Almost every day my team and I at TransForm are involved with clients solving problems, building relationships, improving performance and helping them achieve their goals. It’s a serious business. I endeavor to point out to leaders, however, that serious does not necessarily equate to being solemn. What is the point of “bottom-line success” if one’s life does not contain a healthy portion of fun, joy and happiness?

Whilst joy and happiness are often spontaneous, we also have the power to access those feelings every day. To do this requires developing a practice of not taking anything, and I mean anything, for granted. The purpose of this practice is to acquire a deep appreciation for what is present in our lives, but to which we pay little attention or thought until, perhaps, we lose it!

This was especially true for me when I was diagnosed with cancer and went through seven weeks of debilitating radiation and chemotherapy. Looking emaciated from significant weight loss, unable to work and often even to get out of bed, my father’s words to all of us growing up rang in my ears, “If you have your health, you can handle anything.” Now, six years later, I am healthy again but every morning when I wake up and realize how good I feel, I assure you those feelings are no longer taken for granted.

In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand years, Donald Miller writes, “If you think about it we get robbed of the mystery of being alive…because we don’t remember how we got here. When you get born you wake up slowly to everything. The experience is so slow, you could easily come to believe that life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. Life IS staggering, and we are just too used to it.”

As we, in the United States prepare for the special holiday of Thanksgiving and consider what it symbolizes, I encourage you, no matter where you are in the world, to reflect on all that you take for granted and consider what life would be like without their presence.

Here is my short list.

I am grateful for my ability to breathe

And the eyes with which I see.

I am grateful that I can hear

And the courage to rise above my fears.

I am grateful that I can walk

And my ability to talk.

I am grateful that I can kneel

And also I can feel.

I am grateful for my spouse

And my warm and cozy house.

I am grateful for my offspring

Whose laughter makes my heart sing.

I am grateful for my friends

Who will be with me to the end.

I am grateful for my health

For within that is my wealth.

Wishing you a thoughtful, reflective and Happy Thanksgiving.

MARK OF AN EAGLE—How Your Life Changes the World is available here, at Amazon or ask your favorite bookstore.

Note: For a copy of my Thanksgiving poem email: