Four Life Lessons From Waco, Texas

I've been officially moved out for over two weeks. And that feels real strange. Yet as I sit here in my living room in Cusco with a little time to myself, I am beyond thankful for what my last home taught me. Waco is where I became my own person, and it's where I found my people. 

I moved to Waco in February 2014 to get some healing and space with a people and church I trusted and to work with Chip and Joanna Gaines before the HGTV show even aired. I lived with the sweetest family of 7 and eased myself back into normal life one day at a time. I look back at that time as one of the most formative seasons in my life. 

I am thankful for those who took a chance to take me in and became like family to me. I am thankful for the friends who stood by me and those who became new friends in the process. Each of you helped shape me into who I am today. 

As I reflect on my last few years in the sweetest little town and community, a couple life lessons come to mind. Who knew one place could teach me so much as I navigated life in my early - mid 20's. #wacotown, you've been good to me. 

1. It's ok to fail; there will always be people to help pick you back up again. 

I'm so thankful for the ways God let me fail so that I'd learn not to depend on my own strength or abilities (easier said than done). I've failed many times, but my most noteworthy season of failure occurred just after I graduated college. I couldn't find a job, I was in several messy relationships, and I felt as though everything I tried to jump to next suddenly disappeared and I was left empty handed yet again. But the people around me carried and loved me in ways I can't seem to find words for. Some were expected, others were not, but the friends and family God placed in my corner shaped me in so many ways. 

2. When small people gather around a great vision, big things can happen. Team work makes the dream work, people. 

When I first moved to Waco, I stared working at a tiny bistro table in the shop window of what would eventually become Magnolia Market. I was tasked with launching and setting up the retail store and soon realized I was in wayyyyyyyy over my head. I still think it's a miracle they even trusted me with their vision - such an incredible honor. 

By beginning of July, the business was bursting at the seams, but our little team worked around the clock to turn dream to reality. Chip, especially, challenged our team to eliminate the word "impossible" from our vocabulary, trusting things could get done if we tried hard enough and committed to a vision bigger than ourselves. And it worked. I learned a valuable lesson about hard work and positivity and realized I could do a lot more than I thought I could. 

3. Your 20's are for trying, and it's ok not to get it right on the first try. 

Oftentimes I feel guilty when I think about all the different jobs and positions I've tried in the last 4 years. I don't want to be perceived as an uncommitted millennial who can't make her mind to save her life. But a friend told me once that your 20's are for trying - no one expects you to get right on the first try. This truth set me free as I realized this is the time in my life to try new things, fail, try again, and then work to find the best fit!

4. Building history with people is more valuable than building your resume. 

I've been challenged to view success differently, recently. And rather than seeing it as a black and white concept, I'm starting to think success encompasses much more than we think. To me, it's not about building the best LinkedIn profile or perfect resume. Instead, I think it's about embracing life and stepping forward confidently and wholeheartedly, tending to our own hearts and staying committed to others around us. I've heard it said that relationships make people rich, and if that's the case, that's the kind of success I want to pursue. 

Waco, you've changed me, and I never thought I'd grow to like you as much as I do now. Thanks for the mems. I'll be back soon. 

The Millennial: Choice Overload & Fear of Failure

It's no secret that I like to try new things. Whether it's a new flavor at my favorite local ice-cream shop, a recipe in Food & Wine or some new trick or trade I found perusing online or through my Instagram feed. I think being in your 20's is for trying, creating, developing, failing and then trying again. Yet more often than not I forget failing is part of the process, not something to be avoided at all costs. 

As the oldest child in my family I often take on too much responsibility, assuming it's my role to fix whatever is in front of me at all costs. Anyone else relate? I often fulfill the classic stereotype: over-responsible, bossy, control freak older sister. It’s not that I mean to be that way, but something deep inside of me feels obligated to step in, reach out, help and solve the problem. But honestly I think it’s more than that – I think I’m afraid of failing. 

So when asked to commit to new things, somewhere in the back of my mind I'm weighing the possibility of failure and as much as I hate to admit it, I'm giving in to fear. I don't think I'm alone in this - it's not unusual to hear people talk about the millennial generation's aversion to commitment. 

I recently read an article about millennials and commitment. The author referenced several studies, but one in particular caught my attention. Two psychologists from Stanford and Columbia surveyed grocery shoppers in the early 2000's (hang with me for a moment here). Shoppers were asked to select a jam from six different options and then again from 24 options. Researchers found that more shoppers purchased the jams selected in the first round than the second and reported higher levels of satisfaction. Their findings seemed to indicate that more didn't actually mean more; the options inhibited choice, led to less sales and less satisfied customers. 

What does jam have to do with millennials and commitment? In the world of "choice overload" where millennials are encouraged to choose their own career path and make their own choices, there exists an underlying fear of commitment, and ultimately failure. It's as if there's a little voice in our heads begging us to select the right choice and motivating us by the fear of choosing wrong. 

And for someone who feels responsible all too easily, the fear can sometimes prevent any movement at all. I'm very aware of the reality that my choices matter, but I'm going to choose wrong sometimes, and that's ok. If failure is inevitable at one point or another, then let's choose boldly and commit fully, recognizing we are all in process together. 

So, let's try new things, but not stand in front of the aisle too long, mulling over each option in fear of missing the best one.