This Thanksgiving, Entrepreneurs Should Focus On Gratitude

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, but not because it is the only day where it is socially acceptable to gorge myself on turkey (which, in my opinion, is a highly under-appreciated meat, but I digress.)

I love Thanksgiving because it forces me to take the time to reflect on the past year and the people and experiences that shaped it.

Entrepreneurship is an amazing journey, full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s such a rapid-fire experience that sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.

There is so much value to be found in the totality of the experience, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to stop and take a moment to be thankful. It’s become a Thanksgiving tradition for me to share the things that I’m grateful for and thank the people who have made everything possible.

Thanks to the person who made it possible

BodeTree would never exist if it weren’t for my co-founder, Matt Ankrum. Matt was my boss at my former job when I developed the idea for BodeTree.

Matt not only nurtured the idea, but he also backed it financially and quit his top-level executive position at a Fortune 500 company to work alongside me to turn the idea into a reality. It was a risk, and a sacrifice for him and his entire family, and the gravity of his decision isn’t lost on me.

To Matt and his entire family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You changed my life for the better and I cannot thank you enough.

Thanks to my team, who pour their hearts and souls into our company

If I’ve learned anything over the past seven years of running BodeTree it is that business is about people. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for entrepreneurs to lose perspective of this and focus their efforts on function, rather than substance.

Everything inside of an organization, whether it is sales, marketing, or product development, starts and ends with people. Good leaders recognize this and allow the passions, perspectives, and voice of their team to permeate every aspect of the business.

I’ve been blessed with a fantastic team who pours their heart and soul into making BodeTree a success. Sure, we have our challenges and opportunities for growth, but at the end of the day, I’m extremely proud of the work they do and the dedication they show day in and day out.

To my team: Thank you for everything you do, from the bottom of my heart. Your grit, humor, and creativity are a source of constant amazement and inspiration for me. BodeTree simply wouldn’t exist without you, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thanks to the people who have stuck by me 

Every new venture goes through “valleys of death” at different points in time, where things look bleak, and you’re tempted just to give up. I've experienced those moments more times than I care to remember.

When I experienced those moments, my wife and family were always at my side to keep me going. As hard as startup life can be for entrepreneurs, it’s just as hard for the people closest to them.

My wife has stuck by me through thick and thin, offering support when I make bad decisions or experience painful consequences.  If work-life balance exists, it’s a mystery to me.

My family has always been there to keep me going and remind me to focus on the things that are really important. To my entire family, I couldn’t be more grateful for you and your endless support.

Thanks to the challenges, hiccups, and hard-knocks

When you own your company, everything is a learning experience. You learn from the good and the bad, the exhilarating and the terrifying. It’s all too easy to fear failure and agonize over the challenges you face along your journey.

Entrepreneurs must remember that even the most terrible of failures have value. They make you stronger, test your grit, and build character. Be thankful for the anxiety, stress, and long hours.

Even if your venture fails in a spectacular fashion, you’ll walk away from it a stronger person better prepared for the next phase of your life. When it comes to difficulties and challenges, have the wisdom to be grateful for what you learn.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a solo journey. It takes partners, catalysts, and support networks to be a success.

On this Thanksgiving, I encourage every leader or entrepreneur to take a few moments today and reach out to the people that have made your life possible and tell them how much you appreciate them. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Chris Myers

Written by Chris Myers

Chris Myers is the Cofounder and CEO of BodeTree and a Partner at BT Ventures. He is also a columnist for Forbes Magazine and a regular contributor for MSNBC.