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3 Ways To Be An Eagle, Not A Turkey, This Thanksgiving

11/23/2016 01:24pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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I'm a lover not a fighter. I'm a walker not a runner. I become a better speaker the more I listen. I become a better listener the more I pray.

I'm a unique mix of character traits some expect of me and some are surprised to discover. It's been hard work to learn to bring the best parts of me and to feel safe doing so.

As we enter another Thanksgiving season I'm reminded that many people find it very hard to be themselves in the presence of others who have certain expectations of them. Family and friends want to know the people they love are succeeding, happy and reaching their goals. They want the people they love to achieve in a certain timeframe and within a preconceived norm.

When you are one of the people being focused on it can be a struggle to communicate the success you think they need to hear. The expectations of others can make family and all large gatherings a real headache, including unspeakable stress.

Learn how to communicate with ease (as you are) and you'll be the master of the spaces that once made you uncomfortable.

Know this:

1.) Be grateful for the person you have become.

You have endured and overcome much in your life. You have done it at a pace that aligns with your true nature. In order to move forward feeling good about this, talk to yourself this way. You have more to do and you're aware of that list. Seek safe, loving spaces to continue to do that work.

2.) Be the listener you want to encounter.

Get the focus off you and enter Thanksgiving dinner armed with questions for the people you'll see. You'll likely discover how much people want to be heard in the same way you want to be heard. You may uncover something in common that you never would have found out if you didn't take the time to listen.

3.) Be joyful.

If you took the time to write a list of all the things there are to worry about you could fill many pages. The fact is that those things from the past and the future will not be seated at the Thanksgiving table. People will be seated at the table. Whoever cooks all that food hopes those people will be hungry. ALL the people seated will be relieved to encounter joy. Bring the joy. Be the joy.

You'll surpass the expectations of everyone there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeanne M. Stafford is a professional speaker and communications trainer. Stafford's audiences and clients learn to communicate without a script and think of YES as an improviser does. Jeanne is writing a book about communication techniques she learned through her adventures with Improv, Asperger's and Politics. Sign up for her FREE 30 Days of YES and find out how using YES Words can empower you to possibility. Follow Jeanne on twitter @jeannestafford and visit her website http://jeannemstafford.com