Gratitude and Growth

Let's face it, growth can be scary. Whether that is personal or professional, it isn't always easy. 2018 has been a year of growth for me, and as I reflect on it, it brings me a flood of emotions: happy, sad, anxious, proud, the list goes on.

Professionally. The start of this year found me in a very toxic job, I was unhappy and disconnected. I woke up every morning with an anxious stomach and heavy heart. Fast forward to February, one evening I was searching for opportunities online and stumbled across Brand Yourself. The website, the culture, the location, it all spoke to me. They didn’t have any openings listed on their website, but something told me to take a chance and send an email. The next day I received a response from Tami:

"Wow! Talk about crazy coincidences (although I do not believe in coincidence)! I’m not sure what made you email me today – but this is what I spent my morning putting together. Did someone tell you I was hiring? Take a peek at the job opening and let me know if you’d like to meet."

If you would've put side by side my experience and interests along with what she sent me, it couldn't have been more meant to be. Of course, the rest is history! This is one of my favorite stories to tell as the Director of Storytelling here at Brand Yourself. I didn't know much I needed someone like Tami in my life until I met her. I now wake up each morning feeling empowered, trusted, important, excited, I could go on and on.

Personally. This year has also been a year of growth for me personally. Right around the time I started at Brand Yourself, we learned that my sister-in-law would be heading over seas this fall for her third tour with the MN Army National Guard. I have been a part of the family for almost ten years, she came home from her last tour right around the time I first met my husband, so I have never been through a deployment. This one was also difficult for our family as she was leaving behind her husband and my niece for almost a year.

I don't know how to describe how I feel other than it is an odd mixture of proud, happy, and sad. We all have had to step up as a family and really come together to support each other during this time. We miss her every single day, but are so damn proud of her. Technology has changed so much since she last went that at least now we can share pictures and chat when possible.

My niece just turned five, and she is a vibrant and spunky kid. She doesn't miss a beat, and is very aware of what is going on around her. She understands that there is only one of each holiday without her mom until she comes home. Her dad has been incredible, and we love our time with her as well! Growing into the role of aunt and uncle has been so fun for us, and because of Brand Yourself and our value of family first, I have been able to really be involved in her life and help out whenever needed.

Amidst all of this, we also got engaged. We knew we wanted our entire family present and decided to have a small intimate ceremony at sunset in our backyard behind the house we built from the ground up. Immediate family was present and my sister-in-law and her husband stood up for us. It was the most magical time of our lives full of love and laughter!

Our little family also experienced growth this year. In May we brought home a new puppy named Leo who is the half brother to our other dog Trax, they are both mini Australian shepherds. Leo was not an easy puppy, he howled like a coon dog anytime we tried to leave or place him in his kennel. Sleep was non-existent, and we were so tired. Shortly after bringing Leo home, I hopped on a plane and flew to California for two weeks to stay with my cousins children while they took a much need anniversary trip. While I was away, I struggled with anxiety and begin homesick. Not to mention my husband was at home at his wits end with a new puppy and no sleep while I went from being responsible for zero kids, to being responsible for four kids. I was able to work remote on my trip and it grounded me. I love what I do everyday and being able plug into work really helped me overcome some of those anxious feelings I was having. It made me feel whole.

Conclusion. Someone once told me that you should love what you do so much that you are willing to do it and not get paid for it. While we all need to make a living, I finally understand what he meant. To be able to say I truly love what I do is a huge blessing. There is never a dull day in what we do, from social media to branding to inbound marketing, I am constantly learning and growing. Reflecting on 2018, and looking forward to 2019, I will forever be grateful for: Brand Yourself, my team, my family, and the opportunities to grow presented to me through many different ways.

Bring it on 2019, I'm ready for you!