“Start before you’re ready. Don’t prepare, begin.” — Mel Robins
Today is my son Parker’s 10th birthday. That’s right, he has hit double digits! When I was pregnant, I wrote a letter to his future self to be opened today. We opened it this afternoon, and I can tell you, my person 10 years ago did not have words to express all of the emotions, joys, experiences, lessons, and let’s be honest, frustrations ( I never knew I could get THAT angry!) that came with the journey of our family unit moving to planet parenthood.
When Parker was born, my husband Mike was starting a company SmashFly. I was working full time at Taleo (now owned by Oracle) leading product management for the recruiting product line. We lived in the metro-west area of Boston, and with offices in both Quebec and the San Francisco Bay Area, I traveled often. Life “worked” while Parker was an infant; we both worked from home, and Parker was not a fussy little one. Mike was a trooper during my week-long stints away that occurred about once per month, and they were both happy to see me upon my return.
Sarah came along two years later and that also collided with Parker being fully mobile. He was all over the place. My second return from mat leave into the working world was considerably more challenging. Having one infant is manageable, but the week-long stints away really became impossible after Sarah was born. So we took a leap of faith in SmashFly. The bet: I needed to bring in enough money in sales to cover my salary, and we could continue to support ourselves and SmashFly could stay in business. In return, I could be home without travel interruption while we had such small and needing hands.
For the past 6+ years Parker and Sarah have been growing and teaching us new things every day. They are a source of immense love, fun, fulfillment and yes, at times, anxiety. And little SmashFly has continued to grow too, taking in 3 rounds of funding and now well over 100 employees. Moreover, SmashFly has helped transform how the world thinks about attracting talent and is helping an enviable client list do just that. Like my children, SmashFly has been filled with plenty of love, fun, fulfillment and an occasional stint of anxiety too.
While reflecting on my path this past January, a friend Brenda Reid came into town. She invited me to a book launch party where her story is partly told by Dr. Patti Fletcher in Disrupters, Success Strategies for Women Who Break the Mold. It also coincided with a time of change and evolution at SmashFly that has afforded me the opportunity to think openly about the right path for me and without feeling constraints of obligation. Dr. Fletcher’s book helped me reflect on my career journey in direct context of being a women. She talks about how successful women have zigged when others would have zagged, not stopping when you hit a roadblock but rather building new routes around a situation, and the utter myth of the concept of “having it all.” There is so much in this book that I identified with that it felt like I had an old girlfriend whispering in my ear. That girlfriend was helping me see that it was time for me to seize my opportunity and set out on my own path. I feel like I not only want to do this, but because I can, I must.
Let me start by thanking my family, especially my mom, dad, siblings and husband Mike for having the faith and courage in me to start my own company. It is with their belief in me and my own conviction that I’m founding GraceRock. This journey starts now. Where GraceRock goes and who she’ll become, that is a story yet to be written. Consider this post my letter, to be opened on GraceRock’s 10th birthday.
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
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