I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I love this holiday because it’s all about gathering with the ones we love most. And while it was challenging this year–for all of us–I found myself especially grateful for the new connections I’ve made and for the deepening connections resulting from really getting to know people, even those I thought I knew so well.

So on that note, here are tidbits that got my attention over the last two weeks and helped me appreciate someone or something in new ways that I want to share with you today:

  • Nine Nonobvious Ways to have Deeper Conversations by David Brooks couldn’t be more timely. Brooks provides a tip, such as “treat attention as all or nothing” and then shares thoughts on that from an expert (in that case, thoughts from Kate Murphy, author of “You’re Not Listening”). 9, count ‘em, 9. Each one a gem. Go ahead, check them out, I’ll still be here…
  • This one is sad, but of course it made me think of all the pioneering work he did to improve customer service through employee enrichment. Tony Hsieh, retired CEO of Zappos, passed away this past weekend. Are you familiar with his work? This news story contains links to some of the concepts he pioneered. And like all great innovators, he learned to pivot from what didn’t work to create lasting successes for others to build on.
  • I am really enjoying The Dan Nestle Show podcasts. The one with Bill Harper, CEO of wmHarper, really resonated—it was so good I was disappointed when it ended! I especially enjoy the way Harper talks about what he is doing with his company, the kind of support he provides employees, and what he expects from them in return. I also like that he says his agency isn’t for everyone and sometimes people aren’t happy when they leave, but he doesn’t let that dissuade him from focusing on making it work for those that really commit. I’m with him on those notes, they really resonated! Find the Dan Nestle podcasts here, they’re consistently good listens.

Do Good Spotlight: Giving Friends

For the 23rd year, Giving Friends, a 501c3 nonprofit, is running its annual toy drive. This organizations provides Christmas gifts to children of vulnerable families living in NYC recovery-based housing, shelters, and other underserved communities. The founder, Lynne Corry, began the toy drive when she was homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. She and her infant son lived in a residential home for women in recovery and their young children. Via a link to the charity’s page on Target.com, you can select a gift that will be delivered to a child to help them feel the love in the world. We donated and you can too. You can donate to the organization, learn more here. Or you can purchase toys via Target, here’s that link.

Special shout out to long-time DBE/Owlthena friend Jim Siegel for telling us about this organization!

Bonus Story: Want some instant happiness? Here’s a list of songs scientists say make you happy. Try it, what have you got to lose? I’m walking on sunshine…

…and wishing you a great rest of the week!