For the last 11 months, my life has been in a state of flux with constant changes and adjustments in response to dramatic events or in preparation for anticipated events. It has felt like a domino effect. I think I handled the changes well. I tried admitting mistakes and shortcomings and I’ve spent my days working as much as possible. I haven’t given myself a break because so much needs to get done. Everytime that there was a new change in one of the businesses, it required me to take several steps back, and shift the direction in order to move forward once again. You take a hit, recover, rebuild and then bam, something else happens. It’s exhausting and the only thing that has kept me moving forward is a positive attitude and a belief in greatness. I think my biggest successes have often come out of hardships, so I’ve simply assumed the same about the last 11 months. An internal voice allowed me to believe that this stage would not last forever.
Then everything changed and the bottom fell out. There are so many details and memories of May 31st, but because of where I am right now, my details don’t seem to matter. May 31st is not my story, it’s Shannon and Marie’s story. My connection to them and responsibility to lead the businesses is what caused the bottom to fall out for me personally. I went from a belief in greatness to an immense reality check of what greatness actually stands for. I’ve been partially numb and partially removed in a state of observation. My perspective changed overnight and it caught me off guard. I can say that my last 8 years have been filled with plenty of hardships, but watching someone I love go through the unthinkable was harder in some ways. I was truly rocked and life didn’t care. There was still three studios, two cities, 57 staff members and hundreds of clients that needed life to continue as normal. I couldn’t think straight and the domino effect was continuing outside of Shannon’s recent life event. All I could do was show up as a shell of myself because this new change in perspective made so many things in life seem petty and insignificant. I haven’t tolerated excuses, selfishness, and complaints with the same openness as before. It’s as if there has been an immediate clearing of low frequency behavior. I can’t define it, as I know that my full understanding will only come in retrospect. But I can say that my understanding of greatness is much more clear than ever. And right now, I can see the distinction that those who are great rise up despite life’s misfortunes.
I thought I may have observed this in Shannon a couple years ago. Someone’s language, knowledge, work ethic, creativity and interactions with others, can tell you so much. It isn’t always obvious when you first meet her, because she’s humble and just a hometown, mid-western girl. But as we peeled back the layers of our relationship and got to know one another, I could see her future clearly.
Her future felt very bright, but it also scared me. We are ten years apart, and in a lot of ways she reminded me of where I was 10 years ago. I was fearful for her because it was obvious that she was on the extraordinary track of greatness. Few people sign up for life’s extraordinary training, because it comes with a ton of work. When you say, “Ok life, I’m going to live my purpose boldly and change the frequency in this world”, life shows up in a way that isn’t easy to handle. The idea of hard work is cliché, but we often do not discuss the problems that accompany the extraordinary track in life. I have never observed an extraordinary individual with ordinary problems. And this observation is what scared me about Shannon. She’s young and I knew that she had a lot of life to live. And seeing the similarities of myself in her, I had an understanding of what 10 years of life can yield when you are pursuing major goals.
Never in a million years did I think that her daughter, Marie, would not be with us today. I was fully prepared and excited to be Marie’s adopted Aunt. I expected her to be in the studios and in my house regularly. I saw her as the extension of what we had built and I was looking forward to the new lessons that we would learn together. It felt like an extension of my own family and I was just over the moon about Marie becoming the child that I would likely be the closest to until I decide to have my own. That’s just the way it was going to be and the way we wanted it to be if we were going to continue moving forward in business.
What followed, is just too much, and again, it’s Shannon and Marie’s story that is for her to tell.
A little later, once Shannon was ready for a visit, two things about our conversation stood out to me. One, I shared my past fear of her future path, knowing that she was destined for extraordinary things. She had often expressed a concern of being green (too young or inexperienced), which I related to at her age as well. She said that the loss of Marie made her grown up very quickly and changed her perspective immediately. I also expressed the idea of Marie being her muse who may lead her further towards her purpose.
With that said, I say World Watch Out. The extraordinary path is not an easy walk and Shannon is walking the path in spite of extraordinary problems. She also has taken Marie’s loss to inspire her towards her passion of writing and expression. It has always been a passion, but it’s emerging in a completely different form. To all of you, I hope that this tangible experience burns an impression on your hearts and minds. To suffer and get knocked down into the dirt, then stand up and forge forward is what great people do. I hope that you look at successful people and see the truth of their life experiences. And most importantly, when you are down and having a hard time picking yourself up, remember that extraordinary people have been there too. Allow it to be your motivation to get up and live your muse. With a very heavy heart, thank you for continuing to support both myself and Shannon. You are a wonderful community.
CEO & Executive Visionary