squash blossom pie

Gratitude in Business

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. — a holiday with a hugely problematic history, but a generally nice message buried under the centuries of racism and colonialism.

Also, pie.

I’m not equipped to totally unpack all of the history that goes into it, but as a nation founded by puritans, we Americans have a tendency to believe that hard work = success. That if you are successful, you worked hard to get there. (And, conversely, that if you’re not successful, you didn’t work hard enough.)

While it’s certainly true that hard work often is an ingredient in success, it’s also true that you can be successful without doing much work at all (see: Kardashians) and that you can struggle even when you’re working as hard as humanly possible.

Many of us had a great deal of privilege that served as a stepping stone to our success — myself included. When I started this business, I had a husband with a full-time job and great benefits, a house, a savings account, a college education, reliable Internet service, a relatively new computer… I could go on and on. (And I have white skin. Which is a whole other article for another day.)

The point is, while yes, I worked hard to get where I am now, I also had a lot of help along the way, tangible and intangible. And so, in celebration of this problematic holiday of thanksgiving, I want to offer up some gratitude:

  • To Tommi Wolfe who referred me my first client.
  • To BSchool, which offered me a community in which I first used my “show up and be useful” marketing tactic to good effect.
  • To Teri Vannoy, who has been with me practically since the beginning in one capacity or another, and is now blowing my socks off weekly as our project manager.
  • To Emily Klopstein, my first VA who encouraged me and helped me grow.
  • To Andra Coberly Webster, who taught me how to be a journalist.
  • To Marie, Meg, Katie, Karyn, and Beth who are the best damn crew a woman could ask for.
  • To Sarah Ancalmo-Ashman, who saw greatness in me and for me way before I saw it myself.
  • To Tara McMullin who has been a strong mentor and a good friend for years now.
  • To Jessica Mehring, Natasha Vorompiova, and Millie Blackwell for being my solid as a rock mastermind group.
  • To Tanya Geisler who has taught me to trust my muchness.
  • To my mother, who taught me everything I really needed to know about sales, and my dad who taught me to dream.
  • To my husband, who, after my first year of blogging didn’t go so well, challenged me to triple my income in year two.
  • And to my daughter, Devyn, my tiny zen master since day one, without whom none of this would ever even have occurred to me! I have and would move mountains for you, my darling girl.

And, maybe most of all, to YOU! Whether you’ve been with me for years (Holla back! I know there are a few of you!) or just found me last week, whether you’ve bought everything I’ve ever offered or just come to hang out, whether we’ve met in person or have never spoken…


This only happens because of you, our audience, our clients, our friends and our colleagues.

I was honored to be included in a special episode of the “What Works” podcast this week on building gratitude into our business practice, and I’ve shared that below.

But gratitude, for me, goes beyond the tokens of appreciation, beyond the cool folders and swag, beyond empowering my team to send flowers or gifts.

For me, gratitude has to start with the very way I approach running my business. With the knowledge that but for certain people, certain events, certain privileges I’ve enjoyed, none of this would be possible. It starts with a deep and healthy humility in my heart that as much as this business has served me and my family, it should also exist to serve. That’s why I employ other moms looking to build a life the way I did. That’s why we donate to causes we believe in. That’s why we believe in a feminist business model that says we don’t spend all our time trying to grab a bigger slice of the pie…

We just bake a bigger pie.

Happy pie day, and gratitude to you all, from all of us at The Content Direction Agency.

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