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Who Am I? – Part 1 (A personal and CK Story)
I mentioned to you in my introduction email that, before this year, I had been away from the day-to-day operations of our business for many years. It was a huge lifestyle change and honestly a really hard transition for me when I stepped away. Achievement and what I did was quite literally who I was up to that point in my life. I didn’t know myself outside of school or work.
I started college my junior year of high school through a dual enrollment program that was available here in Georgia. Credits for the college classes I was taking also counted towards my high school credits to graduate. I decided to take my entire course load at college my senior year of high school, graduated high school as my class valedictorian (a goal I set for myself in the 6th grade), took a full load at college that summer semester, then finished my associate’s degree in Chemistry (with extra credits beyond what I needed for the degree) that next year. I was 18 years old, ready to begin at the University of Georgia as a second semester junior, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Math and science came easy to me. Achievement was who I was. Surely I could figure the rest of it out.
I ended up leaving UGA after one semester because I was burnt out (shocker, right?) and lacked direction. Playing in the bigger pond of a major university, entering as a junior, and generally not knowing what was next in life created an environment that left me anxious and lacking in fulfillment. The business that is now CK began in October of that year, Craig and I were engaged in November and in December I left school to begin working with him to build what was then just an opportunity into a business. Looking back it is easy enough to see that I was running from something rather than running with purpose towards something new. But I was 19, in love, and excited about making a change. It felt right, surely that meant it was right.
I poured my achievement mindset into the life and business we were building. We became that young, successful couple with the cool story. We worked side by side (literally, desks side by side) for 5 years, mostly working 3-6 hours a day during that time, making more money than my never-to-be chemistry degree would’ve dared to offer. We ate out and went to movies in the middle of the day, found fun hobbies, and took vacations whenever we wanted. Achievement was still who I was, but this time I had a partner in it and it was a lot more fun.
Fast forward 10 years and I found myself burnt out once again. We were married, hadn’t had any luck starting a family, had both matured but in a weird bubble with each other nearby through the whole thing (we needed some space), and the business had grown to that awkward teenager phase. It needed to be led differently, and we had different ideas about what that looked liked. There was tension. I stepped out of the business then, not realizing that I was stepping right into the mess I had left behind by running for all those years.
[Confession: This story went in a different direction than I intended when I sat down to write. I have decided to go with it, but I will need to break it up into shorter pieces for better deliverability. Part 2 coming tomorrow. I hope you’ll stick with me.]
Today’s Product Updates from Rebecca:[Read more…] about CEO Daily Update – 10.7.2020