Let’s face it, most family relationships can be a bit challenging. Nothing says heartburn and stomach acid quite as well as a Thanksgiving dinner with extended family.
This season try this simple, four-ingredient recipe to have a more enjoyable and stress-free Thanksgiving experience.
1. Bring the Right Mindset
Attitude is everything. If you’re already getting anxious about your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s probably going to meet your expectations and be challenging.
Conversely, if you can generate a positive mindset about the upcoming event, you’ll have a much better chance to have that come through.
I’ll bring out one of my favorite quotes that has been attributed to Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you will be right.” In other words, your belief will determine the outcome. Expect an enjoyable family Thanksgiving.
2. Be Genuinely Curious and Ask Good Questions
I truly believe one of the most important skills we are lacking right now is to be genuinely curious about other people’s worldview. It is clear we all have varying opinions, yet we seem to have lost our ability to have rational and calm discussions about each other’s viewpoints.
Come to the dinner with a few good, open-ended questions in your hip pocket. Get people talking about themselves and what’s happening in their lives. Be genuinely curious about their point of view. Think of your curiosity as a gift you are giving them.
Ask questions like:
How was your year?
Do you have anything on the horizon that’s exciting?
What’s new or interesting in your life since the last time we spoke?
How is (school or career) going?
When you can be fully present and genuinely curious, you’ll be leading your family by example (the best form of leadership). As you demonstrate the skill, you will be encouraging others to do the same.
3. A Non-Judgmental Mind
Prepare yourself for when people start answering questions. You don’t want to get caught up in the trap of being judgmental about how they’re spending their life.
We are judgmental by our very nature. It takes extra focus and energy to notice your automatic judgments and then let them go in the same moment. Being judgmental can really harm your ability to build a relationship with someone.
If you have ever been on the receiving end of someone’s judgment you know how off-putting it can be. Let go of your judgment.
4. Generate Gratitude
Ultimately, Thanksgiving is about gratitude. See if you can find it in your heart to be grateful for the family you have, even with all of their quirks and annoyances.
Everyday I hear new stories of families shattered apart due to unexpected illness, violence or natural disaster. Be grateful for the family you have here and now.
Enjoy the day and demonstrate what an “attitude of gratitude” looks and feels like to the rest of your family.
Remember, energy is contagious. Bring these four simple ingredients to your family gathering and you will all have a better today and more hopeful tomorrow!
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.