Despite the bad economy, we still have a lot to be thankful for.

Despite the bad economy and its impact on our businesses, as well as all of the negative news that has surrounded us this year, we still have a lot to be thankful for.

Last year I wrote a list of 88 people and things that I am thankful for. It was amazing how quickly it put me in a positive mood. Try it.

  As bad as it may seem at times, we have a better life than the majority of people in the rest of the world. We have plentiful food and clean water. We have decent housing. Even our worst housing is better than some housing in the rest of the world.

  The intangibles: We have the opportunity to take risks, to succeed - and fail at times. Even when we fail we get the opportunity to try again. It is important to remember to give thanks for these important freedoms.

  We have many, many freedoms as Americans that we don't necessarily think about. We easily get to visit most foreign countries. We don't need government permission to travel. We have the freedom and transportation to come and go as we please. We have the freedom to succeed and fail. Not everyone has that luxury.

  Since this is Thanksgiving week, I also want to thank you for reading my columns over the years. With the exception of one week where our computers crashed several years ago, I've written this column every week since June 1999. Hopefully you've gained insight and ideas that will help you be more profitable, take better care of your customers, and achieve the goals that you've wanted to achieve.

I appreciate and read every one of your comments, even when you present a different point of view. I usually share those so that everyone can see there is no one right way to grow a business.

  So, as we sit down for Thanksgiving, let's be thankful for everything that we have from a business and personal standpoint. I don't know your personal desires and those you need to thank personally. From the business standpoint we should say thank you to: 

Our employees. Customers do write our paychecks. However, it is the people that you work with - and I do mean with you rather than for you - that make it possible for the customers to write checks to you. They are your internal customers without whom you could not survive. Say thank you to them.

Our customers. Yes, it is the customers who write our paychecks. And, customers should get, and many expect, a thank you note when you do work for them. Most are very appreciative of what you are doing for them; especially when you solve a comfort problem in their home. Occasionally we have a customer whom we have to fire - but those are few and far between.

Give thanks to God. This is the one time of year that I bring my religious beliefs into my columns. I apologize if I offend any of you. Some days when "Murphy" decides that he is going to win and we can't wait until the day is over, we wonder why we are in this business (me included). Everything that happens is a lesson that we need to learn. However, on most days we enjoy what we do. We are doing good things for our customers, our employees and our communities.

  Feel good about it and give thanks to God for all He has given us -the good, the challenging, and the ability to learn and grow from the trials and tribulations we experience personally and professionally.

  My thanks to all of you. Have a great Turkey Day!