As I write this article, I’m enjoying my family in the Colorado mountains. Summit County is the hub for some of the best ski resorts in the country. A week’s vacation is just what the doctor ordered to help me reflect on the past year. “What am I thankful for?” is the question most asked this time of year. So how do I answer? I don’t want to just say the obvious: my wife, children, new granddaughter, the opportunity to work with fascinating coaching clients and more.

While this is all true, it occurred to me also to ask “What obstacles and challenges am I thankful for?” This may sound a little crazy, but our lives and businesses are a reflection of all of our experiences. One of my clients and publisher, Susan Daffron of Logical Expressions, sent me a post on her 25 most thankful things for 2010. I loved the idea of capturing these thoughts and then sharing them.

So, my challenge to you is to create your personal “25 Most Thankful Things” list. Include all of the positives, but also include what is perceived as the negatives. I would ask you to take an additional step. After each entry describe why you are thankful for it. An example of how you can be thankful for a challenging situation is when I was diagnosed with MS. While it wasn’t what I wanted, it has had a profoundly positive outcome. I don’t take life for granted. It gave me the need to create a visioning process that change my life and the lives I touch. I could go on, but you get the idea.

My hope is this: as you experience this Thanksgiving exercise, you will embrace all of the events of the past year as a whole. As you do, you will have a clearer focus of where your next year can take you.