“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
This simple, yet insightful phrase was tucked inside the fortune cookie I opened recently during the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Excellence Awards luncheon. It couldn’t have been a more fitting phrase, and the timing was perfect. My team and I, along with my husband Dan and daughter Carly, were gathered at the Doubletree Hotel in Syracuse to celebrate the very special occasion of my first-ever Small Business Excellence Award. And that little slip of paper from my fortune cookie pretty much summed up the past ten years of my life.
By now, most of you who know me know that I was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 2002. After years of rehab and a series of difficult surgeries, I finally began to feel healthier and was motivated to combine my two passions—organizing and helping people—into my first business, The DeClutter Coach. With the help of some amazing friends and colleagues, like Dr. Pat and the staff at the Women’s Business Center (who nominated me for the award), my friends Sharon St. John and Roxanne Mutchler at the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center, and my Key Bank Relationship Manager Julieann Sylvester, I found myself accepting the beautiful glass trophy—a symbol of how far the business has come in just the few short years since we started. That little fortune cookie got me thinking about all those times I felt tired, scared or frustrated, but remained determined to “hang on” and keep going.
Hanging on—or, more specifically, waiting—seemed to have been on all our minds that day. As we drove out to Syracuse for the awards luncheon, the conversation turned to Disney vacations, and the various benefits and drawbacks of the amazing theme park rides. While my team members Michelle and Mary Carole discussed the merits of the “fast pass,” which helps with the customary long waits, I smiled across the seats at my husband and daughter, and thought of our oldest two, Shannon and Tommy, and all the fun family vacations we’ve taken over the years. I reflected on how true it is that the best and most rewarding things in life, just like the coolest rides at Disney, do take the most patience and perseverance. But they’re always so worth it.
For me, building my businesses and television show has sometimes been like waiting in those long theme-park rides—you’re so excited to be there and can’t wait to get to where you’re headed, but you know you have to be patient and take it one step at a time (although for me, sometimes the steps have come in giant leaps!) Through it all, I’ve been so fortunate to have my wonderful family inspiring me every day to be the best I can be, as well as my amazing team—Mary Carole, Michelle, Adam, Kate, Chuck, and Jim—who have shared their many talents with me.
As I look at this beautiful etched-glass award that now sits proudly in my office, I can’t help but wonder what lies ahead for The DeClutter Coach, DC Efficiency Consultants, Organization Motivation! and Organized in 60 Seconds. I know there will be ups and downs of course, and times where I’ll have to remind myself to just “tie that knot and hang on.” And I also know that no matter what the future holds, it’s going to be one amazing ride.