I should be sleeping. I know this. I know the sound of my alarm will wake me at 6 am and that I’ll have precisely 1 hour to get the kids up and fed, myself showered and dressed and out the door. You see, I cherish the sleep I do get. But sleep isn’t consistent for me. I toss and turn. I have nightmares. I wake up with random thoughts or ideas. Would probably drive someone else nuts. I think it’s why I value the occasional nap.
I stopped by an old house tonight. I would only loosely qualify it as a house back then. Probably the only single wide in Kirkland (a ritzy part of town). It was cheap and bigger than an apartment, so we took it. We were dirt poor. Everything we made went to bills and the kids. It’s where I started my company. I needed to do something. We couldn’t afford daycare for me to go to work so I was a stay at home and the ex worked. I was bored out of my mind and helped a friend make flyers. Learned a little of a program. The friend commented that what I’d made was worth money and off I ran on an idea. I thought maybe I could pull in some money and help out. Feel valuable. I became an info sponge. Researched everything from design and art, to marketing and business credit and set up a corporation. I took classes, attended networking events, and spent hours and hours practicing. Friends said it was obsession. It wasn’t. It was a drive to make something of me. There were months when we barely scraped by, and there were months where I had work coming out of my ears. I did that for 4 years…Each year got slowly better and better. We grew. I loved it and found i was pretty good at it. Suddenly, I was making more than the ex.
Eventually, I decided to go corporate. Everyone kept asking me when I was going to get a real job. It got under my skin. My company was competing for bids against big firms. We were invited to bid on a national airline account, and did work for some bigger brands and we’ll known businesses, and yet it wasn’t a real job. I had to prove the naysayers wrong. I applied, but I think a part of me didn’t expect to be taken seriously. I was a hack. No degree. Just my portfolio of work, and the experiences from JW. They hired me. I remember feeling shocked. And worried that they’d change their mind or realize that I was just a hack. That was my beginning. I’ve had a lot of beginnings actually in my career. From there I learned of UX and that brought me to innovation and strategy and where I am today.
There were many times I questioned whether we’d make it. Many times my self doubt would make me worry or question, or worse, fear would make pause or falter. But I have this belief in not giving up or giving in. In dreaming, and playing…finding the absolute good in the world and encouraging it to grow.