thankfulThis past week, I was reminded by something that I heard at a conference almost a year ago now.  The speaker remarked: The key to unlocking your greatest happiness is thankfulness.

With another Thanksgiving coming and going, I’ve spent a lot thinking about how correlated those two things are – thankfulness and happiness.

Can you be happy if you aren’t thankful?  And can you be thankful if you aren’t happy about it?

Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness is a choice, but I believe that in making that choice, we become more happy than we were in the first place.

And here’s why I think that…
Happiness is usually an emotion from an outcome of an event (e.g. when the Huskies won the Apple Cup yesterday, I was happy!).
But thankfulness, on the other hand, is a choice.

So when your friend pays for your cup of coffee, you can either:
1) Say, “Thanks, I really appreciate that.”
2) Say, “Thanks” (but in your mind know that you deserve that cup of coffee because you paid for their coffee the last time).

The opposite of thankfulness is indebtedness or entitlement.

I deserve that cup of coffee (my morning mindset).
I am so grateful for this delicious cup of coffee (a choice of gratitude  I usually forgo).

So think about it…would you rather cultivate a spirit of indebtedness and entitlement, or a spirit of thankfulness?

Turns out, the choice is yours.

shonda-kearns-bucky-ballsToday marks the four month mark of when Shonda McCarty Kearns passed away from cancer on July 22, 2013.

With Thanksgiving a week away, I am thankful for Shonda and her friendship. I’ve been feeling strongly about wanting to do something to honor and remember her presence in my life and those that she worked with. Shonda’s impact is interwoven into the fabric of thinkspace which is why I’ve decided to create the Shonda Award.

A Heart of Service

Shonda exhibited a heart of service for others. That is something that I value so much in her. Shonda was exceptional in her kindness and ability to create connection. The Shonda Award is being put in place to recognize the employee who embodies her spirit. The peer-to-peer award will be signified by:

  • Magnetic Bucky Balls
  • A cash donation in the employees name to a charity of their choosing
  • A gift card to the employee

Why Magnetic Bucky Balls?

A few years ago Shonda gave me a stocking stuffer, little magnetic ball bearings. The day that Shonda passed I held this little gift in a totally different way. It’s a symbol of friendship to me, it’s something that I keep close to me. It also represents community to me, all these little magnetic balls stuck together!

Donation to a Charity

Shonda has always been about helping others, putting them before herself. I can’t think of a better way to honor Shonda than by donating to a charity.


“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the water slide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” – Tina Fey