“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
Six years ago today, I invited some of the smartest, most accomplished people I knew over for dinner to share an idea I had for a business and humbly asked for their critique and ultimately their guidance.
A handful of months later, I quit my job and dedicated myself full time to building what is now Brilliantly. Perhaps quitting my job was a bit hasty from a financial perspective (this is putting it mildly, my friends. Rather than “hasty” the right phrase might be “wildly irresponsible.”) Like with many things, however, my dedication to what’s honest and authentic got in the way of practicality. I didn’t like the idea of putting my time into a new business while on the clock and payroll of another. And so I dove in fully and have been pouring every ounce of my time and resources into creating this product ever since.
If you’ve been following along, you know Brilliantly has been like most things worth pursuing: a wild combination of expansive, motivating highs coupled with ego-crushing, bank-breaking, existential-crisis inducing lows.
An adulthood that’s included weathering a number of storms has left me believing that I’m stable and calm in the face of the unknown. Most of the time, I can savor the highs and work through the lows with confidence and hopefulness. This past spring, if I may be honest, I felt worn down for the first time in a way that I couldn’t simply ignore. I was unsure what to do with me or Brilliantly.
At my last job I worked for a man (maybe someday I’ll write about him, as he’s ripe for editorializing) who once told me that I needed to “slow down to speed up.” A few months ago, I decided to finally try that out. Slowing down Brilliantly meant that I needed a part time job; both for cash flow and forced time away from the sirens call of my laptop.
Perhaps you may have read my lasts post about hugs and beer? Spoiler alert, I did not get offered the job at the brewery. I did however spend a couple days a week this summer maintaining gardens with a lovely group of plant-loving humans. It gave my brain space to zoom out from the day-to-day with Brilliantly and my soft body time to build strength. Plus, it was a perfect opportunity to build a reserve of vitamin D.
While I was wedding and pruning other people’s gardens in the heat of a gorgeous summer, Brilliantly was having its first winter. I still tended to its it’s most basic needs while wondering what spring would look like for this business. I didn’t have a clear picture.
A lesson I learned from my own garden, long before this summer, was that seeds need time to sprout. My slowdown made me truly understand how it applied it to my thinking about Brilliantly. All of the work and time over the past five years, if you’ll allow me this metaphor, dear reader, was simply me prepping a new garden bed. I first had to dig a hole, build a container, add nutrients and a massive amount of new material all before even planting seeds. As the years passed, and seedlings were sprouting, I had to weed (more often than I wanted), test the soil, add more material and water every day. And this moment, this winter, was the time for resting and restoring before the full bloom comes.
Full bloom for me and Brilliantly is coming in the form of a three month stay in Fort Worth, Texas. In July, on a very hot Friday afternoon, I was offered a spot in an accelerator program called Techstars.
If you’re not familiar with it, Techstars is a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs. They have programs in cities all over the world and the one I’m doing is partnered with a health system here in Texas.
This opportunity came at exactly the right moment. I feel insanely lucky to be here and have big plans for both me and Brilliantly.
I’ll be writing posts regularly to document this exciting time and share all of developments that come from it.