Thanksgiving Message Part 2: Changing an O to an E Can Solve So Much

On a personal note, I want to share a quick story on how changing an “O” to and “E” can solve so much so quickly. I am lucky enough to have had Thanksgiving dinner this year with my Mom (80 yrs.) and Dad (86 yrs.), as well as others I Iove and cherish. Like many of us here in the Northwest, I am a proud 12th Man, as I declared the day we moved here over 12 years ago. One thing we enjoy doing in my family is watching the Seahawks game. It’s typical for me to prioritize and schedule free time so that I can watch and enjoy the Seahawks with my family minus any interruptions. This game was something that was included in our Thanksgiving Day planning.

As we approached Thanksgiving Day, I received a call from my brother-in-law. He and his family of five were to be guests for our Thanksgiving Day festivities. He called to let me know they could not arrive until 5:30pm. I gracefully said this was no problem. When my wife, Eden, and I talked after this call, the initial thought in my mind was how much thought, time and planning had went into preparing what I thought was to be the perfect Thanksgiving Day for our friends and family.  I pictured our plan of the mid-to-late afternoon Thanksgiving meal, followed by all of us gathering together to watch the Seahawks. In my mind, I saw all of these plans for a once seemingly perfect day unraveling. From all the timing needed to prep, cook, clean up and all the things leading up to, during and after the meal (I am a planner after all <smile>), all would now need to take a 3 hour shift. Uggh! My initial focus directly after that call was the collision of game kick-off time vs. the time to sit everyone at the table to start our Thanksgiving Day meal. Sitting down for the meal and each of us expressing our gratitude is a tradition for our family I did not want to see interrupted. Now, I saw these two important events colliding in my mind. Admittedly, I was not very happy about this sudden change in plans.

I almost said to Eden, ”Now I have got to miss the kick-off and first half of the game, and rearrange the whole day”.  Instead, I looked in my tool box (stored in my mind) and I pulled out a “E” and replaced the “O”. It came out like this, ”Now I get to miss the kick-off and first half of the game and rearrange the whole day”. As a result of this later dinner start, not only did we miss very little of the game (we received regular updates by volunteers who visited the TV in the other room), but due to the change, we had a bonus 2 hour family Scrabble game mid-afternoon, where we all enjoyed each other’s company.

This unexpected change in plans due to the 11th hour change in arrival time of some of our guests resulted in a bonus of even more close, quality family time for all of us, which is the real priority for our family on Thanksgiving Day. Just proving once more that it is not the events in our lives that shape the outcome (mathematically expressed E≠O). It is our response to the events in our lives that create the outcome (mathematically expressed E+R=O). This is a great formula that has served me well.

At another time earlier in my life, when I had less experience and knowledge, this event (Seahawks conflicting with Thanksgiving dinner) could have turned into a challenging Thanksgiving Day experience. I am grateful to have been exposed to so many tools in living life in my aggressive pursuit of continued learning. I have my clients and the profession I have chosen to thank for this. I have found that in my desire to gain knowledge to serve my clients, I can put these same tools to work in my own family.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to be of service as I reflect on this very special time of year. And don’t forget, we all get to change a lot by changing one letter… go from an O to and E the next time you “have got to do something”, frame it as you “get to do something” and my belief (from experience) is that your (response to) outcomes will likely improve dramatically. Again, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

With Gratitude,



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