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Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to find and refine my sense of style. 


It’s actually one of the things I told my husband I wanted to work on as a sort of resolution in 2021, before becoming pregnant and really just dressing for comfort and wearing whatever fit. 


After our son was born, my fashion choices revolved around what would be easiest to breastfeed or pump, so it wasn’t really until 2023 that I was able to refocus and start figuring out what I wanted my signature style to be. 


I think most midlife moms go through this at some point. We either hate all the clothes in our closet, wear the same five things, or have no idea how to dress our new bodies after having kids. For me, I have a totally different work identity than I do outside of the newsroom in terms of the style I want to convey, and the challenge is finding a way to feel empowered in both. 


Retailers bank on us being confused and pliable. A customer with no sense of personal style will simply seek what’s easy; the newest trends being displayed on mannequins and tables throughout the stores that fill shopping malls or your nearby Target. The famous scene with the blue belts in Miranda Priestly’s office in The Devil Wears Prada is more accurate than acting- the colors, silhouettes, and fabrics that we seek without even thinking were all carefully selected by someone in a room much like that one, from a pile of stuff. 


So how can some people take the same looks that are available to the masses and really set them off with their own flair, as though the mass-produced looks were somehow made just for them? 


It might come down to color or style analysis. 


Color analysis has been around for decades. I remember my own mother having a consultant over to our farmhouse when I was a child, armed with drapes of all colors of the rainbow and beyond, to help her find her ‘season’. I want to say they draped me, too, but I could not tell you what the results were. But my mother, to this day, stands by those results and very strict rules about what she believes she looks good or bad in. “I can’t wear yellow,” she’ll say, sticking to mostly blues and pinks instead. 


How funny to reflect on the fact that she was then a midlife mom, just like I am now, trying to find her sense of style while raising children. 


The 1980s and 1990s surge of color analyses was spurred by a book titled “Color Me Beautiful,” but it lagged in popularity for years… until recently. 


As the pandemic prompted many to trade in their business casual attire for simply casual work from home sweatsuits and athleisure, our shopping habits changed, too. Fewer in-person shopping trips meant fewer chances for the latest trends to entice you into a new section of the store or a new item into your cart. And now, as much of the world has gone back to pre-COVID standards of work and dress, shoppers are trying, like me, to find their own sense of style and remember how to dress themselves… and they’re often turning to TikTok or Pinterest for fashion tips. And what’s taking over TikTok in the last year? 


Color Analysis. 


This has been a big opportunity for app developers and small business owners alike. For Ashley Hedden, what would eventually become her full-time source of income, started as a quest not so different from my own; a yearning to find her own sense of style as a young mom. Before she would ever become a consultant for one of the largest color analysis brands in the world, she was a customer. 


“I had my third child in less than four years, and was just feeling kind of… gross about myself,” Hedden said. “I felt like all I was doing was looking at babies, spit up and diaper sand all the things, and I gifted myself for Mother’s Day a color consult.” 



Though apps and websites can give you an idea of what your ‘season’ and best colors might be, the best and most accurate results are said to come from a trained consultant, who uses a series of drapes that to the untrained eye may look like sixteen different types of green, yellow, or blue, but actually reveal what makes the undertone of your skin, hair and eyes pop and look their very best. 


“We were like… this is the wildest thing. Who in a million years would believe that wearing your best colors, that complement you, can make you feel so good? And as I just kept digging into it, I learned it’s more than just colors… this is about putting your best looks together. How do you pair your best colors with your best jewelry, with your denim? And then you add in your style, which takes into consideration who you are as a person… and how do you want to be perceived?” 


Hedden learned a lot about herself in that session. She is a Winter- think clear jeweled-tones like the beautiful berry fuschia she’s seen wearing in our interview. Her style- romantic classic… meaning she likes the frills, bows and feminine touches with a little structure to smooth everything out. 


“That's the law and order in my personality,” Hedden said. 


The law and order thoughtfulness meant Hedden wanted to learn all that she could about her newfound closet compass, editing down what didn’t suit her and analyzing each outfit she owned. It also meant analyzing other areas of her life, including her role as a pediatric occupational therapist, working with ill children who were close in age to her own- fulfilling… but sometimes, full of heartbreak. 


“Having that done, and having it be so impactful to me, it kind of pulled me out from this place of feeling like I'm just going to live in my athleisure-wear because I'm a mom, and then I go to work and I wear my scrubs, and I haven't taken my ponytail out for four years,” Hedden said. “Having that color and style consult pulled me out of a rut that I didn't really realize I was in.” 


Hedden went through the Post-COVID awakening so many of my guests so far have described, of wanting more flexibility in their work… more fun. I can’t think of a more sobering job during the pandemic than one at a children’s hospital to realign your perspective. When the world reopened, her husband’s job changed, too- going from a flexible work from home position to a lot of travel, putting more weight behind the pull for Ashley to take a different path.  


“From a professional standpoint, I was approaching a little bit of burnout, working in an environment of a hospital with kids who are ill, and having children of your own, definitely weighs on you,” Hedden said. “I’d been an occupational therapist for 14 years, and in an inpatient environment for ten years… I had sat for my board certification in pediatrics, which in our profession is one of the top tier things you can do, and that kind of proved to myself that I had the skills to be working with the neonatal population and in pediatrics…. And after that point, I kind of looked around and said, what’s next? What’s my next step?” 


What is it with us as a species that we always have to be striving for the next big thing? The next project? In my own efforts to become the best version of myself, I am in the middle of 75 Hard (if you’ve never heard of it, it’s a mental and fitness challenge that plays out over the course of 75 days) and learning a lot about how to put yourself into a growth mindset.


Basically, there are two sets of people- those who believe their identity, intelligence, and status are fixed and unable to be changed no matter how much effort is put in—and those who believe you can get better at anything, smarter, and change your future, through a growth mindset. 


Those of us always looking to the next thing are the latter, which is both a gift and a curse.

 

“Honestly, I didn’t love [my role at the hospital] enough to pursue something bigger and go after my MBA… that would kind of be the next steps for hospital administration. And that got me thinking,” Hedden said.  


Thinking about how transformative her own color and style session was. 


Thinking about how much fun the consultant seemed doing it. 


Thinking about how much fun it would be to do the same for others. 


“I have to give a shout out to one of my good friends in Austin, Texas, because she was working as a speech therapist as well, and she made this big leap and started working for this color and style company,” Hedden said. “I called her, and I was like, how did you even get involved? It just seems like you’re doing something that makes you so happy, and every time I talk to you, you are beaming and glowing and I want what you’re doing. I don’t know if it’s with your company, but I want to make a leap, I want to do something different.” 


The lingering thoughts were shut down almost as quickly as they started. Hedden called the company’s headquarters and learned there were no franchise opportunities in her region, meaning someone else had already claimed the area where she lives- an effort to reduce competition and confusion.  


“Well, that’s my sign,” Hedden said. “That door is closed, I’m just going to look for something else… maybe I’ll find another side hustle. But it just kept weighing on my mind.” 

She made a second call to headquarters, this time asking to apprentice or assist the current franchise owner for her region. 


It worked. 



“She, our franchise owner, is this amazing human who just has a passion for helping people really be entrepreneurs,” Hedden said.  


Hedden teamed up with four other women, working at first from her own home studio (her kid’s old play room) before eventually moving into a co-working space with her teammates. 

“Which is really fun, because we have coworkers,” Hedden said. 


At first, she stayed on as a part time OT at her hospital. With the risk of starting a new business, she didn’t know if she would have clients filling her books… part of the reason she used her home studio to start. 


“I remember opening my schedule and thinking, okay, if I have like three people for a week, that’s pretty good. Maybe I can keep that up for a couple of months,” Hedden said. “But I very easily, quickly, was able to start seeing 8 to 10 clients a week. It happened really fast, which was really fun.” 


Within three months, she had not only supplemented her family’s income, but she fully replaced her hospital income… and it was time to leave the hospital for good. 


“Timewise, I’ve got to be able to dedicate the right amount of time to this to be successful. I don’t just want to sort of do it, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right and be all in,” Hedden said. 


She attributes the almost overnight success to the groundwork her franchise leader had already put in, and the popularity of color and style in the Midwest where she lives. 


“There are definitely parts of the country where people are like, what is color analysis? What is style analysis? And they kind of look at you like you’re an alien,” Hedden said. “But around here, people definitely know what it is.” 


With the popularity of the service, we talked about oversaturation concerns (color pun not intended) and whether it’s a fad that will fade out (another color pun not intended). Hedden admits she’s experienced all of the new business jitters you might expect. 


“Initially, not at all, I was very excited, I thought it was an amazing opportunity, and that I would just do a little shift in life,” Hedden said. “But then I remember the night before I left for training, you’re gone for a week physically doing training, being away from my family and making the drive to Kansas City, I thought- what on earth am I doing? Am I making this huge mistake, is everyone going to think I am losing my mind?” 


When Ashley completed her training, there were 220 or so consultants in the United States, but just a year or so later, there were 350. 

“It’s definitely evolved, and they’re growing as a company, but there is also TikTok and Instagram and people learning a lot of things online and it spreads quickly,” Hedden said. “So with that, I think competition is always good, because that’s how businesses thrive and learn from each other. It has definitely allowed our company to expand and grow into a lot of other avenues, which has been really fun to be a part of.”  


Despite those initial fears, Ashley admits she’s more apt to leap before she looks… and she has never looked back.  


“If you had asked me, not even three years ago, if I would be doing this… I would have laughed and pointed to the 8 years of college I went through, and all the student debt I had to pay off,” Hedden said. “For me it is all about balance. Yes, I can still be a therapist- no one is going to take that way from me, it’s who I am- but right now, the flexibility of the schedule of doing color and style, and I’m still working with people and helping women embrace who they are, in a different way. I feel like it’s still very therapeutic, it’s just different.” 


In her first year, she’s helped a lot of people find their best looks; averaging almost one client per day through group events and one-on-one consulting. Though social media brings in a fair amount of clientele, most of her customers are brought in through referrals.  


“I think that's definitely a benefit of working with a big group; we can see these big parties together, but we have a lot of personal and private sessions too, that are one on one. And you build relationships and friendships with these people,” Hedden said. “I never in a million years would have met half of these people that I'm working with because we're doing such different things professionally, but to be able to connect with them and then they refer somebody else… that’s where the majority of those clients are coming from.” 

The influx of referrals is a testament not just to Ashely’s shining personality and kind approach; a color analysis is simultaneously a self-care and self-improvement activity that immediately pays off. 


“It’s something that’s very tangible. Once you see this, once you see that colors complement you or they compete against you, you can't really unsee it,” Hedden said. “It’s an instant- yes, that makes sense why I love these things in my closet, or why I love my prom dress, or why I picked those colors for my bridesmaid dresses… it’s something that you can definitely see.” 


And at our cores, we all want to feel that best-outfit, fresh blowout, perfect makeup confidence, no matter what we’re working with each day. 


“Everybody wants to feel and look their best… and if you can do itnwith a sweatshirt or a t-shirt from Target because it's in your right color and it's complementing you, that's fun, and it’s also very powerful,” Hedden said. “We see a lot of young teens and college-aged girls, and I just think, gosh, if I had the power of color, knowing what my best colors were when I was going through those teenage years!” 


Your season is set for life, meaning once you know your best colors, they won’t change, even as you get older, get a tan, or get highlights. Armed with all this knowledge, I had to ask- is Ashley constantly analyzing everyone she meets? Was she analyzing me over our video chat? 


“I get that question all the time, and the answer is no. I tell people, 100%, I’m not the color police,” Hedden laughed. “But you can tell when someone’s had their colors done, because they’ve got the combination, they’ve got their jewelry, they’ve got their hair, they’ve got their best denim on, and they just look polished, whether they’re just running to the grocery store or a gala. Those things do stand out.” 


I’m a different person in the grocery store vs. a gala… I always say I’m in disguise when I’m off the air. But as my personal style is something I’m actively working on, I have been actively considering shelling out the cash for a color consult of my own. The company Ashley works for uses the phrase curating confidence to explain its mission statement. 


“Knowing your colors is one part of it, knowing your style is another part, but ultimately the goal is to empower people to feel confident, and feel like you’re the best version of yourself, you know? Whether that means putting yourself together with your best makeup or your hair color or your clothes,” Hedden said. “If you look good, and you feel good, that does portray confidence. I think when people come, they’re looking for that a little bit.” 


Though men are catching on to color analysis, too, this traditionally has been a female-centered activity- offering a chance for women to bond and do something for themselves amid the chaos of running homes, demanding jobs and for many, like Ashley, new motherhood. 



“They're looking for a fun time. It's definitely one of those things that you don't forget, you go through with girlfriends, or you go through by yourself, and you're like, Gosh, that was just a really fun afternoon,” Hedden said. “And if you know someone who's had their colors, it's like a snowball effect. Even at the hospital, everyone in the rehab departments had their colors done, and it's so fun to talk about it… it becomes a relatable thing.” 


Curating community as much as confidence… through color. 


“I think ultimately people come in looking for a way to boost their own self-image, and they’re able to do it in a way that’s really simple.” 


The career shift has boosted more than Ashley’s self-image; it’s helped her family in ways tough to quantify. 


“The biggest thing that this shift has done for for me and my family is giving us flexibility- flexibility to block my schedule…  to be able to pick them up from school and do those things that I wasn’t able to do with a traditional schedule or even modifying my schedule,” Hedden said. “In healthcare, there are just a lot of things that you can’t modify. You have to be in a hospital working with patients when they’re eating, if I’m working on feeding and swallowing, that’s around eating time… there are just things you can’t be flexible around and that’s just the job. So, this change has definitely given me that.” 


Flexibility and financial freedom, now surpassing her hospital salary and projections for 2024 to be even better. 


“I feel like there are so many other opportunities within that company. First you learn how to do color consults, and then you learn your style consults, and then you learn your makeup and your advanced makeup… there are a lot of like continuing education opportunities within the company,” Hedden said. “I think what you make of it is really up to you. I know there are consultants around the country that specialize in men’s style and that’s what they do, that’s their passion. They’ll still see anyone for color, but their passion is doing men’s style.” 


As she hits her stride, Ashley is looking for her own niche, too. 


“As I’ve been doing this longer and longer, you kind of figure out what it is that you love most about it. Some people love doing closet clean ups, coming in and helping someone overhaul their closet,” Hedden said. “I don’t know if that’s going to be my thing, but I feel like as I’m digging a little deeper within the company, I'm kind of starting to figure that out.”

 

Now THAT is a hobby I can get behind, as someone who likes to cycle her closet once every month or two, due in part to my thrifting addiction. My fellow-thrifting friends who have gone through color analysis say it makes them more discerning shoppers, opting only to buy in their ‘season’ and simplifying their relationship with clothes. 

“If you are an autumn when you're six, you're going to be in autumn when you're 60,” Hedden said. “The colors that you love within that season, those can change. My mom and I are both winters, but different versions of winter… she looks her very best and feels her best in those really dark burgundies and pine greens, and I feel my best in more of the jewel tones.” 


But what if you’re like me, delulu and believe that you can wear any color? Ashley says people often come in with preconceived notions or confusion about what makes them look the best, as it’s hard to have an unbiased opinion of yourself.  


“One client came in and she definitely had an idea in her head of what season she wanted to be, and she told me straight upfront, I have in my mind what it is I’m going to be,” Hedden said. “So I go through the process, and my first job as a consultant is to get it right, but my second job is to help you see it along the way. And she and I got to the final reveal, and I asked her, are you seeing this with me? And she said- oh yes, I see it. I totally see it… but this is not the season she was hoping for.” 


“So we celebrated, we were all excited, we’re going to talk hair and makeup and denim and jewelry and how she’s going to put it all together… and she said, I have to circle back to my Instagram because I have a live feed going and people are voting on what season they think I’m going to be!” 


That’s when Ashley realized her client was an influencer… leading to even more referrals flooding her DMs. Turns out the two of them shared more in common than just being a Winter; they both initially thought they were an Autumn (and wanted to be!). 


“I remember thinking, oh my gosh, my closet is full of olive green because I love olive green and because olive green looks good on me, and in the consult, I realized I looked sick when I was wearing it,” Hedden said. “It was really easy to get rid of after my consult, but I needed somebody else to show me. Sometimes you’re so blind to what you WANT to see.”

 

She says that’s part of the reason online consultations or apps don’t always provide the best results. 


“The actual training in person is where it’s at, that is the deal breaker, that’s what sets our company aside from other companies, too, is having a hands-on experience,” Hedden said. “You want to learn from experts, and you want to learn from people who have done it and done it well, and I think our training team does that.” 


Ashley is living a more colorful life in more ways than one, and it’s something she wants everyone to experience, whether they become a client or not. 


I’m not talking about clothes here. 


“I think first and foremost, you need to trust yourself, because if there’s something you’re not loving about life or what’s happening, or you’re feeling like you’re stuck, you need to honor that and trust that you can do more, that you can do better for yourself, because you owe that to yourself,” Hedden said. “There are a lot of opportunities out there to do things that are nontraditional, and your friends and family are going to support you no matter what. They love you for who you are, not what you do.” 



Ashley admits she thought her husband would think she was a little nuts when she first thought of pursuing color analysis as a career, but the opposite happened. Not only was he fully on board, but he became a client (with the family discount, of course)- making getting the family out of the house so.much.easier… a perk that could not ever be quantified but all wives can understand! 


“I was convinced he was a winter, I’ve known him my whole life, we went to preschool together, and I’ve always seen him in bright colors and thought he looked really handsome,” Hedden said. “But he is an autumn. For him, it just totally transitioned his shopping and his closet… he can go into his closet now and put something together super quick, he travels all the time for work and he can get packed in five minutes because he knows everything in his closet is going to go together.” 


The support she’s received from her family, and the support she’s able to give back with her newfound freedom, has her beaming as bright as her favorite palette, and urging others to take a similar leap. 


“If you’re out there and questioning whether you should make a shift in life… I think you need to honor those feelings. For me, it was like I was missing something, and I didn’t even know what I was missing,” Hedden said. “Looking back in hindsight, I was missing that achievement… but I was also missing, who is Ashley? I am this creative person. I do love style and clothes and color and all of those things, but I was not my best version of myself. So I think to find something that is going to honor you, and make you who you really, truly are… for me, it balances out.” 


A more colorful outlook… all thanks to taking that leap. 


“I didn't realize what I needed, until I had it again.” 



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Last December, I had my first viral LinkedIn post.


While most people use the pending New Year as an opportunity to brag about their achievements of the previous 12 months, my post resonated with thousands because it admitted that 2022 was simply a status quo year for me.


I hadn’t won any awards. Didn’t lose any weight. Didn’t get promoted.


From the post: As I get ready to anchor my final newscasts in 2022, I am reflecting on the idea of resolutions. If I had made any this year, I would be disappointed in all the things I did not accomplish… I got through 2022. It wasn’t a banner year for me, and that’s ok. We’ll see what happens in 2023.


As you can imagine, entering a new year with that type of recap wasn’t exactly the momentum that allowed me to immediately chart a path to make 2023 any better.


I flailed for months. I felt the lowest I’ve ever felt at work, fresh on the heels of not getting a series of positions I auditioned for over the course of a year. I wanted to break out of the funk and refocus, but I couldn’t even pick a ‘word’ for the year to set my intentions.


In this text conversation with my bestie Tasha, you can see just how lost I was:



Then in February, a young reporter at my husband’s station was shot and killed outside of a crime scene. Dylan was Brandon’s direct report, and a former intern at my station- everyone in town knew him. He was the type of intern who you just knew was going to surpass you in the business; he was driven, talented, and hungry.


The survivor’s guilt ruminated through our household. How many crime scenes had I stood in front of over the course of my career as a journalist, and made it home safely? Why didn’t Dylan?


He hadn’t even seen his 25th birthday.


A few weeks later, days before my own 36th birthday, I made the first in a series of changes that may seem trivial, but I truly believe broke me out of the funk that I carried over from 2022.


I dyed my hair red.


Please don’t stop reading. I promise this isn’t a shallow post about appearance.


I had been toying with a big hair change for years- specifically going red.


The minute my stylist and friend Kristin spun the chair around to reveal my new look, after a lifetime of perfectly highlighted blonde strands in the most stereotypical television anchor styles, I felt a shift. It felt like rebellion and radical honesty all at the same time. After years of trying to fit a mold that I thought would make me more marketable in television news- and years of fighting the urge to make a big outward physical change- I felt electric. I had finally done something for me- not for the job I do- and it felt like a separation of church and state, a separation of my true self and my identity as a journalist.



I don’t think people believe me when I tell them that the reason I finally went through with it is because of what happened to Dylan, but it’s true. Why would we wait to do anything that’s within our reach? Tomorrow isn’t promised.


Changing my hair transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


A physical change can trigger a mental one, too, but it did take my mind awhile to catch up. A week or so after the big blonde-to-red transformation, we traveled to Arizona for my birthday and my birthday present to myself- Floor seats to Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour, night one.


I am a St. Patrick’s Day traditionalist, and fully expected to wear green to the show that night as I have for all of my birthdays. When I put on the outfit I had packed a week earlier in Orlando, I hated it. I hated everything I had in my suitcase- nothing fit the occasion. I wound up borrowing a pair of silver sequin pants from my cousin’s friend (who wasn’t even going to the concert) and feeling a little like I was having an out of body experience on the way to the stadium.

The anxiety was palpable. Traffic was awful. It was a Friday night- in Phoenix- and we didn’t really account for typical rush hour traffic… we certainly didn’t account for Taylor Swift traffic. It took us an hour just to get into the parking lot from the road leading into it… then we got lost trying to find the floor entrance and almost got separated in a sea of sequin-covered fans that filled every hallway at Cardinal stadium. We finally made it to the floor and our seats just in time to see Paramore play their last song as opening act.


Being there at the start of what would turn into the highest grossing tour EVER and not buying a single piece of merch will haunt me for the rest of my life. I regret this daily.


Every song was a surprise song. None of us- not a single person in the group of nearly 70,000- knew what to expect from one moment to the next. We didn’t know we were witnessing history.


During the Red Era, Taylor asked if we had ten minutes to spare, and I was immediately transported back to the Fall of 2021. Red (Taylor’s Version) was released while I was on maternity leave, and in the throes of postpartum depression and anxiety. I wasn’t a Swiftie when the original (stolen version) was first released, so I was experiencing the album for the first time as a new mom who would take daily walks and cry to the ten-minute version of All Too Well, my infant son tightly wrapped around my body in a cozy nap.


Surrounded by strangers, I cried for ten straight minutes. It was my birthday- a personal New Year- and it was like all of the pent-up emotion that I cannot find another word for other than grief? exasperation? restlessness? about the state of my self-actualization manifested itself in a physical release in the form of an ugly cry.


Why did I feel so unsettled? I was at my favorite artist’s opening night… and I was missing it. I wasn’t comprehending any of it. The fog from 2022 was still there.


The next day, my TikTok FYP was filled with clips from the night before, and I felt such regret that I spent so much of the 3+ hour show inside my own head.


Taylor Swift transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


I vowed after that day not to waste any opportunities to be fully immersed in what I love. In a lot of ways, being a Swiftie is being unabashedly yourself and fully immersed in your truth, and feeling like I missed out on the first night because I was in my own head was a wakeup call.


Lucky for me (though not so lucky for my credit card), I would get a do-over with Taylor. Not opening night or floor seats, but I had a ticket to see her again with my best friend in Kansas City a few months later, and I wasn’t going to squander it. Instead of being stressed about my outfit all afternoon before the opening act, I purchased it weeks after leaving Arizona- a pair of rhinestone Betsey Johnson sneakers that I’m obsessed with and a sparkly t-shirt dress that reminded me of the one she wore while performing Lavender Haze.


Before I could make it to KCMO, I got news a few weeks after returning home from Arizona that I was not selected for another position at work- the 5th opportunity over the course of two years that did not work out for me. It sent me into a bit of a spiral that heightened my anxiety to an unbearable point. I considered applying for jobs outside of the industry, jobs that would’ve in all honesty been boring, and not afforded me a platform to help anyone else, simply out of spite and despondence.


I didn’t sleep well for weeks. I was spinning my wheels on stories and purposely avoiding friends. I moved my desk in the newsroom to be away from everyone and did not speak unless spoken to. When station consultants came to town, I had no work to show them- I wasn’t proud of anything.


One day, I got up from my desk and asked my husband to meet me on a walk. Our newsrooms are a few blocks from each other. I met him on a one-way street and felt almost like I was having a panic attack, and I told him I needed to get on medication for anxiety, but had no idea how to start the process.


I first booked a telehealth appointment with a general practitioner, who very sympathetically told me halfway through our time together that though she agreed I needed to get on medication, she couldn’t prescribe it for me over a virtual visit. I’d have to come into an office, which, funny thing about anxiety, I couldn’t bring myself to do.


A good thing about reporters is that we have resources. I messaged a woman I’d gotten to know through a series of stories who happened to work for the largest behavioral health nonprofit in Florida, and she stopped what she was doing to walk me through what I’d need to do, step by step—she even called the psychiatrist she recommended to me to see if he would take my insurance, a phone call I surely would not have made on my own.

I felt relief before I ever got on the medication, simply by making the appointment.



Anxiety medication transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


I started taking a daily Sertraline (often prescribed under the brand name Zoloft) in mid-June. It takes several weeks for the benefits to kick in, so I was given a rescue medication for high-anxiety days, too. I used them quite a bit before the Sertraline finally settled into my brain and body and leveled me out.


Let me tell you- the ‘mild’ anxiety I thought I had? I now know it was simply not normal, and not worth living with for as long as I did. I’ve always been a high-performing, high-strung person, and I always thought I had to be- it was protection. It kept me sharp as a journalist. It kept me vigilant as a mother.


No.


Anxiety does not have to be your normal.


It’s not normal to be up at night, unable to sleep because you’re backtiming the day ahead of you, or doom-spiraling every worst-case-scenario in your life. Being ‘high-functioning’ is a fallacy. Now that I am leveled out, I know just how unhealthy what I thought was normal was. I told my psychiatrist that one of the strangest side effects I’ve experienced is feeling like I am forgetting to do something, because I am so used to functioning at such a high-level of stress.


Finally getting my brain on my side meant better sleep, better workouts, more energy, and more capacity to say yes to experiences I would’ve otherwise missed out on. Instead of holing up on my days off to recuperate from life in general, I started going for more outdoor walks, meeting new friends for coffee or lunch, and signing up for networking events.


Trying to meet new people when you’re coming out of feeling your lowest isn’t easy, and I really had to force myself to invest the time and energy in trusting the process. Eventually, when the anxiety medication leveled me out, I started to look forward to the busy schedule and all that came with it.


If your network is your net worth, my bottom line grew tenfold this year. I don’t think I’ve experienced a year with more new connections and friendships as an adult as I did in the second half of 2023, thanks to putting myself out there and attending conferences, mixers, and volunteering. I joined a second nonprofit board, two gala committees, and helped another nonprofit secure a $25,000 end-of-year gift. This paid off almost instantly, earning me a Women of Achievement Award through the Women’s Executive Council, and it’s still paying off in the form of end-of-year social events I’m being invited to for the first time… putting me in rooms of powerful, thought-provoking, strong women who I look up to.

Ramping up my networking and nonprofit work transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


Meeting new people in this community I’ve called home for a decade- and specifically meeting the women who make our city work and thrive- has made me feel more fulfilled as a person and journalist, and it has opened the door for me to tell some incredible stories. I wrote in my opening blog that the Barbie movie prompted me to start writing for fun in addition to the work I am paid for, and many of my Beyond The A Block interviews have stemmed from these networking events.


Writing begets writing. By practicing long-form storytelling on a regular basis, I’ve also co-authored a text book, knocked out a children’s book (stay tuned for 2024!), poems, and done some of my strongest news pieces of the year since starting BTAB. I now introduce myself as a writer as often as I do a journalist, and even if no one ever reads anything I put out into the world, I can feel a physical weight lifted from my body with every story I tell.


Every blog interview has taught me a lesson and helped me grow as a person, instead of the status quo I had grown to be okay with in the rut. It might be hard for some to understand why I would spend so much time and effort working on a blog and podcast that 1) doesn’t make any money and 2) isn’t leading to chart-topping reader/listenership, but it has given me a creative outlet I didn’t even know I was missing.


I look forward to sitting down and knocking out a post, and I enjoy the challenge of making each one better than the last.


Writing for fun transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


The basis of the blog is to tell the stories written beyond life’s lead- the second act that so many people are performing now at the mid-point of their careers (or mid-life, which often coincides with the former). Of course, when I launched this project, it led to a lot of questions- both internally and externally- on what it implied about my own career.

As previously noted, I was going through a very rough time at work for much of 2023. I questioned my own abilities, and my future as an on-air journalist, to the point of considering leaving my position and the business altogether.



I am at a point now that I can admit that the time I spent second-guessing whether I wanted a future in news was ego-driven.


It was my ego that made me feel slighted for not getting moved into positions I wanted, and my ego that made me consider leaving out of spite.


This wasn’t an easy thing to admit or even realize until very late in the game- as in, weeks before I would sign a new contract to stay in my position.


I owe this, in part, to my friend Nate, who is the type of guy that asks questions like ‘What are you looking forward to right now?’ instead of ‘How are you?’ at parties.


Nate, and everyone else in my inner circle, could tell I wasn’t the most jazzed about life for much of the year. At a party for our toddlers, he asked what I was interested in doing if I ever left news, and though it wasn’t the first time I couldn’t answer the question, it was the first time that a follow-up got my wheels turning.


“Sometimes, it’s easier to identify what you don’t want, and work backwards,” Nate said.


I knew I was at a crossroads in my life and career, and it was time for radical change- a literal one, or a mental one. I needed to figure out a way to be satisfied with my professional life and align it with my personal goals. But when I took a hard look at the things I didn’t want- a longer commute, starting over in terms of seniority or time off, micromanaging- I realized the position I was in was actually pretty great.


Two days a week, I work with one of my best friends and we get to put on a newscast that people love to watch.


The stories I get to tell as an investigative reporter create impact and change and help people. I’m given the autonomy required to produce these stories and rarely have interference to do so.


Because I work a nontraditional schedule, I have more time during the week to pour myself into giving back and using the platform I’d built as a journalist for more than 16 years to help others.


The only con I could list when forced to come to terms with my feelings about my job was that I wasn’t put into a position of higher prestige when I felt I deserved it- and that is an EGO problem, not a real one. Not having the more prestigious position in terms of title or daypart does not make my current position any less great.


Letting go of ego transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


After months of feeling unsettled about whether I would continue in my role as a journalist, I feel more at peace than ever having signed a new contract. My daypart as an anchor does not limit me in what I can do for the community, and it does not define my talent and ability to help others.

This sounds so obvious now, but it took years of clawing my way toward positions that weren’t for me to make me understand and come to terms with it. My plate is full, and my outreach is growing every day; I always have something to look forward to, and an answer for the next time I see Nate.


Making the decision to go all-in on my current role paid off almost immediately when my son got sick in November and had to be hospitalized due to RSV and pneumonia. I knew I had the support of my workplace to take as much time as I needed with him, and it solidified that I made the right choice.


That trip to the hospital was so trying. A toddler does not like to be tethered, especially to an oxygen tank in an unfamiliar room with an uncomfortable bed. The 3 days we spent in that room were a real test for our little guy and for us as parents.



After hours of struggling to get our son to sleep on the second night, I had hit a breaking point. My husband had gone home to walk our dogs and get supplies, and I begged him to hurry back because I needed to leave the room. It was the first time I had ever felt like I was going to lose my cool as a mom.


Within minutes of my husband getting back to the room and taking over, after a burst of tears by me, our son was asleep.


Even though he was the one who helped him eventually get rest, my husband took the time to boost me up and praise me for being a great mom.


Of all the achievements or milestones that marked a successful 2023, my partnership with B is the top of the list. 


My partnership with B transformed the trajectory of my 2023.


He helped me battle through the bad times, and cheered me on during the good ones. With every new networking event or responsibility I took on, he was there to pick up the slack at home, all while managing an extremely demanding job of his own. My confidence has grown as a wife and a mom, thanks in much part to his cheering me on.



What word would I give 2023, now that we’re at the end?


Transformative.


I changed my look, and my outlook. I took steps to become healthier by addressing my anxiety. I loaded up my calendar with opportunities to make new friends and make an impact, and I reframed my relationship with my job title and right-sized my ego. And though, in many ways, my end-of-year post from 2022 still holds- I haven’t lost the baby weight, I didn’t pay off my debt, and I didn’t get promoted—I know that 2023 was not a status quo year for me. It was transformative.


And with this type of trajectory, I know 2024 is going to be even better.



 

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Somewhere on the internet, there’s a Myspace page with the most emo-curated song lyrics, background music, and top 8 you could imagine—one I’ll never be able to recover it because it’s attached to my .edu email address from college that I lost access to before I could ever change it.


Being on the forefront of social media- and the internet, really- is just one part of the millennial experience that is hard for the generations before and after us to understand.


Elder millennials, in particular, were coming of age as Facebook was being rolled out one higher-ed institution at a time. We Asked Jeeves before we ever Googled. Before Reddit, we had Yahoo Chatrooms (Which… ew. SHOCKING what we would tell strangers in those forums!) And before TikTok, we Vined (well, some of us. It was ahead of its time and really a flash in the pan).


I was lucky enough to be paired as a freshman with a roommate who had her own computer, which meant WE had our own computer in our dorm room. I didn’t have a laptop until maybe junior year? I would either check my email and send a few ‘pokes’ on Facebook (what a wild feature, Zuck) once or twice a week at the tech lab or on my sorority’s community desktop. Smartphones weren’t a thing… I remember when my sorority sister, Tess, first got an iPhone and we would all take turns using it to listen to music… the rest of us would be pushing buttons frantically to text on our Razrs. There were no Bluetooth speakers to listen to as we got ready to go out; we would throw a mix-cd we ripped from Limewire and put up with the random shoutouts mid-song for the teen DJ who was putting the songs on the internet illegally from his mom’s basement.


This is the perfect example of the type of photo I would upload from my pink digital camera to Myspace after a night out in college:




I actually remember one of my classmates getting written up by the University and having his internet access blocked for streaming movies from Napster.


The kids that grew up begging to have their own landline phones in their rooms and can still remember the days before internet were also fully immersed in it by the time we entered the workforce. As a young journalist, I remember creating my first Facebook page and then after about 6 months on the job, after being basically forced to by our web manager, creating my Twitter account on the eve of the 2008 election.


Something else happened in 2008 that shaped the millennial experience as much as the internet; a nationwide recession. Almost as soon as we entered the workforce, it was flipped on its head as companies carried out mass layoffs, people lost their homes, and markets crashed.


For fellow elder millennial Lindsey Pesch, it was the start of what would become more than 15 years of straight hustle to try to prove her worth—and it all revolved around an online space that grew up with her.


“I came into the professional world right when social media was becoming a thing,” Pesch said of her early days working in a public relations agency. “Facebook was still just for edu accounts. MySpace was really popular.”


In fact, it was creating a client’s MySpace account that started the trajectory that would afford her 9 years of working her way up through that agency and then landing a corporate gig with one of the biggest, best-known brands in the world—Darden Restaurants.


As in, Olive Garden. LongHorn Steakhouse. Bahama Breeze. At the time, Red Lobster.


The list goes on and continues growing, with Darden just acquiring my favorite upscale chain, Ruth’s Chris. Drooling just thinking about their sizzling steaks…


Any city in America has a Darden Restaurant. You’ve no doubt eaten at one at some point in your life, and it may just be part of your regular rotation (unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks is pretty tough to beat).


With its headquarters in Orlando, it is still considered one of the top corporations in town- key to the hospitality core that keeps families traveling to our theme parks and hotels year after year.


After nearly a decade helping other brands build out their social media, Pesch knew she had the secret sauce to amplify restaurants that were already household names to younger audiences.


“I went to the interview completely chill. I was like, if you find another person more suited for this job, go for it,” Pesch said. “They needed someone to come in and build social for Olive Garden. It was a step up for me, and it ultimately it worked out.”


The move to Darden wasn’t made without trepidation. Going from an agency to a publicly-traded corporation, even to do something as fun as social media, forced Pesch to question whether she was giving up a certain lifestyle client-based PR work afforded her.


“I remember in my interview asking the person who was going to be my boss- do you guys have fun? Because an agency is so rooted on fun, and happy hour Fridays, and parties, and it’s a lot of hard work, but there’s so much fun that’s intertwined with it,” Pesch said. “Ultimately, it still was a fun atmosphere, but it was just a lot more grown up. There was a much more diverse group of people, some who have worked there for a very long time that had all this wonderful knowledge, and a lot of people that were new just coming in with new ideas.”


That synergy was coupled with better compensation and more resources; a win win win for a young adult on the forefront of a rapidly-changing social media landscape.


There was also the quiet part that Pesch is willing to say out loud—the instant brand awareness that would come from her explaining her job to strangers at parties fed her ego in a way that an agency just couldn’t.


“It feels cool. It feels cool for people to know what you do, and that you work for this big company and that you're in charge of this really sexy piece of it,” Pesch said. “That felt so fun and so cool. I would go to parties and I would really hope someone asked me like about my job. Like, I would think about that.”


For those of us who experienced our coming of age in the Boss Girl Era, ego and attachment to your job title is a real thing. Our work experience and professional accolades are so intertwined with the value we allow ourselves to feel. Being raised by a generation that would spend decades in one place until retirement- entering the workforce amid a recession which taught us we had to be the hardest working person in the room or risk losing it all- it created a hustle culture that only now are we starting to see unwind.


But back to 2014, when Lindsey was the first social media hire for the Fortune 500 company.


“Darden was really behind the times when I joined,” Pesch said. “They didn’t have a real social strategy, they didn’t have agencies that were managing it for them. It was just so wild to come in and be like- you guys are grown… what is this?”


She started with Darden’s biggest brand, the real OG (Olive Garden) and eventually helped build social teams for the other restaurants in the portfolio. Soon, as one of the youngest managers in the corporate structure, she was leading teams of her peers and creating a social media command center on what she described as the main street of the corporate complex.


“It was pretty impactful, because everybody sees that the second they come into that building,” Pesch said.


Eventually, her title would match her experience and oversight of the teams of her peers, becoming Director of Social Media for Darden’s 9 full-service restaurant brands. She led a team of nearly two dozen people pre-pandemic, and oversaw the creation of thousands of pieces of content per year, including work that would earn her honors and accolades within the company and national write-ups when Taylor Swift herself set off the Twitterverse with a mention of Olive Garden in her song No Body, No Crime in 2020.


And though she was able to be corporate-edgy from time to time… it’s still corporate.


“They’re a really good restaurant company. They know how to run restaurants. And it’s a business. So at some point you decide, do we want to be like Wendy’s or Taco Bell on social? Do we want to be known for cutting edge social? Or do we want to deliver to our stakeholders and on Wall Street and run really, really good restaurants,” Pesch said. “Sometimes, you can do both. But I think we decided as a company who we wanted to be and who we wanted to be seen as, and I just don’t know that over the years that they really wanted to be cutting edge or current. They wanted to be good at social, but it just started to feel different after a while.”


Those feelings got even stronger when the world shut down during COVID. Remember the formative experience of millennials entering the workforce during the time of a recession? Well now we were hitting the midpoints of our careers and the entire world changed. We were forced into a hard stop and pivot from the hustle culture that raised us.

“It was a really challenging time to lead a team,” Pesch said. “We lost about a third of the people- not from layoffs- but contractors and agencies that we worked with, resources that we didn’t have anymore. And it got very hard.”


Tough times at work seem even more insurmountable when you’ve seen just how good things can be. Lindsey started at Darden on the same year as the Pasta Pass- as in, never-ending-pasta.


“What we had in 2014, it was lightning in a bottle. And after a certain point in time, when you’re at a company for so long, you think back and say- how can we get it to be like that again? But you’re never going to get it to be like that again,” Pesch said.

She didn’t know it at the time, but it set a ball in motion that would have her reevaluating all aspects of her life, not just work.


“It almost happened overnight,” Pesch said. “I woke up and it just started to feel like, this job just feels hard. It had never felt hard before. It was always hot button and it felt exciting, it felt challenging, and now it felt hard, but not in a challenging way. It just felt hard to show up, and it felt inauthentic, which is not me.”


“I am known for being transparent to a fault… and feeling like I was faking it, and faking the fun, and faking the excitement- it felt wrong. It did not feel good,” Pesch said. “It took me almost a year to realize what I had to do.”


She described that year as dark- a depression-filled summer of 2022 that was only made brighter when she adopted her dog, Bru.

It’s true that dogs change lives. Hard stop.


“I was feeling depressed and anxious and just these really negative feelings, it was hard to go into work… everything felt hard, nothing felt authentic,” Pesch said. “And then I got a dog. I got a puppy… and that breathed life into me. The serotonin, the endorphins, literally shook me and made me realize that I had lost myself in this job.”


There’s a saying that I’ll botch if I try to rehash it that means something along the lines of an employee quits in their mind well before they submit their resignation. But even when you resolve to do something- the decision is made- when so much of your self-worth is tied to your job (as most of ours are) it is hard to untether yourself from it.


“I started to realize this might not be my forever, which, in the first five years I could not ever imagine… why would I go anywhere else if it’s comfortable? I’m having these great opportunities, I'm respected, I have influence, this is great,” Pesch said.


The pandemic’s impacts on the job market made it even more difficult to leave her comfort zone. She’d been a Director for five years, putting her desired compensation far out of reach of other companies that had made cuts during COVID.


“There weren't a lot of jobs, especially in Orlando. I wasn't really trying to relocate, but I was willing to if it was the right job and it was amazing,” Pesch said. “So I started looking outside of Orlando… and it became very evident that the jobs that I was looking for weren't restaurant companies; they were things that were passions of mine, my real passions.”


Pesch loves a good bowl of pasta like anyone else, but she’s into fitness, wellness, and community. She started applying places like Nike and Mattel; brands that aligned with the best version of herself- the version we were all forced to reckon with during the isolation of the pandemic.


She was immediately humbled.


“I didn't get the callbacks. I didn't get the phone call. I didn't get the interviews,” Pesch said. “It really opened up my eyes of, well, maybe I'm in the wrong industry, or maybe I need to pivot. If I do want these jobs one day, I need to get some of this experience.”

“I realized I needed to make a real pivot to either set myself up for a more authentic corporate career or just something different.”


I believe most people who experience this type of rejection, who have the option to stay put in a Director-level job, would simply do that.


Pesch isn’t like most people.


“I think the compensation and the benefits and the comfort of this company that isn't going anywhere, it’s really solid… it’s scary. It’s scary to leave comfort, right?” Pesch said. “I think one of my superpowers is, as much as I have imposter syndrome, I'm just kind of naturally confident… I just really went in confident, made my resume as strong as it could be, and just kind of let the universe take the wheel.”


But in social media and life, you won’t get anywhere without strategy or engagement. In January 2023, during a conversation with a trusted friend about the battlefield of LinkedIn and Indeed, Pesch created an LLC.


During more conversations through the spring, the pull to actually create something out of that LLC got stronger.


“I started getting these signs from the universe, and really positive feedback… everybody was so supportive. They're like, Yeah, why don't you do that? That would be really cool. Like, you should. You should live your life and you should be happy,” Pesch said. “Being happy is so much more important than money. I know it sounds ridiculous. Most people are probably rolling their eyes. But I was at a point of- if not now, when?”


If you believe in the power of attraction theory or the idea that you should befriend your future self, you already know that what you speak into the world will become your reality; a future version of you has already done the thing you’re stopping yourself from pursuing. The hype squad behind Lindsey started to drown out her self-doubt. She started to believe them.



In the summer of 2023, she walked away from her Director role at Darden to launch 110 Cadence, a social media consultancy that allows her the freedom to sleep in until she’s ready to get up, daily pickleball and hot girl walks, unlimited time with her dog, Bru—she’s truly living her most authentic life.


And without the parameters of a corporate workplace, Pesch isn’t limiting herself or her endeavors.


“I tell people this is my f*** around and find out era in my life,” Pesch said. “I’m going to sound like a psycho because I want to do social media consulting, and maybe I want to do voiceover work, and I'm building my fitness business… I'm teaching yoga, and I want to teach dog yoga, and I'm getting my personal training certificate, and I'm also doing crafting, and I want to teach cross-stitch classes…”


This went on until I jokingly (half jokingly?) asked if anyone thought she was having a manic episode.


“I was so sheltered in this very corporate world for so long… I would go to parties waiting for people to ask me about my job so we could talk about work, and we would go out with coworkers and all we do is talk about work… and I lost myself,” Pesch said. “So now I'm just coming to find truly what gets me excited, what makes me happy.”


“If I'm my own boss, why can't I do it all? If it all works, and it all is fun, and it feels rewarding, then I'll do it all.”


It’s hard to believe that going from one job to multiple hustles is actually a slower life, but when you’re the one in the driver’s seat, it’s a totally different game. Lindsey jokes that she went from being a Boss Girl, to a Moss Girl.


“They would call me Boss Girl Barbie. And it was just so very cute and wonderful… I'm so glad I have that experience. But when I was transitioning into making this new decision, I needed to let all that go and be responsible for me. And if that means rolling around in the grass, or sleeping in until ten, or going to the gym for 3 hours if I want; whatever my body, the weather, the universe is telling me to do, I'm trying to just lean into those feelings,” Pesch said.

As a forever Type-A, natural leader, it’s tough to cut off the hustle at the root. Lindsey has had to resist her natural tendencies of trying to develop leads and do outreach nonstop. Instead, she’s trying to spend more time with her dog, Bru, and in nature (with… the moss).


“You’re rewarded for that behavior. You get kudos, you get recognition, you get awards, you get raises for being that boss girl… why aren't we rewarding moss girl?” Pesch joked. “Moss girls deserve a trophy for just being so authentic and chill.”


Though Bru and the pandemic were definitely on the list of Lindsey’s reasons to leave the corporate rat race, there is something to be said for leading a department made up of a lot of Gen Z colleagues. Seeing how another generation approaches work/life balance is a disruptor that can completely change your mindset.


“We were all raised by boomers who have a very linear view of what career looks like, where you go to school- you get a good education- you work for a good company- there’s loyalty, and this is how people are mentally trained to enter the workforce,” Pesch said. “And then years of hustle culture and grinding… and then Gen Z comes and looks at us like, what is wrong with you? You guys are absolutely wild.”


“I think it broke us all out of this fog, this kind of trance that we were in... and it made us start thinking, maybe it could look like something else. I think someone, somewhere, will do a dissertation on the older millennial generation and what’s happened and why we all abandoned, and essentially changed, the corporate workforce in five or ten years.”


Over the last decade, I’ve worked closely with a lot more Gen Z colleagues. The news industry has changed so much, and though Orlando is now the 16th largest market in the country, many of our producing candidates are coming straight out of college or *maybe* have one job before coming to our newsroom. The way we have to structure our communication with each other, the expectations for how to dress at work, it all has to be tailored with the mindset that Gen Z is simply there to get paid (which… is what we’re all there to do, right?)- certainly not to climb the corporate ladder that so many of us are ingrained to believe we should.


“They have boundaries,” Pesch said. “They don’t check their email on the weekends. These are just things that we were conditioned to do… especially working in social media, right?”


I’ve checked my email, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok at least 189234721 times since sitting down to write this blog. In my second newsroom, the expectation was to be on email all.the.time and even now, 11 years after leaving that place, it is still very hard for me to disconnect. But I do feel like the more time I spend with my Gen Z buddies, the boundaries are rubbing off via osmosis. I think boundaries are a sign of strength- a sign you’re willing to choose yourself instead of being railroaded into taking on more than you have capacity to handle.


“No matter what generation you are, you have to set boundaries. If you are working for a company you need to have a real conversation with your leader and say, hey, I know I’ve been working really hard for you, and I don’t want to stop working for you, but I need to set boundaries,” Pesch said. “Get the mindset that it is a job, and they pay you, and you deliver X, Y, and Z… and then use that time outside of it to try to do the self-searching, to do the meditation, to do whatever it is that brings you true joy doing these things.”


Those joy-drivers are helping bridge the gap between clients, too. The yoga classes that would get Lindsey out of bed during her depression are now helping to pay the bills, and keeping her busy.

“I realize that as I build this business, the more that I can embrace doing what I love, and what I'm very good at, which is social media with brands and businesses that align with my core values of moving your body and fitness and wellness and health, it will be really amazing,” Pesch said. “I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to truly get back to teaching more consistent yoga classes… I find joy in teaching and giving that to people, making them sweat, building playlists and bringing my creativity out in that way. I’m very excited to be able to have more time and space to do that.”


Never one to fully sit still, Pesch is also studying to be a certified personal trainer. She’s also not opposed to bartending or dog walking to make extra cash.


“One of my favorite bartenders [pointed out] that people ask you what do you do for a job, but they don’t ask you- are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Do you have a good time? People don’t ask those questions at parties,” Pesch said.


So has she gotten over the ego-buzz of being asked what she does for work at parties?


“It's day by day. I'm not so aware about what people think. That was definitely something went away quickly. I had to make the decision and stand firm in this is what I'm doing,” Pesch said. “And actually, people have often said they’re so proud of me. So, the ego is still getting fed. Just in a different way.”


Her best advice?


“Get a dog,” Pesch laughed. “And your network is your net worth. I wouldn’t have felt so confident to do this if I hadn’t been able to go back in time to when I was younger, and I was really active in the community in different organizations, different companies, just putting yourself out there.”


Making connections in real life, and being truly social.


“It brought to life what was already there,” Pesch said. “It was lost, but it wasn’t gone.”


Connect with Lindsey @SewSweatSocial on Instagram!


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