This weekend I drove to the middle of nowhere to spend Thanksgiving with some people I love.

Having 12 hours in a car gives you some time to think about things.

Last year around this time we were scraping together $6000.00 for our final payment for our ITNation booth space.  This year we didn’t have to choose our booth space last.  Progress!

Many of our clients are just like us – small businesses who have good months and bad months, win deals they work hard for and lose some of those deals, too. We are closing out our second fiscal year this month. I am thankful today for the clients who signed up first, trusting us with such an important part of their business when all they had to go on was our word that we had come up with an idea and we thought it would work.  I’m thankful for the ones who have stayed with us, helped us get better and introduced their peers to us.  I’m thankful for the lessons we learned as we lost some clients, and I am happy to still call most of those former clients my friends.  Or at least they are still people who would happily have a beer with me when we bump into each other on the road.

I’m thankful for the many champions we have in the channel.  Especially our “road family” that we probably saw more of than our real families this year.  Im thankful for the people who gave us advice, introduced us to their partners, showed us the ropes and treated us to dinner when we were on our shoestring startup budget.  You know who you are, and we’re happy to know you.  And happy to return the favour now that we actually have a budget!

I’m thankful today for our team – especially the first ones in, who took a chance on a company that had zero track record.  I know it’s hard to work for a new and growing company.  Trust me, it’s hard to build one, too.  I’m excited to see how the company will grow next year.  One of my favorite parts of this year was promoting some of our hardest working team members and then watching them get better at their roles.

I’m giving thanks for important stuff today, too – the stuff my year end won’t speak to.  The big stuff – like good health and a safe place to live.  I’m thankful for the chance I had to hire some of the brightest and most dedicated people I know, who just happened to be related to me.  The day my Mom got to stop making her four-hours-a-day commute.  The opportunity for my family to all to spend time doing things together, even if those things are sometimes built around trade shows or budget meetings.

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The day my husband got to quit his job (he liked his job, we just didn’t need him to work anymore).  The stories my kids tell about our summer in New Orleans and meeting Mickey Mouse.

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The days I get to take an extra hour to eat pancakes with my three year old because I can choose when I go in the office.  The day Tracie and I found out we had won our first half-million dollar project and we had to pull the car over and jump up and down and scream.

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Look, it could all be gone tomorrow, but this stuff, these memories — we’ll have this stuff forever.

Going in to year three, this will be a different year for us and for me.  This is the year we bring in the consultants and the advisors.   The realtors (check), the lawyers (check), the accountants (check) and the coaches (check).   Things will change.  I know this, and I’m excited about the future.  And today, on Thanksgiving, while we get ready to close out our year end and bring in experts to help us do things like “increase our margins” and “eliminate redundancies” and “standardize our operating procedures” I just want you all to know it’s been one hell of a ride, I probably wouldn’t do too much of  it differently, and I didn’t take a minute of it for granted.  I am thankful.