As an entrepreneur, I spend a great deal of my time making lists - urgent tasks, longterm goals, agendas for meetings, itineraries for business trips and even the occasional grocery list for someone in my family to pick up on their way home. Perhaps Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make yet one more - a list of gratitude as an entrepreneur. If you are an entrepreneur, yours may look very different than mine - but whatever is on it, I hope you find the process of making one as rewarding as it has been for me.
My Entrepreneur List of Gratitude
1. I am grateful for rock-solid cofounders who are reliable, trustworthy and among the most talented in the industry.
2. I'm thankful for team members who are willing to stretch job descriptions and skill sets to do what is needed instead of only what is expected.
3. I'm grateful for the chance to work with clients who want to leave the world a better place, who want their time and effort within their role to count for something worthwhile, whose motives are focused on helping others, not leaving a name for themselves.
4. I am ever so grateful for a Chairman of the Board whose experience and wisdom has often been the key to making the better decision in the midst of accomplishment or struggle, who has been willing to take a call whenever needed, and who is faithful in reminding me of my own humanity and that my value to our team does not lie in any superhuman ability to achieve perfection but in my willingness to remain humble, passionate, loyal, committed and accessible to our team.
5. I am grateful for each and every investor who has looked first for any possible path to yes instead of the quickest path to no, whose investment has provided vital runway to achieve what looked impossible until it wasn't because of their financial commitment to our startup.
6. I am grateful for friends who have cheered me on, even when the demands of growing a business resulted in less time and attention to our friendship.
7. I am grateful for parents who believed in me - not just in words but in actions, helping through the difficult days and becoming our company's first investors.
8. I am grateful for a family who has so willingly adapted to our ever-changing dynamic because of the demands of growing a business, who have remained supportive despite these changes often resulting in heavier responsibilities to fill the gaps in keeping our household going.
9. I am grateful for mentors who believed in my own potential even when I didn't - and helped me overcome the barriers that held me back from learning how to lead effectively.
10. I am thankful for the difficult times that tested our team, helped us learn to trust each other and lean on each other.
11. I am thankful for the sleepless nights when I wasn't sure what the right step was, what would lead us forward and what might lead to catastrophe - because those moments help remind me that this isn't a gamble, a game of odds but a quest to create something from nothing that will adversely or positively affect many lives and, thus, deserves to be treated as such.
12. I feel so very lucky to witness the impact that our efforts have had on the lives of others and to be given the chance to continue to move forward to help others, empower others through the technology our team has created.
As an entrepreneur, I am thankful for the privilege of spending my days witnessing the growth of "what if" into "what is".