Right now, I’m filled with gratitude.
Actually, the word “gratitude” doesn’t even really begin to describe what I’m feeling. I feel like I’m going to burst at the seams with pride. I was recently honored with the bronze medal at the prestigious Stevie Awards for Female Entrepreneur in Business. If you want to read more about the actual experience of being nominated, check out my last blog post.
Thanksgiving actually came at a good time, because it allowed me to slow down for a minute and reflect on what this actually means for my success. I, like most entrepreneurs, am always running around at a million miles per minute. I rarely take the time to slow down and appreciate what I’ve been able to accomplish thus far. Being nominated for a Stevie Award was an out-of-body experience, but actually being at the Stevie Awards gala in New York was something else entirely, and symbolic of my journey into entrepreneurship.
The awards ceremony was Friday, and I had everything planned out down to the minute. I got my hair done Wednesday, my flight was Thursday, I had a killer dress lined up for the ceremony, and I had my mom and my girlfriend Gina by my side. This was going to be great.
Spoiler alert: things did not go according to plan.
As we were getting close to landing in New York, the pilot came on the intercom to let us know there was a storm and we couldn’t land, we felt the bumps, it got dark, but he was hoping we would land soon. He warned us though that if we didn’t get the all clear we might have to land in Albany to refuel.
We starting circling…and circling…and circling. After 20 minutes of circling and feeling the bumpy air, the pilot came on again to say:
“We can’t circle anymore. We are going to go to Albany to refuel, and we’ll take off again from there.”
This was getting really scary, but I was trying to stay calm. However my mom was not calm and was full out panicking! We spent hours in the Albany airport, holding out hope we would take off again. It soon became clear that we were not going to be able to take off; we would have to spend the night in Albany and figure out how to get to New York in the morning.
When we woke up the next morning, the snow was piled 6-inches high. We decided the safest way to get to New York would be by taking a train, since that wouldn’t be impacted by the roads in the same way a car or bus would be. Our Uber came and got us from the hotel and it was an actual pick up truck luckily! We made the train and things were looking good until….
Lo and behold, our train broke down halfway through.
I’ll spare you the suspense: we DID make it to the awards ceremony, but it was not an easy journey. When we finally arrived in New York, Gina was already at the hotel waiting for us, and I was (understandably) tense and frustrated.
The whole thing felt like an homage to my journey into entrepreneurship. Before starting my own business, I had an understanding it was going to be difficult, but I didn’t know just how hard it would be. Nothing ever goes according to plan when starting your own business. That’s the truth. How do you get through it? I’ve learned that a little laughter and a lot of support goes a long way.
I wouldn’t have made it through this harrowing journey with my sanity intact if I hadn’t had Gina and my mom by my side. When we arrived at the hotel, I had two hours to get ready before the cocktail reception. After a long journey, we upgraded to a suite, Gina got us champagne and flowers, and we danced around the room together. We made the best of it—it’s just life. And I had had many, many espressos.
We did end up making it to the ceremony (we always make it there, one way or another). The room was so grand, we all felt so fortunate to be there. There were so many professional women with a story to tell. I wanted to know the backstory behind every single one of them, and to my surprise, they were interested in my story in return.
It was an eye-opening experience to be in the midst of these accomplished professionals I admire and look up to, and to realize I am one of them. I’ve worked my ass off to get here, and I’ll say it: I’m damn proud. But just as I couldn’t have gotten through that night without Gina and my mom calming me down, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the small army of people supporting me daily. Entrepreneurship is not easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s also the most rewarding. Arriving at that gala was a pinnacle moment in my career. I had done something that warranted being invited to this grand event.
I know I’m not the only one who is a heads-down executer. After all, we have to do in order to get stuff done. But it shouldn’t take a fancy gala or a Thanksgiving holiday to reflect on what we’ve already accomplished.
I’m nowhere close to finished, but I’m further along than I was before. That’s worth being grateful for today.