Professional success isn’t merely contingent on what you do in the office during the work week. What you do on your off days and the type of person you are matters a great deal more than you might think. Studies have shown that altruism, generosity, happiness, and success are intrinsically connected. Consequently, a better career begins with being a better person every day. Thanksgiving is an auspicious time to start. Here are six Thanksgiving actions that successful people incorporate into their holiday that set them up for success all year long.
1. Be kind and make connections
Thanksgiving is always among America’s busiest travel days. More people on roads, buses, trains, and airplanes breeds impatience and short tempers. So, it’s entirely possible that you may have been rude to fellow travelers in the past or been the target of bad behavior. You may even come to expect it of yourself and others. However, traveling can also be an opportunity for networking. You could meet someone along the way that can help your career. Reach out to fellow travelers. Hold open a door. Pay forward the blessings in your life, and you may make a business connection in return.
2. Help out and increase productivity
Help out with the cooking and cleaning this Thanksgiving. Use time in the kitchen to connect with friends and family to show how thankful you are for having them in your life. Take this helpful attitude with you when you return to the office. A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that helping others makes us happier at work. And, numerous studies have shown that happiness makes people 12 percent more productive. So, it’s a win-win to lend a helping hand.
3. Put away work to regain focus
It’s just one day. Emails and work duties can be put on hold for a single day. Allow your brain to shift gears and rejuvenate so that it is fresh when you return to work. Show your friends and family that you appreciate this time with them. You don’t have to be at the beck and call of your superiors and colleagues to be reliable. The holiday is a welcome distraction that can help you gain focus and come back to work refreshed.
4. Practice giving thanks to improve employee engagement
Write down at least three things that you are grateful for in your life. Extend your Thanksgiving into a daily practice. Like altruism, studies have shown that gratitude makes us happier at work and in life in general, resulting in higher productivity. Also, expressing gratitude at work results in higher employee engagement and lower turnover, exponentially boosting profits.
5. Get outside, get moving, and reduce stress
Don’t just lounge around all day on the couch. Leave the house and get some exercise and fresh air. Exercise releases endorphins which naturally relieve stress, making you able to think clearer and calmer through decisions and situations. It also helps keep your body and mind fresh and active.
6. Manage hot topics with openness and respect
When approaching hot-button topics with your family and friends, try not to be antagonistic or one-sided in your views. Try to be the one who contextualizes the issue so that people can see similarities while respecting differences. Practice handling tough issues outside of work can help you approach difficult situations at the office. When polarizing topics come up, use the situation to flex your leadership muscles by responding constructively.
Science has shown that altruism, compassion, and helpfulness are key to success. So, as you take stock of the past year this holiday season and begin to look forward, keep in mind that it literally pays to be a better person. Make giving thanks a daily practice and you’ll see returns in your spiritual, emotional, physical, and fiscal health all year long.