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Three years of Brave New Word

Today is a big day.

Today is the day Brave New Word turns 3. More importantly, today is the day I remembered we turn 3, which I consider a monumental achievement given the current state of the world and the chaotic state of my mind. Last year, with far less going on, I completely forgot to celebrate our second year around the sun. I thought I was stressed then, which kind of makes me laugh. Mary of 2019 had no idea what life would look like for Mary of 2020.

I’m writing this a little delirious (clearly), from heat and lack of sleep and too much time with my children. I’m writing this a little overwhelmed at all there is to do in a given day, at how the hours never add up to enough. I’m also writing this because I’m proud of how far Brave New Word has come and of where we are right now.

When I started this company, I always wanted it to be bigger than me. I didn’t know what that would look like exactly, but I knew I wanted a team of people around me who I loved, who I could trust and who would inspire me to do incredible work. Three years into Brave New Word, this business is more than just me. In the past year, two wonderful human beings have joined this team — a milestone I never quite understood until I experienced it firsthand. It is a big damn deal to hire someone to work in the company you’ve built. I’ve had to learn a lot about letting go and listening, making mistakes and then doing better. John Tinkelenberg, our brand journalist, was my guinea pig, and I’m forever grateful to him for his patience, faith and perspective. Kayla Berenson, our social media storyteller, is my “happy accident” — the talented and driven young woman I stumbled upon at a networking event pre-pandemic who was just what we needed at exactly the right time.

With people have come systems and processes, and every day, this journey feels more real. It’s not always fun; the blood, sweat and tears cliche is quite true, in my case. But as I told John at one point during the thick of quarantine, every time I’ve questioned the journey, something happens that confirms we’re on the right path. I’ll get a glowing email from a happy client. A signed contract will come through the door. A new and exciting project will start to take shape. Every time that happens, it’s like the spark reignites. I’m back to being fired up about what we’ve built and what it allows us to do every single day.

In a season like we’re all in right now, there are no shortage of inspirational quotes flying around. I hate to add to the mix, but there has been one that has helped me crank into gear when the task in front of me seems too daunting to begin. It’s from Nelson Mandela, and it goes like this:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

In truth, I had never heard of the quote before I saw it, like a beacon, on a rack at Marshall’s. But I knew instantly I had to have it, and now I rely on it — a lot. When I’m struggling to get started, to find a solution or to muster the extra umph I need to push through the rest of the day/week/month, I look at it, and I realize that the hardest part is getting started. It’s always impossible until it’s done.

And when you do it — this is the best part — you’ve done the impossible. How amazing is that?

Thank you for sharing in my birthday rambles, and for playing any role in this journey. Every person I’ve met along the way has influenced the growth and trajectory of Brave New Word, and I’m beyond grateful for the community that surrounds us as a result.

Here’s to 3 and everything the year has in store! Let’s make it a good one.

Photo by Julia Fay Photography


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