03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Thanksgiving: Pay it Forward

Yes, officially I've used Pay it Forward already, kind of, in the piece on the Starbucks coffee line back in May of this year, but this is different. By the way, one site picked up that 'Paying it Behind' theme and it got 1,300 hits and I got a lot of contact directly from people who were 'treated' along the way. My wife even got a cup of coffee out of it, too, but so far I'm still waiting for my turn.

This piece is a little different, though, and it is timely due to the coming holiday of Thanksgiving. There are a lot of great ideas about how to be grateful, thankful and enjoy this holiday to the fullest. One of my favorite posts so far was last week by my friend and colleague, Dr. Judith Rich, and if you haven't read it yet, go ahead: I'll wait.

If you've read it, let's continue.

Last Thanksgiving I created a new pre-dinner ritual and it created a bit of a stir but also a lot of thought and success. I haven't seen anyone else writing about it so I'll share it here and hope it profits you.

Before our meal last year I asked everyone to share what they were thankful for during the meal, including any thanks they had for any member of the dinner party. But before thanking anyone for the past year's events I invited everyone to 'pay it forward' by looking into this Thanksgiving. In other words in 2008, we were looking into 2009.

I asked our guests to consider what they would be thankful for in a year; what would be an accomplishment that they would have achieved, by being committed and taking intentional actions for the whole year. We were, in a sense, looking into our crystal balls and seeing what we would accomplish.

It was very interesting to hear each person share what they were committed to, what they would be looking back on with pride this year and envisioning the year they would have. The energy around it was great and it created a lot of support and encouragement for the coming months.

The 'stir' it caused was that some of the people at the table had conflicting goals for each other. 'If that's your goal, what about the goal we have together?' came up after the fact. That's a possible consequence to take into consideration but it is why we need to speak our goals out loud.

Speaking goals out loud starts the process of 'making them real', as people do with 'declarations' and as part of 'success teams' or even setting business or sales goals at corporate retreats. Speaking them out also engages others who might be able to support you or encourage you along the way.

Speaking them out loud also can be the 'line in the sand' that helps you get out of your head and into action. The 'great ideas with no action' syndrome is so prevalent that any support or 'kick start' you can get will help along the way.

So here is my Thanksgiving challenge to all of you: What is it that you will be looking back at during Thanksgiving 2010 and saying 'thanks for'? What will you have created or achieved, what personal growth or new way of being will you be celebrating and giving thanks for in 2010 and sharing with your friends and family as what you are thankful for?

Many of our dinner guests this Thanksgiving were with us last year and this Thursday we'll check in on what they said then and how that worked out for them. We'll also be creating new 'Thanks-giving' opportunities for the year ahead.

I invite you all to create this 'thankful future', for yourself and for those you share Thanksgiving with this year. Please share your ideas and predictions here as a comment or meet and discuss with others on a forum called 'Thanks-giving 2010' at Let's create a 'virtual feast' of great things in the year to come and move powerfully into what could be for all of us and the rest of the world.

Thanks and blessings to all of you and all of yours.