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Taking the Leap

While no two founding stories are alike, there’s a commonality between every business that was originally just a dream. At the core, a founder or creator will tell you of an idea they couldn’t ignore, an urge to build something—and hurdle after hurdle they encountered along the way. For female founders, it’s an unofficial sorority, marked with a true generosity of spirit as people share experiences and advice.

These women—women with will power and determination and the fiercest sort of bravery—are worthy of respect and praise, yet we shouldn’t forget they deal with insecurities and setbacks; they make mistakes and walk the wrong path a bit before course-correcting. It’s why their journeys are so rich with information for all of us, whether building a business is next on your to-do list or not.

"I wasn’t in a position where I couldn't work," said Perelel's Alex Taylor. "I don’t think a lot of founders talk about that, and it’s really hard to start a company when people have a home and kids and a family. When I started Perelel, it was my most challenging chapter. There’s never a perfect time to start a business, but maybe there’s a less complicated time. I wasn’t in a position to not bring in any kind of income so I decided to start consulting. It was hard to do that and start the company, but I knew it was a means to an end and wasn’t going to be forever. I worked seven days a week until 11:00 or 12:00 at night. That was the hardest time of my life, especially having a toddler and then being pregnant."

[excerpted from full story]

The Incalculable Stages of Grief

The thing about grief that we all know, even without firsthand experience, is how very differently it manifests for everyone. It became easier to speak to my sisters and family about their grieving as time went on. At first, it was just through observation: I saw how each sister reacted because we were in the same hospital waiting room; sitting shoulder to shoulder in the living room when a hospice nurse discussed next steps; greeting family at a celebration of life ceremony. The dynamics of our family added another layer that was compounded by my own projections of each of our individual relationships with him. It was their unique grief, but colored through how I’d viewed years of shared history. 

Putting together this piece was the first time I officially asked others how they experienced grief. I was curious to see if there were similarities or stark differences and eager to hear it all without the biases rooting a family. 

“When my father passed away, I went through a few weeks of what I assume most people probably go through. The initial shock, the very deep sadness of realizing he’s gone, the feeling of having one less root connecting my body to everything else around me,” shared Tiffany Yannetta, a former colleague who saw me through the most serious days of my father’s treatment before going through her own loss a year later. “After a few months the grief morphed in a way I could have never expected. It became something like a background hum, white noise that was always there but rarely at a volume capable of drowning out the rest of the world. It existed, but it was quiet and soft. That panicked me. I worried it meant I didn’t love my dad as much as I thought I did. I worried that it made me a bad daughter or a bad person. I worried my father could ‘see’ me and knew all the things I wasn’t feeling.”

[excerpted from full story]

How Do We Show Up When It Matters?

The older we get, it seems like there’s just more in the way of life’s ups and down, twists and turns, like new babies and big birthdays and milestones, but also heartbreak and grief and illness and death. There are miscarriages and loved ones we lose too soon. Maybe it’s dealing with it all in the shadow that Covid cast over the last few years, but it’s felt harder, more intense, and more isolating. And, while I’ve been the recipient of care from friends, I’ve also felt paralyzed by the tough stuff, in my own head about reaching out to the people I love when I’m going through it, and wondering what to say or do exactly when they’re in it, too. What could you possibly say to a friend who’s losing her mother? 

How do you show up in the ways that actually matter? I’ve been mulling it over late at night: How do we get past our own insecurities to be there, really be there in the ways that serve our friends, not ourselves. What’s helpful, truly helpful for the people who need it? It was a question that led me back to good friends, like my college roommate, Courtney Camps, who lost her mom to breast cancer five years ago. I wondered what had been the best ways people cared for her while she was taking care of her mom. “People just checking in was always really helpful—proactively checking in—because I had so much going on being a caretaker for my mom that I didn’t have the capacity to think sometimes or to check in with someone else,” she told me. In that way, it’s not overly complicated. It’s about the initiative to show we care when someone else is so inundated, when someone is so completely consumed—and rightfully so—with the weight of their own experience. 

[excerpted from full story]