Help for the Co.

Ivy&Co

Meet Ivy, the name & face of Ivy & Co., a small boutique filled with unique handmade accessories & gifts located in a revamped warehouse space on Kauai. Ivy’s mom, Rebecca, and I go back to our college days in Orange County, when our paths crossed at Chapman University. After graduation, she moved overseas briefly, but then returned to her hometown of Maui. She eventually met & married her husband, Kit, and they’ve settled down & built their family on Kauai. 15 months ago, they expanded the Co. by adding Ivy’s little sister, baby Teak, to the team. Over the years, we’ve only seen each other a handful of times, but we’ve kept in touch in big part because of Ivy & Co., which is my go-to source for some of my own favorite accessories as well as adorable baby gifts. I’ll forever hold a special place in my heart for Rebecca as a friend who has been there for me when I needed it most. When this opportunity came up to do just a little something for a small business, I knew I had to pick Ivy & Co.

I’m beyond grateful to work for a company that’s made a tremendous commitment by launching our #SmallBizRelief initiative, in partnership with Yelp & GoFundMe. Intuit gave each and every employee the ability to sponsor a small business of our choice, which means up to 9,000 small businesses around the globe will be supported & highlighted during this uncertain time. It’s such a great commitment to our mission: Powering Prosperity around the World.

I’m typically a fixer, a doer, a problem solver. The impact of Covid19 on me personally is frankly quite minor: I don’t have small children, Brian & I already work from home, and as I have learned the past month of being in social quarantine, I’m apparently not very social in person anyway. Most of my relationships & interactions (by nature of my normal life traveling), wind up being online, via text/ FaceTime, etc. The hardest party of all this is missing my daily workouts at the gym (but I’ve gotten creative with that too, and I’ve settled into my new normal routine).

My heart aches though for everyone around me – here in our small town & around the world – who are struggling personally & professionally. We’ve seen the doors close, we know the owners who are scared that they won’t be able to reopen. We know those who have lost their jobs & are just hoping their employers make it out the other side & rehire them. I know moms who are desperately trying to keep up with their new roles as teacher on top of everything else they’re holding together. And I have friends with new babies, or sick babies, or who are sick themselves & carrying heavy loads with very little help.

While I know I can’t save the world, as my great grandmother always said, “if everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot”. So even if it’s just a little, I’m thankful that it’s something. If everyone can make a little difference, then together, we’ll make a big difference – who knows, maybe we can even change the world?

GoFundMe – Ivy & Co. in COVID-19

 

2020 Vision

2019 has been a doozy. Filled with record setting milestones that make me cringe instead of celebrate (like the realization that I’ve spent over 1/3 of the year in hotels, & flown 20,000 more frequent flier miles than I did last year). My everything is exhausted. If I can feel it, it hurts. And mentally, I’m so beyond drained that I literally can’t see straight.

But somehow, somewhere in the midst of all the craziness (probably on the stair master, or 30,000 feet up), as the final few months, weeks, and now days of this decade approach, I started focusing on what the next decade will look like for the Austins. Those thoughts led to lots (and lots) of late night gym parking lot & phone chats with Brian (usually while I drive across numerous state lines en-route to my next firm visit). And in that, I’ve managed to come to the realization that 2019 didn’t defeat me, but instead brought me down to a place where All the fuzzy, blurry roads ahead suddenly are in perfect focus. So while part of me is just frankly willing myself across 12/31/19, the spark deep down inside of me is lit. My now perfect clarity seems to be shaping up for a new day, year, decade filled with 2020 vision. I know exactly what I need to do to achieve my goals.

As Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi declared on stage at QuickBooks Connect, “To own the future, you have to create it!”

Just like that, day all the stress & worry seems a small price to pay for this reality I can clearly see in front of me. Ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you I’m no princess. I’m scrappy, resilient, determined. I’m not scared of hard work. And when I set my eyes on a prize, the only thing to worry about is anything standing in my way.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Just this morning I was reminded that in reality, tomorrow, January 1, 2020 is simply just another day. But as I milk a few precious moments of downtime with my husband (mind you, our version of “downtime” has nothing to do with down & never seems anywhere close to enough time), I’m going for it – here are my goals for this next lap around the big sun…

Positivity– Brian shared this lightbulb WSJ article with me this past week. Man, our minds are so powerful. Let’s be sure we’re using them for good.

Passion– over the past several years, my passion for fitness has brought me through some of the most trying times in my life. Exercise is my therapy. It’s the one thing I do for ME. I never “have the time”, I always “make the time”. And I’m never sorry I did. In 2020 I’m committing to finish my Personal Trainer Certification that I started this Fall.

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Priorities– I have had such an amazing opportunity to be led & mentored at work the past few years by such a strong woman, Sue Pratt. One of the goals we set for this Intuit fiscal year was for me to remember my priorities. While the goals was meant as a work metric, Sue & I know full well that this is a life goal for Kim. I may no longer roll up to her on the org chart, but I promise to strive to prioritize each task in & out of work this year!

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Play– when your world never slows, it’s so easy to brush off seemingly inconsequential happenings around you because you simply don’t have time. But in 2019, I’m proud to say I pushed pause just a few times to make sure that I didn’t miss some of life’s most important moments. Grandma turned 90, I saw my TX nephew & nieces more this year than in the rest of their lives combined, I took a trip to see the world with my soulmate, and was there on the other end of the phone when my big “kid” needed a “mom” to tell him he’s awesome. I can’t wait to have more moments with some of my favorite people in the coming year! Oh, and pancakes, there will be a lot more pancakes in 2020!

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Protect– above all, I promise in 2020 to fiercely protect everything we’re building together, Brian. The reason we’re willing to haul our computers on vacation, or move 4 times in as many months. The late-night gym trips & marathon meal-preps to ensure we’re staying on track. All the highs & lows of our so-called life, and all the adventures awaiting ahead of us – I know we can do it, I can see it. My vision is 2020.

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“I can see clearly now the rain is gone…I can see all the obstacles in my way”

Thanks to @IntuitBrad…

This post comes a bit belatedly. Technically, Brad Smith’s last day as Intuit’s CEO was December 31, 2018. But this past week we had a chance as an Intuit family to come together & celebrate Brad’s impact on each of us that wear Intuit blue. He may not be sitting atop a Silicon Valley org chart anymore, but his inspiration, influence, and imprints will remain in and on each of us forever.

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So, before it’s too late for me to have an excuse to do so, I wanted to say a quick “Thank You” for some of the lessons I’ve learned from our amazing leader these past 5 years…

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for teaching us to have empathy. There’s no question in my mind as to why Brad’s 2nd number in his SOI is a 5. He literally radiates empathy for everyone around him: his employees, his partners, his customers. This is quite possibly the attribute of his that I admire most, as I firmly believe if we don’t have empathy for those we serve, then our relationships can never truly flourish.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for leading us by example each day. Since my earliest exposure to Brad, I was always impressed by his approach to serve with his team. I’ve seen him roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty, and walk through the mud with all of us in order to bring us out the other side stronger, together. When you hear “We Care & Give Back”, Brad doesn’t just mean that from an air-conditioned office in Mountain View, but from his hands & knees in a public park in lower Manhattan where he shoveled dirt, pulled weeds, and raked leaves with all of us.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for reminding us to never forget where you come from. The photo that so many of us have seen of Brad on his mom’s front porch is about as authentically Brad as it gets. No matter who you become in life, you’re still just someone’s son or daughter & we need to always remember our way home.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for prioritizing physical fitness. I’m someone who works hard each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while also showing up as the best possible employee I can. It’s been such a huge inspiration to have a leader to look to who also makes time to take care of his physical health, and has cultivated a culture where I don’t have to feel bad for taking a lunchtime break at the gym. I know it’ll make me a better asset to Intuit in the long run.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for refusing to get cocky. Years ago, during a Global BDM team summit, we had a Q&A with Brad. I remember asking his advice on how we could always stay hungry in the US even though we were the front-runner in our region (unlike several of our fellow country teams). His response to me was so humbling & I’ll never forget it. He said that we’re not #1. There are more businesses in the US using something else, or nothing at all, than there are using QBO. So, he said, never forget that we’re still chasing #1.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for showing us to never treat your spouse like you’re married. I know I’m not the only one who adores the way Brad looks at his “girlfriend”, Alys. She’s absolutely his rock, and he never passes up a chance to say it. It’s such an important lesson that he’s shared with all of us to never stop pursuing your significant other.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for instilling in us that life is a team sport. There’s no question that Brad was our quarterback, but Intuit was his team. He didn’t just sit on the sidelines calling plays, he was on the field, with us, leading us, each step of the way. But through it all, it was all about the team.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for leaving us wanting more. I admit I’ve shed more than a few tears since the first email announcing his passing the torch (however, we’re so thrilled to be in amazing hands with Sasan!), but it’s Brad’s gentle reminder over & over these past few months that have brought me so much comfort: “Being Intuit’s CEO has been the job of a lifetime…but it’s not the job for a lifetime”.

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Brad – you’ve been the most amazing leader, and I count it such a privilege that I’ve been on your team. I can only hope that the wisdom I’ve picked up from you over the years will somehow continue to rub off on everyone around me. Thank you, thank you!

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My 12 Flights of Christmas

Just like that, another year of travel (and life) is in the books! I don’t dare say “where did the year go?” Because that makes me sound, well, old. 2018 has been a year filled with some turbulence, delays, diversions, and a few mechanical issues.

But as I write this on my first of four final flights this year (yes, the infamous “Mileage Run” is in full swing), I’m reflecting on some of the highs that 2018 brought Team Austin as well: we’ve had some upgrades, rewards, and gained some extra leg room.

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With all the craziness of this winter, I debated whether to even try and scramble to get my year-end post out. I figured rather than droning on about the past 12 months, instead, I’d share a little song about my final month of travels, so without further ado, I give you, My 12 Flights of Christmas (please sing along…you know the tune):

On my 1st flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

A tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 2nd flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 3rd flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 4th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 5th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 6th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 7th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 8th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

8 state lines crossed, 7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 9th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

9 hotel stays, 8 state lines crossed, 7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 10th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

10 late night workouts, 9 hotel stays, 8 state lines crossed, 7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 11th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

11 onsite meetings with partners, 10 late night workouts, 9 hotel stays, 8 state lines crossed, 7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

On my 12th flight of Christmas, the friendly skies gave to me…

12 more months of United Premier status, 11 meetings with partners, 10 late night workouts, 9 hotel stays, 8 state lines crossed, 7 tuna packet dinners, 6 flight delays, 5 Protein Powder Pat-downs, 4 airport terminal sprints, 3 aromatic seat-mates, 2 nights stranded at SFO and a tantrumming toddler gate to gate

Wishing you a year ahead filled with smooth air, on-time departures and lots of those yummy waffle cookies!

Surviving #QBConnect

It’s hard to believe that this will be QuickBooks Connect #5! I’m excited to say that I’ve attended each & every one of them, and they have all been filled with moments of inspiration, entertainment, celebration, and memories that will last for many more years to come! As I pack my bags & head to The Bay (yes, I know the way to San Jose) this year, I thought I’d share just a few of my #ProTips on making the most of your time…

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Caffeinate/ Hydrate!

The week will be grueling! You’ll start early, end late, and be on the go nonstop. I make at least one, usually two trips to Philz Coffee each day, just to survive. You’ll also see me chugging water as fast and often as I can (for those who don’t like buying $5 waters at the hotels, there’s a Safeway within easy walking distance of the convention center).

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Bring your Dancing Shoes (and a lot of them)!

You’ll be on your feet ALL. DAY. LONG. I highly recommend bringing a few pairs of shoes to change into on different days, because if you’re like me, your boots were NOT made for walking!

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Be Yourself

Unless you can be a unicorn…then be a unicorn (and drink plenty of #UnicornLibations). QuickBooks Connect is such a great opportunity to meet with partners, small businesses, developers, and colleagues from around the globe. I’ve heard story after story over the years about new strategic relationships starting at QBC and blossoming into great partnerships. Don’t let this chance slip by. Make the most of it & make as many new connections as you can by being authentically you.

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Don’t get Star Struck

We’ve seen Oprah, Martha Stewart, Michael Phelps, and some amazingly inspirational celebrities & entrepreneurs at QB Connect over the years. I think the best lesson I’ve learned is not to go into the event assuming you know what the message will be – if you keep an open mind, you might find that it will be blown when you least expect it.

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And remember, at the end of the day, we’re all the A-List here at QB Connect – they’ve rolled out the QuickBooks green carpet for us all!

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Make time for Friends

Perhaps my very favorite thing about QB Connect is the guest list. It’s the biggest event I attend each year, and sometimes it’s the only chance to give real-life hugs to some of my favorite customers, partners, and friends. Don’t be so busy rushing from session to session that you forget to take a few minutes to enjoy being together. This community is amazing, and each of us play a part in making it better each day.

Get Your BeautyFunction Sleep

For me, I have to make choices. I can stay out late & pretend that I’m the life of the Avalara & TSheets Party, or I can get to bed, get up early for my cardio session, and actually be semi-functional each day. If you can manage both, more power to you, but for the rest of us, my advice: Take a few photos, then tweet them the next morning & nobody will know what time you snuck off to bed!

Soak it All In

I know I’m biased, but Intuit throws a greatparty! We’re here to work hard, learn hard, but play hard too. Keep that in mind as you go about your business this week. As my great-grandmother used to say, “The happiest people on earth are those who make play out of work”.

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One of my favorite memories of QB Connect was getting to lead a Power Panel session last year with an all-star line up. I had to pinch myself just a bit to make sure I was actually working & not dreaming!

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Learn from Smart People

People ask why QB Connect is always in San Jose. Well, with Intuit HQ just up the way in Mountain View, it allows us to send some amazing resources to the event to listen, learn, and interact with some of our most valued customers & partners. If I can help you get connected to anyone on your list – please let me know! My job this week is to make sure you get the absolute most out of your time with us!

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Be Scrappy

A note to my fellow Intuit Teammates: We’re the hosts here, so take the opportunity to roll up your sleeves & jump into the mix (especially if that means getting out of your comfort zone!). This week will be a success if we deliver awesome to our thousands of guests, and that may mean going the extra mile to do so. Let’s be sure we do whatever it takes to show QBC 2018 that Intuit cares (whether that means retrieving partners’ luggage, or settling for the way back seat in the jam-packed SUV – hey, just be sure you’re in good company back there!).

Don’t expect to be productive on Friday…

I suggest keeping your obligations (outside of nap taking) to a minimum when you get back from San Jose. Mark my words: You. Will. Be. Dead. Tired. Prescription for Post #QBConnect recovery: LOTS of R&R!

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Leave Them Wanting More

Finally, I couldn’t put this together without the reminder that this is Brad’s last QB Connect as Intuit’s beloved CEO. I have been privileged to serve at Intuit under this amazing leader for the past 5 years, and I consider that one of my top professional honors. As our fearless leader welcomes us all to his house this last time for QBC 2018, let’s all follow suit with his sentiment and remember to give it our all, and ensure that each & every person who walks through those convention center doors can’t wait to come back next year for more!

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Excellence Over Perfection

A few months ago, while doing my morning cardio, I heard a quote from an entrepreneurial YouTuber that has really stuck with me. She said “I’ve learned that sometimes done is better than perfect”. On the surface, this goes against every instinct in my body, but I’ve tried so hard lately to remind myself of this mantra & remember one little detail: I’m not perfect. But the good news is nobody else is either.

So here I sit, December 31, 2017 – and in typical Kim fashion, I’m going through my mental list of things that I didn’t get done this year (because they weren’t perfect)…like writing this holiday blog. To say I’m a perfectionist is just about the understatement of the year. Even when I hit new goals or milestones, I’m always pushing myself further, or picking apart what I could have done better. When I set a new PR in the gym – what’s my first reaction? “I need to work on my form”. When I hit 100%, that usually isn’t good enough – why wasn’t it 110%? I tend to dwell on the things that I didn’t make happen – like hanging my vintage Christmas wreath on our front gate this year, instead of the things I did conquer – like the fact that we got our roof redone this month in time for the upcoming rainy season in the desert, and I managed to put on 2 family Thanksgivings AND 2 Christmas dinners, plus traveled 13 days of December.

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I partially blame this on “Growing up Hogan”, where a level of excellence was not just expected, but demanded. I’ll always remember getting my first college Spanish exam back & going straight into my professor’s office after class asking her how I could bring up my grade. She looked at me, looked down at my test, & looked back asking “How exactly do you want to bring your grade up?”…it was the first time in my life that I received an A followed by a minus sign, and I knew, that was just not going to fly.

2017 has been one of (if not the) most challenging years of my life – filled with moments of uncertainty where I’ve been completely out of control of the situation (frankly, my biggest fear). I’ve had plenty of reminders that I’m not perfect. I’ve started far too many emails with “Sorry for the delay…”. I’ve beat myself up for leaving laundry lists of “to-do’s” undone. I’ve looked back on more than a few situations & wished that I had handled them differently. From this standpoint – I’m actually glad to see the year go, and I’m anxious to ring in a new fresh start in 2018!

When we train in the gym, we tear down our muscles so we can grow them bigger, stronger. Similarly, 2017 challenged me & stretched me in ways I probably really needed to grow. As I look back on the things that I did accomplish: over 500 visits to the gym; our first family vacation; found an incredible professional mentor (thank you, Simon); was privileged to speak at QuickBooks Connect; was honored professionally by several industry trade publications; and possibly something I’m most proud of, made sacrifices that put my family first, even when that meant accepting that I’m not a super hero, and wasn’t going to be able to do it all perfectly.

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While there’s still plenty of room between me and perfection (and there always will be), I think what I learned more than anything this year is that I’m harder on myself, and expect more of myself than anyone else, and, even I need to cut myself some slack. In the fitness world, you often hear the importance of setting realistic goals that are obtainable & reachable. By shifting my expectations from that unreachable perfect, to striving for excellence, I know I can tackle 2018 with all the enthusiasm I need to make it the best year yet.

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Happy Holidays to you & yours – and best wishes for an excellent New Year!

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Fueled By Passion…Fulfilled by Performance

It’s Friday night, about 8pm Mountaint time, & I’m sitting in the Denver Airport United Club waiting on what’s turned into about a 3 hour flight delay. I should (hopefully) be home by midnight, but it’s unlikely any sooner…

In the last 18 days for work, I’ve been in 16 cities, driven well over 20 hours (across 5 states & 3 tropical islands) in 7 different cars, slept in 8 different hotels (and 1 airplane), been on 8 flights (and I still have 1 more to get home), spanned 4 time zones…and met with 17 firms & hosted 6 QuickBooks Online training events attended by over 100 accountants.

Oh, and did I mention I was home for a whopping 67 hours last week between trips?

Needless to say, my life has been an absolute whirlwind the past few weeks. I’ve had to make decisions like “do I care more about getting in a training session or cardio or sleep” (knowing I may only be getting 3-4 hours of sleep regardless). I’ve been on hold at 1am more than once with the United Premier desk trying desperately to figure out how to make it to my destination or home before midnight and without driving hours as my glass slipper gradually becomes a pumpkin. I’ve far exceeded the recommended dosage of protein bars & tuna packets (in my car racing from one meeting to another). I’ve fallen asleep more than once with my face in my laptop somewhere between 1am & 3am local time. My earliest (but not only pre-dawn) call was at 4:30am local time. And, I’ve managed to pack in more first-time meetings with new partners than I typically do in a month (or more).

Am I exhausted? Drained? Sleep deprived? In major need of a few days at home (and manicure)? Heck yeah – but am I energized and inspired by all of the amazing conversations and “light-bulb moments” that I’ve experienced in the past 3 weeks? HECK YEAH! These past few weeks have been an amazing reminder to me of why I do what I do – and why I push myself so hard.

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There’s a sign at my gym that reads, in part: “I’m obsessed, a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated”. I read it constantly when I’m training, and use it to motivate myself to push harder, lift heavier, go faster…but recently I’ve been thinking of that even outside of the gym. It’s really become part of my core, part of my why.

After making the 90 minute drive from a firm in Northern Utah this afternoon, my last meeting of the trip, I arrived at the airport to this message from them in my email:

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I had so many similar conversations with partners I’ve been meeting with that it’s impossible to even think of slowing down. Those conversations and their excitement has propelled me into my next non-stop day & I’m so excited to keep turning on the gas over the next few months.

I’m extremely fortunate to have a husband & family that enable me to put my career and my partners so high on my priority list. I honestly couldn’t do what I do on the road without my life-line back home. We’ve made a commitment to each other to support both of our careers, and have adopted a “work-life integration” motto (thanks for the term, Ed Kless). I never feel that I’m taking away from my home life by putting so much of myself into work – instead, I’ve got a built-in motivator cheering me on (and me him) each step of the way.

Throughout these daunting marathon days, as I’d drive from meeting to meeting, to hotel, to airport, I got to share the great news of another awesome visit. Each time I was reminded (as usual) that it’s moments like those that motivate me to keep going, and affirm why every flight, every mile, every early morning, and every tuna packet are just adding fuel to my fire.