Gratitude and Christmas Trees

It seems that we blinked and Thanksgiving is now a part of our past. Similarly, in just the twinkling of an eye, Christmas will be here. In spite of how quickly Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to come and go, I love the holiday season. It is a time of year that fills me with gratitude—for family, friends, employment, citizenship in a great country, challenges that help me grow, One of the traditional symbols of the holiday season is the Christmas tree—an evergreen—a symbol of everlasting life, that spring and sunshine will follow the gray, dark days of winter. I enjoy this holiday symbol so much that if my wife would allow it, I would put the Christmas tree up in our house the day after Halloween. Fortunately, we live in the Rockies where we are surrounded by evergreens, which, if we are open to the idea, can serve as a subtle, year-round reminder of Christmas and the many blessings in our lives.

In addition to being surrounded by evergreens, we are involved in a holiday-friendly industry. After all, whenever we complete a natural gas well, the production engineer and field crew construct a Christmas tree. Of course, the natural gas industry’s versionof a Christmas tree is an assembly of pipes, valves and fittings that are installed to control the flow of gas from the well. Perhaps we can use the industry’s Christmas tree as another reminder through the year that we are, or can be, grateful—for family, friends, citizenship, challenges, employment, and opportunities to grow and improve ourselves.

If there were any one “thing” this time of year that could have an immediate, positive impact on your personal development and productivity, it would be adopting an attitude of gratitude and learning how to express sincere appreciation to those that work with you and for you. Of all the oil and gas industry people I talk to, it is a very small percentage that receives a healthy level of appreciation from their peers and supervisors in the workplace. This may seem quite unusual to some of you, but I know an excellent and knowledgeable landman who worked for the same supervisor for more than six years. During that six-year period,the supervisor never once said, “Thanks,” or, “Good job.”

Sincere expressions of thanks and appreciation will do a great deal to enhance the way you come across to others and will energize the recipients of your compliments. People love people who are mature and secure enough to be appreciative—such people inspire us to be better. When we are inspired, we are more confident, productive and easier to work with and manage.

As you express your appreciation this holiday season and through the New Year, do so by recognizing the person—his or her strengths, character and integrity. Remember, it is not about the nice she drives or how nice he looks. It is about the person—who the person is. For example, you may consider saying, “Jay, your steady work ethic has been a big plus for our department. It makes my job easier to be able to count on you.” Or, you might say, “Joy, watching your professional example in the workplace makes me want to perform at a higher level.”

Be bold this holiday season; begin saying the good things to others you have wanted to say for months, or years. If you are fortunate to be the recipient of someone’s sincere expression of gratitude, avoid being self-deprecating about it. Respond with ahearty, “Thank you,” and enjoy the moment. If you are bold in your expressions of gratitude, your enjoyment of the holiday season and all of 2005 will be filled with strengthened relationships and greater personal self-confidence. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

If you have any questions, feel free to give me a phone call at 303-225-0328. There is never a charge for my consultation time, whether talking to me on the phone or in person. Yes, you read correctly, my consultation time is always free.


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