I have always hated the saying “everything happens for a reason.” It seems most people say it when they are at a loss for words and want to try to console someone going through a rough patch. The saying is usually true; the drag is, when you are going through something difficult, you don’t have a crystal ball – you just have to lean in, accept what is happening and trust God.
In Fall 2008 I decided to make a major career move and turn in my notice as director of operations for a local publication. After leaving, I felt like I was starting from scratch. In many ways, I was.
After feeling a little overwhelmed by my options, I decided to look around to see what opportunities were sitting right in front of me. I was not shy with my network, and shared that I was open and willing to try just about anything.
I received a Facebook message from the Executive Director of Make-A-Wish, asking me what I was looking to do with my career. I had met Diana when my nephew Chase – who had been diagnosed with leukemia – was granted his wish to go to Disneyland. Even though Diana didn’t have any current openings at Make-A-Wish, she said she’d keep her ear to the ground for me.
About a year later – after couple of jobs that weren’t a long term career fit – I reached back out to Diana to see if she knew of any opportunities. She said she thought Make-A-Wish might have a position later on that fall, and to check back in with her. So I calendared to reach back out to her in August.
Meanwhile, I took advantage of my flexibility by starting a company – Central Valley Historic Estates – that rents out private estates for weddings and events. I was also still freelancing as a stylist and columnist for the local publication. A few months later, after reconnecting with Diana, I accepted a part-time position with Make-A-Wish Central California, that eventually led to the full-time role that I’m in today.
If I hadn’t left the my full-time position at the magazine and opened myself up to taking a different path, then I wouldn’t have the career with Make-A-Wish. The position is creative, social and high-energy—all attributes that I love in a job.
By February 2012 I thought I had it made. I had my dream job at Make-A-Wish as the Central California Community Director, my magazine gig, and my side business. Make-A-Wish had just wrapped up its annual fundraiser and I was visiting some of my best friends on Maui. I was single, juggling multiple careers, trying to be active in church and enjoying paradise—what more could I want? I turned to my personal life.
I had often been told I was intimidating to men because I was too successful. I would ask my mom, “Should I downsize all the opportunities that are in front of me just so I am approachable?” My mom said, “Continue to be yourself, someone will love you just as you are.” In February of 2012 – right at the busiest time of my career – I met my current husband.
As fate would have it, the magazine stopped printing, went digital and then dissipated a few months after that. It was the first time I would not be writing a column in seven years. Even though I loved writing that column, I embraced my newfound freedom. And even though I wanted to maintain my side business, my relationship took center stage: Chad and I had a short courtship, short engagement and got married in the fall of 2012. As I planned our exciting future, I chose to maintain rather than market my side business.
Looking back, I don’t regret a thing. Three years ago was about leaning in to new opportunities; last year was all about leaning in to balance. There are always opportunities; life is really all about timing. While my second least favorite saying is “timing is everything,” it’s absolutely true.