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It’s not uncommon this time of year to see thankfulness challenges on social media. The holiday season tends to be not only one of giving, but a time of year where we have a fondness for being grateful. It’s one of the many things I love about the holidays.

At Stewardship, our Executive of Belonging, Samantha Marroquin helped kick-start the holiday season with a thankfulness challenge of our own. She taped some brown paper on the door in the breakroom and put a cup of markers next to it. Her instructions were to grab a marker each day and write something we are thankful for. The idea is to do this each day for 25 days, until Thanksgiving.

I love this idea. Giving thanks is scientifically proven to make us happier. And happier employees are more productive. And more productive employees means a bigger impact on our community by loving and serving our customers in their finances (for more on this see “The Stewardship Story.”) This amazing idea by Samm was going to make things better for Stewardship employees and our customers. 

That said, I think it’s important I get real with you. The honest truth is next to no one followed the rules. Sure, people grabbed a marker and wrote a word, phrase, or sentence expressing gratitude. But did everyone do it each day for 25 days straight? No. Myself included and I am the owner of the company. Heck, I am writing this blog just before midnight on the 18th. We still have more than a week left in the challenge, and I know for a fact that not everyone has made it all the way through.

Did we fail? It depends on how you look at it.

Here’s the door with the paper and written words. As I look at what’s written, I see a theme: people loving others.

You see, the people in our office are thankful for each other–for co-workers who are their friends. The Stewardship family genuinely cares about each other. We love each other. And that is extremely important. Because without it, we wouldn’t be able to love our customers well.

 Why am I writing to tell you about a “failed” attempt at a thankfulness challenge? Because gratitude is not a gift automatically absorbed just by being alive; it’s earned by taking intentional actions.

This holiday season, I challenge you to intentionally write, say, pray, or sing your thankfulness. And if you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, think of the people in your life and be grateful for the genuine care and love you have received. I plan to take my own advice and add more words to the paper on the break room door tomorrow morning. 

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