New Chapter

Wow. The end of an age.
I like to think I have it all together. You know, like I have all my emotions in check…

Well this week proved me humbly wrong.

I know in my heart that every ending is a new beginning, but that doesn’t make this ending any easier.

In this life we cross paths with people who leave a lasting impression on us forever. Some, more than others, but every one of them special in their own rite.

And today, I said good-bye to just such people.

My heart breaks, not because it is truly good-bye, but rather because I am so thankful to have grown so close to them.

Over my time on this earth, I have worked many places and several times those I worked with grew to be family, but no place helped me grow in the way that SP did.

When I started, I was a little insecure and a bit unsure of the life ahead of me.

I seemed to be fighting against myself, hindering my own potential to reach for what I really wanted in life.

But a very special person saw me, not for who I was, but for who I could be. She planted a seed and continued to water it year after year until it became the person I am today.

She believed in me from the very beginning, even when I questioned myself. I am a completely different person now because of her and everyone who stood beside me over all these years.

Everything is changing now, for all of us.  And, as cheesy as it sounds, we will always have the memories of the time we shared.  I think all of our lives are richer now having met, I know mine is.

And it wasn’t just my co-workers, who helped me grow. It was our customers and partners. They have shown me what it truly feels like to be appreciated, valued, trusted and respected.

Things I now understand to be the foundation for the road ahead. A road I could not have seen 4 years ago or even 4 months ago for that matter.

Several years ago, my friend, Will, taught me something very important. When he moved to SC, he asked me to do one thing for him…

Learn to take a compliment.

As he pointed out (and he was right), every time he complimented me on anything, I always found a way to thankfully dismiss it.

That is when I realized that because I was always taught to be humble, I, for some reason took that to mean you should never acknowledge your positive attributes for fear that you will come across as bragging or being over confident.

So instead, I thankfully dismissed any reassurance I was given and as a result, I kept myself from looking any further than what was right in front of me.

My time at SP changed all that.

For once, I felt like I held a key role in a progressive company that valued it’s employees. It was an environment like none other I had ever experienced. Fun and energetic, yet laid back at the same time…if that makes sense.

I loved going to work every day and that is something I think everyone would agree is rare.

Over the course of several years I built relationships that I am beyond thankful for.

And I will never forget the conference, when one of our partners gave me a shout out that was then followed by applause and everyone looking in my direction. I remember being so embarrassed, but when I look back on it now, all I feel is joy.

No one has ever honored me like that. I mean, there I was in a room with the CEO & VP’s on stage and our partners in the audience, all clapping for me.

Talk about a humbling experience.

It was all I could do not to cry, so instead, I turned bright red! Of’course!

It was one of those moments that take your breath away.

Sure I wasn’t saving lives, but in some way I had made an impact on their lives and their businesses.

It really meant something to me. And ultimately, it changed me.

A room full of people saw in me what I could not see in myself.

And after, there was a line to see me, not because they needed something, but because they genuinely wanted to meet me.

Now the me of yesterday wouldn’t have told you that piece, for fear of seeming like I am talking myself up.

But I am damn proud of that moment. Not just for the ego sake of it all, but rather because it is the moment I found my confidence.

And had it not been for that moment, I may have remained lost and buried under the heaviness of my own self doubt.

It’s funny how something can be taken away from you, causing you to feel great agony from it’s loss. Only to bring you the very thing you lost ten fold.

My mother may have left me long ago, but I have gained more love than she could ever possibly give. All because of the choices she made.

So perhaps that is the reason  I know that this is truly the beginning of something more, the time to finally take the leap and do what I once thought was unreachable.

After all, I’ll never know if I don’t try.

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