Another year come and gone in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, a year IS literally like the blink of an eye. The older we get, the shorter it seems. It’s only when I really stop to reflect on the year I had that I understand how long it truly was.
2018 was a year of turbulence and growth. This year brought on some of the deepest valleys and highest peaks of my professional and personal life. I look back on this year more like a mountain range than a roller coaster. Roller coasters have a finite ending. This year, on the other hand, is continuous journey that doesn’t end on December 31st.
This was the year I invested in myself—truly for the first time. I feel like I have raced through my life trying to please everyone around me and do what is best for everyone, but I finally decided it’s time to think about what I truly want. This was the year I welcomed amazing people into my world, and cut others out of it. This was the year my kids grew up in front of my eyes. And they weren’t the only ones. In 2018 I grew as a businesswoman, as a mom, and as a friend in ways I never could have imagined. All because I was challenged in all of these areas in ways I could have never anticipated. The peaks were spectacular, but took an enormous amount of effort to reach, while when I was deep in the valleys, I felt stuck. I realize now that even then, I was still on my way up.
Peak: Speaking Engagements
After decades of thrusting other people into the spotlight, which is truly my passion, I finally decided in order to grow my own business, I need to put myself out there as well. I had a couple of incredible speaking opportunities this year. One in particular stands out. I spoke on behalf of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) at Google for an event this past March. It was the first time I ever talked publicly about being a cancer survivor, and it was a healing moment for me. I’ve spoken about it several times publicly since, but that event was the first time I realized that tragic things that happen to you can help others. I now use my experiences to encourage other women to get checked for ovarian cancer. I was incredibly proud that day, as I am every day, to represent the NOCC. That day, I committed to teaching women to take better care of themselves—I’m proof of what can happen when you don’t. Having the chance to speak has shown me a new passion I want to pursue more of in 2019.
Valley: Parenting Teenagers
Being a parent has been one of the greatest joys of my life, and raising teenagers has probably been the biggest challenge. I’ve had to completely relearn how to parent, and I will continue to for the rest of my life. Everyone has told me that it does get better, and that everyone goes through hard times with teenagers, but as a sensitive empath, it’s draining and discouraging at times to struggle with the natural communication barriers that suddenly exist. I’m working with them to figure out how we can have a good relationship during these changing times, which has been a new experience for all of us. They are beautiful, wonderful children—they just don’t want to hang out with me much these days. Of course, this ebb and flow is natural for any relationship, not just parent-child. I just feel it more deeply with my own children because I love them so fiercely.
However, I will say my kids have also been responsible for some of my highest peaks this year, too. Seeing Adam crush it on the football field, or getting to go to National-level soccer tournaments for Hannah were experiences that made me swell with pride. This year has been important in teaching me that if the good outweighs the bad (and it always does when it comes to my children), then the stressful days are worth it.
Peak: Gaining Professional Focus and Achievement
This year, Mekky Media honed in on our special sauce, implementing a process to showcase our unique and diverse clients across a variety of mediums for maximum exposure. Finding that professional focus has given us a tremendous amount of clarity in who we choose to work with as clients, and how we can best support their goals and achievements.
This year, we landed hits for our clients on TV, radio, print publications, newsletters, podcasts, and more. We leaned into truly educating our clients on all of the opportunities in front of them, as well as emphasizing the importance of featured commentary versus profile stories, which has freed our agency up to work with clients who are committed to working with us as partners.
As a result, we’ve gotten millions of impressions for our clients, expanding their reach tenfold – including segments on The Today Show, feature stories in Forbes, profiles of our CEOs on major podcasts and numerous TV segments too many to mention!
When you achieve clarity and focus, you’re on fire. Here’s to more fire in 2019!
Valley AND Peak: The Day of The Race for the Cure
The Race for the Cure is a race that Susan G. Komen Chicago puts on every year to raise awareness and crucial funds for the fight against breast cancer, and this year’s event was spectacular. An unprecedented number of people attended, and Mekky Media helped get a record-breaking amount of press there to cover it. This was a huge highlight of my professional accomplishments.
Unfortunately, on the very same day, my father-in-law passed away. I had to race home to make a dance competition for Hannah, and while there we got word that he passed away after suffering cardiac arrest earlier that week. It was a lesson that the highest peaks can be accompanied by the lowest valleys. You don’t get to decide what life throws at you, you just have to remember to take the good with the bad, and I am getting better at learning to compartmentalize.
Peak: Center of Enriched Living
Our client roster continues to grow as does our Non-profit work. Mekky Media helped sell out the gala for the Center of Enriched Living, a nonprofit that serves adults with disabilities. It was a short, but super impactful project that meant a lot to both my team and me. PR can be grueling at times, and this project was a nice reminder of the power PR can hold for people. Attending that gala and seeing the seats filled with people we helped get there was overwhelming, to say the least.
Valley: Struggle for Balance
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Running your own business is HARD. In my constant search to discover the true meaning of entrepreneurship, I face leadership challenges daily. I feel lonely. I work too much and don’t have enough balance in my life. I just haven’t figured it out yet. Doctors, advisors, coaches will say just go to bed earlier! Get more help! Easier said than done when there are already too many to-dos on one list.
What I will say, is having an amazing team behind me has helped me overcome many of these challenges. As we continue to grow, we’re making sure that the people we bring into the organization are aligned to our core values. I am so incredibly thankful for the people that have helped me along the way and do this work at my side. Sitting in a pitch this month and looking at their faces made me think, I am being rewarded for the opportunity to have them on my team. It’s inspiring to have such talent at my side!
Peak: Stevie Awards
I’ve talked about the Stevie Awards at length, but it’s because it truly was one of the peaks of my entire career, not just of the year. I am so often working in my business as opposed to on my business that I don’t take the time to step back and recognize my own achievements. Winning Female Entrepreneur of the Year forced me to slow down for a moment, and process and receive what I’ve managed to accomplish these past few years. We developed a brand, a business, a magical approach to what we do, and a team of people that has done some kick ass work over the last two years! To be recognized for our hard work is incredibly humbling.
If you open yourself up to the lessons you can learn from both the peaks and the valleys of life, you’ll never be the exact same person at the end of a year as you are in the beginning. That’s how it should be. I grew so much in 2018 because I took risks, embraced failure, and focused on growing myself. Never would I think I could have done it, and now I enter 2019 with high hopes and dreams of getting closer to my vision.
As you reflect on the year you just had, I urge you not to rush off to set your intentions for next year just yet. I truly believe the most important moment in time is the present. Take a moment to think about what you have right now, and enjoy it.