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'Find a way to support them by attending their events, hiring their employees and holiday shopping in their stores.'

Not surprisingly, November is National Gratitude Month.

Though it can be hard to break away from the hustle and bustle of the season, taking time to ponder and consider what's important and meaningful in our lives is a healthy exercise. Most people can usually find blessings for which they're thankful regardless of where they fall across the broad spectrum of circumstances and challenges that accompany life. The bigger question for each of us is how does this acknowledgement change our behavior and attitudes, if at all?

In contemplating this question, I can't help but think of a story told by Patrick H. McGaughey, an international business speaker with a background in broadcasting and business association management. He was once expressing his reluctance to attend yet another social networking event to someone who seemed to attend all of them. He asked about her motivation and her answer surprised him.

"I come for the success of others," she said. "When you hold a party it's a horrible, sometimes crushing blow, when no one comes."

Undoubtedly, she feels blessed in life and she wants to support others in their ambitions. Her attendance wasn't about making the next business deal. It wasn't about finding the next job. It wasn't about partaking of the tasty food and beverages being served. It was about contributing to and celebrating the success of others.

A true demonstration of gratitude if there ever was one!

The ironic reality is that she probably ends up receiving the most out of her attendance. Bestselling author Bob Burg said, "The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own."

The goals of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce include convening leaders and influencers, being a catalyst for business growth, and championing the community. Often, we work to accomplish these goals through networking functions and supporting our members at their events. October was a busy month of such activities.

We celebrated Women's Health Month with Club Pilates' National Open House, The Ackerly at Sherwood's grand opening, networking events at Nature's Pet Market Sherwood and Tri-County Gun Club, ribbon cuttings at Langer's Entertainment Center and Starbucks, an anniversary celebration at Sherwood Aesthetic Medicine, an open house for The Springs at Sherwood, and the YMCA's Harvest Fest. Thank you to the residents, business leaders, and city officials who participate in these various functions.

Shopping local is critical to the success of our Sherwood businesses, most of which have ownership or employee ties to the people around us, including our neighbors, teachers, fellow parishioners at church, sports coaches, art instructors and music directors. If you feel a sense of gratitude for any of these and other people you associate with, find out their connections to Sherwood businesses and find a way to support them by attending their events, hiring their employees and holiday shopping in their stores.

We all have many reasons to skip events or shop online, but please don't neglect the real reason to go or shop locally — "for the success of others."

Be local. Shop local. Happy National Gratitude Month!

Corey Kearsley is executive director of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.


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