The Perfect Thanksgiving List

In America it is Thanksgiving week. Thursday and Friday will be full of all types of festivities and food – mainly food.

One way to make your Thanksgiving even more special would be to create the perfect Thanksgiving List, which is very different than a Christmas List. A Thanksgiving list is not about what gifts you want or plan to give, but rather words of gratefulness that you might have for someone special in your life.

The list is simple. Think of someone you appreciate and write their name down. Add a dash next to their name and then a summary of what you want to write.

The next obvious thing would be to tell them what you wrote down whether face-to-face, in a letter or email or in some other creative way, such as a video or video call. Give it all you have got. Go deep. Don’t stand in the two feet water of general thoughts, but go for the right words that truly mean what you feel.

Let me show you part of my list, which will give away some of my surprise, but may help you with yours. I’ve simply written a name and the intentional idea I have to encourage and thank them.

The Perfect Thanksgiving List (not in any order)

Kelly (my bride) – Thanks for following me around the world and for putting up w all my entrepreneurial ventures w vigor and joy. Let her know how much I value her partnership.

Kids – Let them know how proud I am of them and what I see in them. Maybe use Thanksgiving day to pull them away one by one to share.

Steve Cockram/Cockram family – Discuss the past two years and let him know how grateful I am.

Mike & Kianna – Use Facetime; Tell them your thoughts about the next season.

Key English Friends – Use Thanksgiving as a way to say thanks for all they have done for us over this period.

God – Spend some time Thursday morning just thanking him for all he has done.

Business Partners – Always a good time to let them know what you are grateful for.

GiANT’s – Just let them all know how grateful you are for their hard work!

Larry – Tell him how much those books he gave you have meant to you.

And so on. I have about 10 more people, but you get the gist.

Create a Perfect Thanksgiving List. Don’t miss the chance to bless someone. You have been given a softball to hit here with this great holiday.

And then this. Men, if you are gathering your family over the holiday, be a man and stand up and tell everyone at the table how much you appreciate them and simply offer a prayer of thanks with meaning (not the blah words that most say). Some people will be shocked, but stay the course. Do it. Trust me.  Set the tone for the family on Thursday.

And to all of you readers, Thank You! Thank you for encouraging me back via emails and calls when you have been encouraged.

My family and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in England again this year. Our last week here and I am truly grateful for our experience, these people and for the freedom that we all celebrate. May we not take that for granted whether in England or America.

For you always,



The Next Transition

Life is a series of seasons. Transitions are the key to fully enjoying the next season.

If you have been reading my blog or receiving emails for some time you will know that 2 years ago my family and I began a transition to an overseas adventure. Our planning started the fall of 2012 as we began to seriously consider boarding a Delta flight to London for adventure, business growth and personal recuperation. All of which has happened in abundance since then.

Today, I am officially announcing our next season as we transition back to the United States for the remainder of our kids high school years. On December 1st we will board another Delta flight (they have received a lot of business from us btw) from London back to Atlanta, but only for a week. We are picking up the small belongings we have left and will travel back to the great state of Oklahoma – our home.

It has been almost a decade since we left Oklahoma for the trees of Atlanta and then the ambience of England. The choice to move back to Oklahoma was actually one that I gave to my wife and kids. Because our work at GiANT Worldwide is global and decentralized, I have the privilege of living and working from anywhere. The choices I gave were Denver, Nashville, Washington DC, OKC or Atlanta. The overwhelming choice was Oklahoma City.

Why OKC over all of the other locations?

1. It’s Home.

2. My family wanted to be there.  I want them to be where they want to be.

3. We have great family and friends there.

4. We have GiANT offices and partners in OKC (GiANT Partners, GiANT Capital, GiANT Experiences)

5. It is in the center of the US. With the growth of GiANT Worldwide it works well to be in the center of the US as we build out the West and East Coasts.

6. OKC has got some things going for it. I am not sure you are aware but the cost of living couple with the urban growth and experience has OKC trending in the right direction. It doesn’t hurt that business is moving there, the OKC Thunder have a good history and the downtown build out is winning awards.

7. The people are great. After living in other cities and visiting hundreds of others a year I must say the people of Oklahoma are amazing.

That means I will put up with the wind, the tornadoes and the long distances from beaches and mountains in order to be in a place where my family and I will thrive in relationships.

We are in the midst of transition right now as the moving company is at Hedsor Priory right now packing the few things that we are taking to America. And I am in the midst of transitioning from this soil to the next soil as we focus on blooming where we will be planted.

We will always be grateful for our time here in the UK (future post of gratitude coming). We have grown so much and hopefully we have blessed many along the way. With only 5 years until we are empty nesters it is important that this next season is about high school and about our family. For that, the transition is worth it.

Here is to the next season!

How To Make Good Decisions That Lead to Great Success

What choices will you make this week that have long-term ramifications on the trajectory of your life?

What decisions will be made this week, albeit small, may start a ripple affect that affect your life in the future?

Decisions are a gift. Prisoners, for instance, have had their decision privileges taken away. They cannot decide what to eat, when to eat, where to go on and so on. Thankfully, most of us are free to make any decisions we please, but if we are not careful we can become lazy in our decision making or paralyzed by them as well.

In life there are small, medium and large decisions.

  • Small Decisions – What should I have for lunch today? What should I wear? Do we want to go see a movie? and so on.
  • Medium Decisions - What type of car should I buy? Should I join this association/club? Should our kids go on that gap year program? and the like.
  • Large Decisions - Should we move to a new city? Should I take this job? Which University should I choose? and the list goes on.

Each decision is a choice. Thankfully, most of us have the ability to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Each choice leads to a decision that carries its own weight for the rest of our life. Here are some examples:

1. Each of us can choose where to eat and what to eat. This is a small decision in our life. Yet, over time those small choices have major ramifications to the health of an individual. One leader I once worked with shared with me that he chose to have a bowl of ice cream every night before he went to bed – 30 years of ice cream, every night! He is now battling high blood pressure and is overweight. His small decisions created a tsunami of health issues that are now affecting the rest of his life. Poor, small decisions everyday can lead to big decisions in the near future.

2. I am a big believer that our moral compasses are influenced by the people we associate with as friends and the access to vices that undermine our lives. A couple wanted to be influencers and chose to become a part of a country club that was full of high profile people. Their decision led them to overbuy, overspend and eventually lose what they had and tarnish their reputation to the very people they wanted to hear accolades from in the midst of their bankruptcy. Their lifestyle decision led them to make a number of medium choices with the implications leading to poor financial choices and eventually their financial downfall.

3. Sometimes large decisions are easier to make. However, there are some personalities that are so afraid of making a big decision that they choose to stay in their current roles and continue to make small to medium decisions. Thus, a person’s dreams can stay dreams and never make it to reality by the sheer fear of making a bad decision.

We are in the middle of making some large decisions, medium decisions and a plethora (yes, I was able to use that word) of small decisions in this season of life.

Large Decision – We have chosen to move back to our home city – Oklahoma City from London, England.

  • This decision will affect where our kids go to school, most likely college and could impact who they marry and what they do for the rest of their lives.
  • We are choosing to move back to where we founded GiANT and have many great friendships, partnerships and family all of which affect the rest of our life.
  • We are choosing to also get involved in a real estate development that creates a unique type of living experience to a beautiful area of the city – a risk in and of itself.
  • This decision has weight to the rest of our life. We will see if we can oversee a global company from a landlocked State.

Medium Decisions – We are choosing what types of vehicles we want, what type of church we will establish or be a part of and what type of school our kids will go to. For some people, these medium decisions can feel like large ones by the way.

Small Decisions – Which cell phone service should we go with? Should we ship our beds or buy new ones? How are we going to eat, socialize, etc in a new/old city?

All of these decisions affect the trajectory of life. Therefore, here is what I believe is vital in helping us make the decisions that affect our lives.

It is the intent and motive of the soul that will affect the outcome of your choice. If your motive is for the greater good then your decisions will tend to be good and the outcome the same. If your choices are motivated by fear, insecurity or the seeking of power then your decisions will tend to lead to consequences that hurt others and eventually lead to your demise. 

To teenagers I often quote this little piece of wisdom.

Bad Friends. Bad Choices. Bad Consequences. Bad Life.

Good Friends. Good Choices. Good Consequences. Good Life.

The same can be said of adults. When we anchor our decisions on what is best for all involved, get good counsel from those we trust and feel at peace personally than good results tend to follow.

  • Check your motives
  • Double check the friends or family influence around you
  • Pray through your decisions
  • Get good counsel
  • Agree wholeheartedly with your spouse, if married
  • Trust you have made the right decisions and move forward.

Whether you are making small, medium or large decisions, center yourself on making the right choices for the greater good and watch how your decisions will lead to good results that ultimately lead to great success.



Are You a Moody Leader?

If you asked me if I was moody, I would say yes. My wife doesn’t think I am, nor most of the people around me, but I know what is in my mind and heart, hourly. And yet, my mood swings show less and less as time goes by.

I have noticed that leaders in their 20’s and 30’s tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves a bit more than older leaders. Maybe the older leaders realize that it doesn’t get them anywhere OR maybe they simply have matured past the point of caring about things that once took center stage.

Are you a moody leader?

  • Do you allow a negative email to throw you off your entire day?
  • Will your emotions fluctuate between high and low on a weekly basis?
  • Can a comment made in jest become an insult to the highest degree?
  • Do people think you are defensive? Are you?

Moodiness to me is a symptom of insecurity and a response to the feelings that things are not right or people are not pleased and so on.

On the outside I am much less moody in this season, but on the inside I can still feel disappointment or frustration when things aren’t like I hope or concern when a negative comment comes my way. And, at times, I let those things affect me, letting circumstances blow me to and fro.

The best leaders settle down into their groove of confidence, based on security. Winds blow and circumstances change, but the grounded, mature leader takes the hit and positions themselves correctly to absorb it and keep on leading, knowing that the winds will blow back in the positive direction.

Steady is a word I hope to possess one day. Grounded, mature, and secure. Not letting circumstances ruin the day or change my mood. When that occurs then you have just given yourself a gift and quite possibly a present to every person in your life as well.

Little Big Things

A small word can make a big impact, when authentic.

One right word can replace ten vague words.

Language has power, when we work hard to define the glossary.

Abstract words can cause lack of clarity without time to explain.

Concrete words can cause harm if said in harsh tones.

Knowing which words to speak at the right time and place can make the difference on influence, movement and charm.

A small word, spoken in the right way, at the right time, can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Watch your words and your influence will soar.


What % Are You?

Do you have those days when you are just excited? The times when you look at things around you and you can feel the momentum, see the influence you are having and know that you are in the right spot in your work and life?


Do you have those days where you feel like the color grey represents you well? Nothing is humming along in perfect sync and your boss threw a pile of work on you while your home life is more in survival mode than thriving mode?


Are you simply in the middle of this spectrum? Life is not bad, but it has been awhile since you have called it “thrilling”. You get up, go to work, do your job, come home, do your tasks and maybe get to watch a favorite TV show.

Which one are you?

Which one of these is your spouse resonating with?

How about your teammates?

If you want to come alive then you must understand what being alive looks like and readjust your world to that.

At GiANT we use a tool called the Peace Index that helps people understand what percentage of alive they are. The instructions are simple.

1. List the % (1-100) of how at peace you feel in each category:

+ Purpose: Your calling in Life, what you do and who you are in what you do.

+ People: Those individuals or groups that are in your life, such as family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

+ Place: Where you live and work. Your home and your office and your city and state and so on.

For instance I am at 85% with Purpose, 93% with People and 83% with Place. What are you percentages?

2. List the Priority of each one. For me, Purpose is 1st, People are 2nd and Place is 3rd. For others, it might be in reverse.

3. Aggregate the totals and divide by 3 for your Peace Index %.  For those who really like to get into % you will need to weight your top priority a bit heavier and your third category a bit lighter to give more accuracy. For example, if I am at a 60% with Purpose, which is my number 1, but 80% with place, which is my number 3, then I will need to weight the number more appropriately.

4. Make your plans. Where do you need to grow? Is there something in one category that is keeping you from being the best you can be at this season.

This is one helpful tool you can use as you become a leader worth following.


* Thanks for Frog Orr-Ewing for this concept!