- Posted by marysastevens
- On July 27, 2018
- 1 Comments
Even as a young, carefree elementary school student, I have always suffered from a daily existential crisis.
I have always had big dreams. For most of my youth I felt invincible, strong and unstoppable. I wanted a big career that made an impact. But an impact on what? Hence my empirical crisis.
In short, I’ve always been a career-oriented person. Growing up in a small town, I had two options: leave and go big or stay and make it work with what’s available. I’ll admit that as a stubborn teenager I thought there was only one right answer and that certainly wasn’t going with the status quo. So I set foot to the big city and went to college, got involved in countless organizations – founded a handful – tried new things, backed out of some commitments, but ultimately I found solace with what I was good at and what I wasn’t.
I was great at being outgoing; sign me up for every event, every party, every chance to network. I was good at research, brainstorming, writing, planning, and sharing my opinion (for better or worse). I never shied away from the opportunity to speak out against what felt wrong to me. I became so politically charged that activism was a bullet-point on my dream job description.
Unexpectedly (as it always is), just a few months before I graduated college I fell in love with a med student who had also signed an eight-year commitment in the U.S. Army. At that time I had already applied for countless jobs in Washington D.C. to work for nonprofits and lobbying firms that aligned with my political views and core values. It was finally my time to chase what I had been building up for and learning about my whole life.
Ultimately, I decided to stay. I knew that he would be my future husband and we would build a beautiful life together – one that supported his dreams and mine. It just looked a little different than I had imagined. I was always certain I wouldn’t be that girl who chose a man over a career, but here I was, doing what I had to do to make it work.
Instead of heading east, I stayed in Reno and landed on a global communications team for an international corporation. I like to say that I was good at my job, but truthfully as a naive 22 year-old, I think I learned more lessons than five years of college combined. I made some big mistakes. I remember I dropped the ball on a huge assignment that when it was discovered and my superior took the fall for me, I cried inconsolably. It was incredibly painful. But I never forgot how that felt and I never made that mistake again.
After just two years at this company, it was time for my first “PCS” (military speak for permanent change of station). I packed up everything I owned and said goodbye to my family, friends and home. As I looked in the rear view mirror I was reminded of an excerpt from “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac:
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
Fast forward another three years and two different positions in health care marketing and communications. Here I was again embarking on the next adventure to a great, foreign land – the American Southeast. Completely unfamiliar to me as a proud West Coast native and a soul that speaks Californian.
After a few months in Tennessee, I found that the best opportunity for my career was to control my own course. Many military spouses find themselves on a similar trajectory. Some fall into the MLM universe, many put their careers on pause, others fight over bureaucratic red tape to transfer state licenses, and others like me, turn to remote freelance work.
Business for me as a freelance writer and marketing consultant started to grow at the same time I was growing a human. We also learned that just three weeks after our daughter was born my husband would e deploying for nine months.
Wait – pause. Why am I telling you my life story?
Because all of the experiences that have lead me to where I am today have taught me the most important lesson in business.
If I don’t have the passion for my work, I’m not going to waste my precious and limited family time. I’m not going to turn away from my daughter’s insatiable curiosity and contagious laughter to do a project for which I lack fondness. I’ve turned down offers and potentially large contracts because I simply didn’t have the time as a new mom with a deployed husband. I didn’t want to take time away from my role as my daughter’s provider.
As a mom and military spouse, I am still career-driven. I am just as passionate about helping others achieve their goals through storytelling. What does this mean for my clients? I am not here to waste your time or mine. I want to proudly deliver on objectives. I want to help small businesses with big dreams and nonprofits with big hearts. I want to do work that matters and make my husband and daughter proud. I still want to do my part to make our world a better place. I often ponder what more I can do to create positive change.
All of my decisions have lead me here. To be a mother, a military spouse and an entrepreneur with resiliency, talent, experience and passion.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read my story. Thank you to my clients who have trusted me to help your business grow.
Time to sign off – my motherly duties call.