I searched and searched every drawer for a black marker. In my house, markers are like socks. They simply disappear into the abyss… never to be seen again. But, I was determined to find one of what should’ve been dozens of black markers. Instead, I found something else. Something that had not disappeared into the abyss, but from my memory. Even the familiar handwriting on the front of the envelope gave me pause. It read, “To: Nicole… Open on opening day!”
I stared at the sealed envelope and at the handwriting. I had written it, yet I couldn’t remember when or why. I felt like I was in a strange parallel universe. My opening was almost exactly a year ago. I was nearly a year overdue from opening this note… written in my own child-like scrawl.
Slowly, I opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of MY stationary. I still didn’t know what I was about to read. Why couldn’t I remember? I remember nearly everything. I take pride in my ability to remember details – usually useless pieces of history filling every corner of my mind.
I opened the card and read the note. It was dated July 24, 2015… nearly four months before securing the lease for Play, Work or Dash and almost 6 months before my opening. I had written myself words of encouragement and hope. Words of love and support for the dream that was still in the distant future. A goal that up until that day had hit many obstacles.
As I read my note, the feelings flooded back. I had been searching for a location with my amazingly patient realtor Naomi Hattaway. And every time I felt like I found “the one,” I would be denied. The landlord would determine that my proposal was too risky. That I was not backed by enough money. That my business concept was too unknown. I was not yet a successful or proven business person.
I was feeling discouraged and undermined. So, I sat down and wrote words I wanted to say to myself on the day I finally accomplished my goal and opened my doors. I visualized opening my business and put my dream out into the universe. I was manifesting my own destiny. Then I tucked away this little handwritten note into my desk drawer and forgot about it – completely.
I wrote this note to myself after an especially frustrating day and then took the next month off from searching for a location. I temporarily halted my search in order to refocus my energy and recharge my spirit. I spent the rest of the summer enjoying my family. I released the pressure and focused on other priorities. Then after my kids went back to school I decided to put myself and my dream back out there. I decided to try one last time to find a location. I widened my search, kept an open mind, and found the success I was searching for all those months.
Perhaps, this is why when I opened this note I felt breathless for a moment. Yet again, patience and perseverance had paid off.
I opened this little gift from myself and the universe at exactly the right moment. Not on day one like I had originally intended, but instead as I began to close out the first year. As I started to reflect back on what Play, Work or Dash has meant to me personally. What my family and I have sacrificed during this first year. What I hope to do in year two and beyond.
I am grateful for how far I’ve come this year and know that this is only the beginning. I recently shared 6 Lessons I Learned during my first year in business. I’ve also learned another important lesson that goes beyond starting and running a venture. It’s that nothing happens without a belief in not only your dreams, but in yourself. You have to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and believe in you, but you also have to believe in your own ability and treat yourself with love and kindness. You have to look at your most frustrating moments as an opportunity to pivot and grow. That it’s okay to take a beat and regroup. That your hard work and determination will put you on the path you are meant to be on in the first place. This is what I have grown to accept as truth. My truth.
Thank you to every person who supported me in this first year. From my friends (IRL and on Facebook), to my parents and sisters, to my in-laws and amazing support groups (Femworking and Charmed Cardinals), to my customers and incredible staff, to my extremely patient husband and kids. I am where I am because of all of you.
I am ending 2016 with much gratitude and love!
Happy New Year!