Dear Universe, Thank You.
I read somewhere that the purpose of life is “joyful expansion.”
It said, we are always expanding, learning and growing whether we’re aware of it or not, but the ‘joyful’ part is a conscious choice. The only way I know how to do the “joyful” part of growing is through gratitude… spoken out loud so the Universe can hear my praise. I’m saying farewell to my role at Fireside Production and starting my own digital marketing creative venture – Kristin Massoletti, LLC.
My legs and heart already hurt from the growing pains and I can see the outlines of a steep learning curve coming toward my windshield.
So, as I transition to a more fully expanded me, I thought I’d declare my gratitude for the four greatest lessons I’ve learned while at Fireside right here for you and the Universe.
Lesson #1: Adversity later becomes our Superpower.
I first met Naomi when I was an event planner at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. I had recently been promoted and had no idea what I was doing – but I never let anyone see me struggle. I was good at hiding my shortcomings. I was planning a 1000+ person Business Awards luncheon with no venue, no sponsors and a big budget goal to hit. Fireside swooped in to save the day and not only secured a large sponsorship but also provided 18 vignettes and the entire day-of production. The event got rave reviews, sponsors renewed for the next year, and most importantly, I looked like I was really good at my job… and that’s when I fell in love with Fireside.
We continued the partnership for the next three years. This is when I really got to know and love the Fireside team and Focus On You approach. It was so streamlined and enjoyable that I even built the online awards application process around it. Just when things couldn’t get better, Fireside asked me to join their team. Dreams do come true.
During my first official meeting with Naomi, she asked me what my life’s purpose was. I was prepared to answer the typical “where I saw myself in five years” interview question – not the existential meaning of my life. Crap. No wonder she’s an award-winning journalist.
I knew deep down what my purpose was but had never said it out loud – and certainly not to my future employer. I was newly sober and recovered from bulimia after a decade of addiction and depression hell. Being open, willing and honest were the keys that opened the door to recovery and freedom. My purpose was to be my authentic self and to reduce suffering by sharing my story. And as I opened my mouth to say these words out loud to Naomi, I started bawling. In a blubbery mess, I said I was a recovering addict and that I’m a liability to her. Not quite the same thing as in my head.
Naomi leaned in, never breaking eye contact with me and said, “What you see as a liability now will become your greatest asset… your past adversity is your Superpower.” And sure enough, she was right.
As I grew in my roles as Business Development Manager and later as Producer, my past adversity helped me connect deeply with interviewees, to be empathetic and to dig in. To not just ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” but, “What’s your life’s purpose?”
Lesson #2: Be the most prepared person in the room
Or don’t be. But if you choose the latter, it’s embarrassing, stupid and totally avoidable. Pay attention to details, read things in their entirety, think ahead and make a plan. Just be prepared, okay?
Lesson #3: Listening > Talking
Listening is always better than talking. This is not my strength… even up until the very end, I still would occasionally give audible “hmm mm’s” and “yeah’s” during interviews.
That means my sound gets picked up during a special moment or big share on camera. Deeply listening is hard. I’m still learning how to truly be an active witness to someone and not a participant. Which brings me to my last lesson.
Lesson #4: There is power in the pause
I’m impulsive – it’s one of the sticky ingredients at the root of an eating disorder and substance use addiction. The millisecond something is uncomfortable, I reach for something else to anesthetize. Both Fireside and recovery have taught me that there is so much power in the pause – just breathe through the discomfort. Witness it. It usually only lasts three seconds anyway. Same thing applies when interviewing someone. Some moments get super uncomfortable. Don’t start talking right away. You might ruin the best quote of the entire interview. Just pause, breathe, be in the void with the person. And sure enough, three seconds later the interviewee says the best damn thing everyone in the room has heard all week. Good thing you paused! I’m packing these lessons up with me as I carry on down the broad highway of life. Still learning and very grateful.