Make This Year—and Every Year—Different

It’s said that this is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s easy to believe, with the change in seasons, the cooler weather, the added spring in people’s steps, and all the food around the office. Actually, it’s pretty hard to be grumpy while eating a good cookie, especially spice cookies if anyone’s taking notes.

This time of year, though, can also be deceivingly difficult. Often disguised by music, food, and the hustle and the bustle are the pressures to be everywhere and do everything at once. It can be overwhelming and for what? Are these things so important that we’re willing to let them sap the joy of seeing the wonder on a child’s face or the smile of the recipient of a kind gesture?

I challenge you to make this year different. Give yourself a little more grace. Allow for the possibility that things might not be perfect and, in a weirdly entropic way, they have their own perfection because of it. Stop and enjoy being in the present–not because it’s perfect, but because it IS.

Take a moment to say “thank you” to anyone … to the barista that makes your coffee, the person that held a door for you, a friend or family member for just being there. Look for ways to give and give back–not because it’s expected but because you want to do it.

In this season of holidays, realize that we all have our faiths, beliefs, traditions and, yes, pressures. But (last time I checked anyway) we’re all humans first. When you take the time to acknowledge or help someone, you create a connection, a spark. And that effort–no matter how small–will change their trajectory for the day and, in turn, of those around them. You see, lasting change rarely comes from huge swings or brash initiatives. It comes from a thousand little pushes, nudging us ever forward and working to make us better.

I want to thank all of you for your support of SMPS and the SMPS Foundation. We’re so much better for it, and we’re committed to being the best we can be. Moreover, I want to thank you for your support of me, my family, and my career. I’ve arrived at this point in life only because of the ways you’ve nudged and influenced me. For all of you, I’m profoundly grateful.

Now where are those cookies?



SMPS Foundation President Brad Thurman, P.E., FSMPS, CPSM, is principal & chief marketing officer at Wallace Engineering in Tulsa, OK. He can be reached at

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