March 13, 2019

Living My Why by Not Making Myself ‘Small’

Dana Miller

Have you ever had one of those moments where something or someone makes something come alive in you on the spot and you can’t turn it off? Let me be more specific. You heard a new song or read a line in a good book or saw a scene in a movie and you felt like it was written for YOU.  Suddenly, you find yourself wondering how you were existing before this little spark lit a fire inside you and you’re making lists and “pinning” up a storm creating vision boards and calling your mom or best friend or husband (whoever your person is) to share with them what’s inspired you today. Maybe you have a passion that you’ve been saving for “someday” because it’s just “not the right time” and a Forbes article made you realize that the world needs what you have to offer!  When you have a creative brain like I do, this happens more often than I would sometimes like, but hey, too much inspiration is better than none, right? Don’t answer that.

Making Yourself Small

Recently, I read a book called Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  If you have a pulse, this book is for you. There’s something for everyone. One of the themes that gave me that oh-so-sweet “I really need to hear this” feeling was when the author suggested that we often “make ourselves small” to avoid making others feel uncomfortable.  About five years ago, I was a single gal, dating as an adult for the first time after my high school/college sweetheart chapter came to a close. The dating world was bleak if I’m being honest. On one of the first dates I went on as a newly single twenty-something, the eligible bachelor across from me at dinner told me that I was intimidating because I had a successful career and had just bought my first home.  Hearing this, I immediately lost attraction to him, but more importantly I felt badly about my own accomplishments and less eager to share them. Needless to say, there was no 2nd date. A year later, I had been dating my now-husband for about a month or so. I purposely had not shared with him that I owned the charming one-bedroom condo he picked me up at on our date nights. When I finally told him, he told me how impressed and proud he was and that I shouldn’t be shy about sharing anything with him, especially an achievement like that! I had made myself “small” because of something that someone said to me whose name I don’t even remember. Are there ways in which you have minimized yourself? Perhaps you presented a proposal to your colleagues at work that wasn’t received as you’d hoped and you haven’t tried again. Or you shared a big dream of yours with a trusted friend who gave you a list of all their “concerns” which made you believe you couldn’t do it, whatever it is. It’s too big of a risk. You can’t do that AND have a family. Only x% of people succeed at that. Ya’ll, they’re scared. That doesn’t mean you have to be. Why should we live small because “they” don’t think we can have it all? PartnerCentric is breaking the mold that’s told us we can’t for too long.

Living Our Why

Those of you who have been following PartnerCentric in recent years have likely heard us use the term “Living Our Why”. This philosophy works in conjunction with our core values as a company. Essentially, it is a model put in place by our fearless leader, Stephanie Harris, that empowers the members of our team to live a life of purpose that is meaningful to them as individuals. So what does that look like? Logistically, it looks like having team members working remote all over the country and the world.  For us, it’s about daily calls to collaborate on projects, weekly team meetings over Slack, and annual retreats to work and play face-to-face with the team members that we are doing business and life with virtually every day. But what does Living Your Why look like on a personal level? It’s different for everyone. For me, living my why at PartnerCentric means that I get to have it “all”:

  1. My beautiful country home (full of Magnolia gems, of course) which would be a 2-hour commute round trip to any job in my area. Today, my laptop and I are stationed on the porch under a big beautiful Oak tree, while I’m sipping my coffee, listening to the creek trickle by.
  2. My two sweet dogs (Lilah & Bear) that I can “bring to work”, that I always wanted growing up but couldn’t have if I were to be gone for 10+ hours a day working under fluorescent lights at a stereotypical office.
  3. Pursue my dreams. Graphic design and photography bring me more joy and fulfillment than I can say. I have been given the opportunity to create every day for PartnerCentric without ever leaving my cozy home office and I’m able to take my camera out on weekends to photograph beautiful people and places to my heart’s desire. Working for an organization that empowers and encourages its employees to do what they love both professionally and personally is truly special.
  4. Time with my family. I get to start my mornings having coffee on the porch with my husband.  I used to just kiss him on the cheek while he slept as I left at the crack of dawn to battle traffic on the 405.
  5. Kiddos. Someday we will have little ones- this is one of my most favorite dreams to look forward to.  And when we do, I will get to be home with them for every sleepy morning pancake and bedtime prayer while sustaining the income of a full-time career. My mother is the most incredible, warm, loving, strong, independent, hard-working woman I know and she was a truly exceptional example of a working mom. That being said, she would have given anything to be able to be home with me and my siblings when she left for for the office each morning.  What a blessing that I will be able to have the career AND the time with my children during the work week.

This is what it means to me to live my why. It means not making myself small because they said I couldn’t have the home, the family, the dogs, the job, the fulfillment AND anything else I dreamt of for that matter. For some of my colleagues at PartnerCentric, living their why means traveling to thirty countries before the age of thirty or moving their family to a tropical paradise and working with toes in the sand. There are so many incredible stories to share but they are theirs to tell and if I say too much I’ll never get them to write about them, and for you to read firsthand!

Closing Thoughts

What would living your why look like? Whether you dream of running a Fortune 500 company, being a parent, solving world hunger, buying a home or all of the above, you won’t do it by staying quiet, living “small” and accepting the status quo.  You can have it all. You can live your why. PartnerCentric is shattering the glass ceiling that has been imposed upon us, and we invite you to grab your hammer and start swinging at yours too!