I have a lot to be thankful for this past year. I like to think back to where I was exactly a year ago today and what I was doing. A year ago, I was at Duff & Phelps valuing companies and working part-time at 3D Hubs. I was just discovering the potential of 3D printing to enable us to produce our imaginations and unleash a new wave of innovative businesses. I was planning for the second BrightEyes trip in San Francisco, focusing on the startup and venture capital industries.
Today, I am at SOLS, where I’m learning what it truly means to build and grow a product, brand, community and company. More importantly, we’re discovering how to do it with both the offline and online consumers, and the growing consumption of social, mobile and video. I’ve had the fortune to work closely with a female founder and role model that is sharing with me the challenges and excitement of building a business as a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry. I am thankful for this opportunity.
I first learned about SOLS through a mentor. In our lives, we come across many passions and sometimes our interests ask us to change our current course. Mentors help guide us down untraveled paths, trust that we will succeed and take multiple chances on us. To be successful, we all require someone willing to invest in our potential and vision. I am thankful for my mentors.
What we receive is also what we need to give. I freely offer mentorship to those who ask or need it. I am reminded to pay it forward by my mentors. But I’ve realized that mentoring is also a mutual benefit. In those conversations you have with your mentee about what they’re struggling with, what they want to learn, where they envision themselves, you also learn more about yourself. Teaching leads to self-reflection as you search through your own experiences to provide advice. It is also incredibly rewarding to experience success through another individual, a feeling that cannot be replicated. I am thankful for my mentees.
I’ve come to the conclusion that a person’s career is lonely. We switch companies, teams and roles over the years and these changes in our career are singular decisions and advances. What allows us to confidently make these decisions is not only our own ambitions, but also the support from our family and friends. My family has never questioned my dreams and decisions. In fact there is no wrong decision or concern for taking risks. It’s this support system and trust that has allowed me to have no regrets. I am thankful for my family.
Friends are the other component of our support system. They remind us how we can choose happiness and live our lives. People live to connect with others and share stories. We cannot thrive alone. I am thankful for my friends, old and new.
And finally, everyone should thank themselves. Every day, you succeed at some personal challenge without knowing it, it could be as trivial of a task as completing a book, attending a meeting on time, cooking a new recipe, going to the gym, meeting someone new or calling home. We’re often too harsh with ourselves and never reflect to acknowledge our own accomplishments. It’s very easy to be unhappy with ourselves, but this is not unusual and in fact, you should occasionally feel unsatisfied with yourself because you expect more out of yourself, you know you’re meant for greatness. But just be sure to celebrate yourself along the way and as much as possible. Thank you, self.