness and true happiness.

I am having carrot cake today – to celebrate my independence, my freedom to BE happy, and sculpt the work in progress that is me.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

It’s Time to Plant Your Seeds and Cultivate Your Intentions

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Cultivating IntentionsHaving once owned a garden center and nursery and having a huge passion for gardening, I know this weekend is THE weekend to get our gardens growing. Now to me — growing gardens, growing companies, growing ourselves — it’s all the same. That’s the reason I use so many gardening analogies when I talk about developing self-awareness, self-mastery and being on purpose.

I approach Managing Thought® as if I were pruning a tree. When I prune a tree, the first thing I do is decide what I want to accomplish. Do I want to remove the dead wood? Create a certain shape? Bring in more light? More fruit or flowers? Growth upward or outward? Once I have my purpose, I begin to prune, first removing the dead and diseased branches. I then prune the branches that are crossing other branches, sticking straight up, or shooting from the base of the tree. These are appropriately called suckers because they suck up the water, nutrients, and sunlight from the viable branches. Once these branches are removed, I then prune and shape the tree to fulfill my purpose. After completing the process, I turn my attention to the daily culti­vation of the tree—how it is fed and watered and its exposure to the elements. This helps the tree resist stress and develop a strong root and trunk system. With less stress, the tree resists insects, disease, and damage. It thrives in its full glory.

To manage our thoughts, we can follow the same process. Before we plan or strategize anything—a career, vacation, marriage, education for ourselves or our children, a corporate initiative—we can decide what we want. Before we say or do anything, such as interact with our family, children, or signifi­cant others, or converse with a customer or coworker, we can decide our purpose. We decide what is of significance. We decide what we wish to create in our life and our work.

Then we watch our thoughts and prune those that are destructive and diseased –the thoughts that don’t bring us peace or inspire us. We notice and prune the thoughts that are at cross-purposes, or sucking up our time, energy, and money. These are the thoughts that block our light—our true reality. We practice shaping our thoughts, creating our intentions, and focusing our thoughts, and ultimately our actions, on what matters to us.

In doing so, we accomplish our purpose and fulfill our intention in each moment. We cultivate ourselves daily and develop a strong mind, body, and spirit. We resist stress, disease, and damage. We thrive in our full glory.

What seeds are you planting? What intentions are you cultivating?

The next series of daily thoughts and inspiration are on self-cultivation.  Follow Managing Thought on Twitter or “like” Managing Thought on Facebook to receive them as they post.

For additional ideas on cultivating your life-well lived, check out this inspiring video: Resolutions, Intentions and Affirmations for a Life Well-Lived.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Pursuit of Happiness

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“The pursuit of happiness,” is listed in the United States Declaration of Independence among the unalienable and sovereign rights of man. The Dalai Lama teaches that the purpose of life is happiness. In the workshops I do, whether we are discussing a life well-lived, a job well-done, a great relationship, a corporate culture, or a well-executed strategy, when we ask what is the essence of what we truly want, the answer is always happiness. Corporate leaders, blue collar workers, moms and dads, sixth graders, teens, seniors, and spiritual advisors — we all want to be happy.

There are two kinds of happiness – emotional happiness and true happiness. Emotional happiness is momentary. Fleeting. Reactive. It doesn’t last and attachment to emotional happiness eventually results in its opposite—sadness. For example, I may experience emotional happiness when I have won something, or accomplished a goal or when someone agrees with me. I may experience emotional unhappiness when something happens that is different than what I expect, what I believe, or what I have learned.

True happiness, on the other hand, remains steadfast no matter what happens. It is long-lasting. Creative. True happiness arises when I am in alignment with the highest and best vision of myself, no matter what is going on around me. For example, I experience true happiness, when I am thankful, when I am in a state of wonder and possibility, when I am on purpose, helping others, making a difference, or utilizing my unique talents.

We all have the ability to be truly happy in any moment. That’s our true nature. It’s how we are thinking that causes us to realize our true nature–or not!

Everything we say, do and create first begins in thought. Our thoughts create. We are always creating — for better or worse. Individually and collectively. We are  always creating what we feel and what we experience from this day forward.

When I started looking at my thoughts, I became aware of the power of my thoughts—aware that each thought I have is either creating the experience of true happiness or not. I could stop re-acting and start creating. As “stuff” happens, I could take the opportunity to decide what’s the highest and vision of myself that I could be in response to what has happened. I could practice choosing thoughts that make me truly happy – that are in alignment with who I am and the highest and best vision of who I aspire to be.

It was a big aha! for me to realize that I am responsible for creating my own happiness. Being happy is my choice. Being happy takes practice. If I want to be happy, I practice choosing and creating happiness. I practice being happy.

Thanks to our Founding Fathers, we all have the ability to pursue happiness, to BE truly happy.

Let’s make our Founding Fathers proud.

Will you join me?

For my Forward ThinkingTM Reminder on happiness, click here to listen to audio, download a PDF or read online or click here to read another blog post on the topic.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Replacing Weak Thought Patterns with Powerful Thought Patterns

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Replacing Weak Thought Patterns Mary LoreWe shape our thoughts by choosing our intentions, asking ourselves powerful questions, and making powerful statements to ourselves. We also shape our thoughts by replacing weak thought patterns with powerful thought patterns.

In my book, Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success., I refer to the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, MD, Ph.D. I mention that the energy of a thought can be measured and that “the difference in power between a loving thought and a fearful thought is so enormous as to be beyond the capacity of the human imagination to easily comprehend.”

When I first read this, I was taken aback. I experienced an incredible aha! Until that moment, I approached my work and my own self-cultivation by looking for what was wrong and then working on making it right.

Another big aha! for me was learning that what I considered to be less virtuous bad thoughts were neither good nor bad. They were merely a function of viewpoint, which is the accumulation of my thought patterns.

The biggest aha! for me was the realization that by lifting my thoughts higher and higher each day, I make a difference.

The current theme of my Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day is Replacing Weak Thought Patterns with Powerful Thought Patterns. There are three posts a day offering guidance on choosing and focusing on powerful thoughts vs. weak thoughts. Follow or visit Managing Thought on Twitter to receive them as they post or come back to this blog daily and view the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right-hand menu bar.

For additional practical guidance on powerful and weak thought patterns, check out Chapter 15 of Managing Thought or David Hawkins, MD, Ph.D’s book  Power vs. Force.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

A Fun and Meaningful Way to Practice Thankfulness at Thanksgiving

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Here’s a wonderful way to express thankfulness at Thanksgiving, help others to know the difference they make in our lives, and create a ripple effect of considerable magnitude.

1. Give everyone a blank 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper and a pen. If you have a large group, you may want to give everyone two pieces of paper paper-clipped together (You may want to splurge for nice paper and sharpies of various colors)

2. Have everyone write their name at the top of the paper (or both papers if they have two) and then pass it to the person on their right. (If someone refuses to participate or is absent from the gathering, write their name on top of a piece of paper for them)

3. Give everyone a minute or two to write at least one thing they are thankful for about the person whose name is at the top of the page. It could be something about their personality, a talent or skill they have, how they touched you or helped you in the past or present (If you have young children at the table, you may want to allow more time so an older child or grown-up can write what they want to say for them) Ring a bell to indicate they have about 30 seconds left and ring the bell to indicate that time is up.

4. Instruct everyone to pass their paper to their right.

5. Continue steps 3, 4 and 5 until everyone has the piece of paper with their name on it back in front of them.

6. Give everyone a minute or two to read what’s been written for them.

7. Invite everyone to read aloud what’s on their sheet of paper. Ask who wants to go first, and next and so on until everyone has shared.

8. To conclude, thank everyone for sharing and thank them for the difference they make in your life and in the lives of others.

9. You may want to provide a folder, an envelope or a plastic sleeve for them to put their paper in or a ribbon to tie around the paper rolled into a scroll.

This activity works great around the dinner table, around a conference table at work, in a circle in a classroom, in any group to which we belong.

When we invoke the power of thankfulness we tap into an incredible power within ourselves and others. We rekindle the spark of love, re-ignite our creativity, re-invoke our state of wonder and restore our sense of purpose. We become inspired.

And it is when we are inspired that we achieve significant, meaningful, long-lasting results.
How do you express thankfulness at Thanksgiving?

For more on thankfulness, listen to my Heartbeat Radio Show and my Forward Thinking™ podcast.

©2010 Managing Thought. All rights reserved.