The most thankful Thursday

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Julie Thorson
Julie Thorson

Thankful Thursday. We've all heard of Thankful Thursdays; many of us celebrate it on a regular basis. This the week we celebrate the most thankful of all Thursdays. I'm reminded of how thankful I am for those who show up every day.

Earlier this year I wrote about showing up for work. In that article, Christopher Ridenhour reminded us all how it's not enough for us in our field to come to work; we need to show up and be present for those we serve.

In 2017 we made a commitment to recognize each Thursday as “Thankful Thursday.” We recognized this day of the week as a day set aside for showing appreciation, no matter how big or small. Emails were exchanged, personal recognition, notes, all the simple but meaningful things people do every day to show appreciation.  Don't misunderstand: We strive to show appreciation every day. However, by setting out Thursdays as special it was a great reminder to us all to make being thankful a habit rather than an exception.

In my very scientific review of this practice, I determined it worked. Do I have the stats to back it? Heck no. In fact like many of you, our retention numbers are struggling and our recruitment efforts are also a bit dismal. Is showing appreciation often still the right thing to do? Absolutely, without question.

As team members, we owe it to each other to say thank you. Saying thank you for the big things is obvious. Saying thank you for the little things takes more effort. The seemingly little things however can mean so much and can make the difference between a good day and a great day. I'm not only talking about the residents, but each other as well. 

So during this Thanksgiving week, the message is simple: Say thank you. Say thank you often, say thank you and mean it. Mean it for all the reasons you should, mean it because it matters. Showing appreciation isn't about completing a task on your leadership check list — it's about showing up and knowing what really happens day to day to day in your organizations and recognizing those that make it happen.

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you and all we do to show up and serve every day. Just imagine if every day were “Thankful Thursday” and the spirit of appreciation were truly felt by all.

Julie Thorson's “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. The president and CEO of Friendship Haven, a continuing care retirement community in Fort Dodge, IA, that earned the Governor's Award for Quality under her, Thorson is a coach's daughter at heart. She is a former part-time nursing home social worker who quickly ascended the leadership ranks. Now a licensed nursing home administrator, she has been a participant in LeadingAge's Leadership Academy and LeadingAge Iowa's Mentor of the Year.