The last four to five years have been an interesting journey for me, much of which I have documented on this blog.
I turned forty-five this summer. For twenty years, I have been an attorney. For forty years, I have known I was going to be an attorney.
Who decides at the age of five what they want to be when they grow up? I adored my grandfather, who was a lawyer, and decided that I wanted to be like him. Decision made, with no other thought or analysis.
I spent my career as a lawyer representing large financial institutions; first as a litigator, and then as a transactional attorney.
In hindsight, it is clear to me that I devoted too much of my life to these institutions. While the relationships with the people with whom I worked daily are very important to me (and always will be), I eventually realized that my loyalty to these institutions was not returned.
About five years ago, there was a perfect storm of events that occurred which really caused me to question my path in life. The economy tanked and some might say that the institutions for whom I was so proudly working helped to contribute to the difficulties that our country now faces. I lost one of my clients. I turned forty. I wasn’t particularly happy with my life and who I had become; I was stressed, tired and grumpy much of the time.
For the first time, I asked myself what I really wanted to do with my life; or, as some have put it, what I want to be when I grow up.
Here I was at forty, going through the analysis I wish I had done at eighteen.
I met with a life coach. I spoke with everyone in my life seeking advice. I read everything I could put my hands on that could be remotely applicable to discovering my path.
I worked on improving myself – inside and out; one of my favorite posts, Fortytude, chronicles some of my efforts as to the “inside”.
I started competing in races and triathlons. I committed to a regular yoga practice and, in doing so, I fell in love with yoga; not only with the physical aspects, but also with the gentleness, kindness and compassion of the yoga community and the healthy living community in general. I found it so appealing that people could do something for a living that they were passionate about, and at the same time contribute in numerous ways to the greater good of the community.
Over the next several years, I struggled with how to combine my passions of being healthy and doing something meaningful in the community. I became active on a number of boards in Savannah. At the same time, because of my background in franchise finance, I found myself coming back to the idea of owing a franchise.
I couldn’t figure out a way to satisfy all of my goals and use my experience and skill sets I had developed. Being a vegetarian and a believer in non-processed foods, I could not be passionate about many of the franchises with which I had worked.
Early in 2012, I was reading one of my favorite healthy living blogs, Peanut Butter Runner, and was looking at a picture of a lunch that Jen had prepared. The bread used was Great Harvest Bread, which triggered my memory of the Great Harvest that I used to regularly visit in Wayne, Pennsylvania fifteen plus years ago.
Curious as to whether I could order the bread by mail, I went to the Great Harvest website.
I re-educated myself on the quality of their product. Great Harvest whole grain breads are made from five ingredients: wheat (which is milled in the store that day), water, yeast, salt and honey (or other natural sweetener).
The Great Harvest mission statement jumped off the computer screen at me. “Be loose and have fun! Bake phenomenal bread. Run fast to help others. Create strong, exciting bakeries. And give generously to others!”
And then I saw the tab that would change my life … “Franchise Opportunities”.
I still struggled a bit though. Could I manage this and my law practice, which although reduced, is at times still demanding? Is Savannah, home to Paula Deen and fried foods, ready for this healthy alternative?
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place when I decided to speak with a friend about the idea. It feels woefully inadequate to refer to her as a mere friend. I am so fortunate that I have several women in my life who are beyond that to me. This particular friend is one of those.
I knew she was in a transitional phase, as was I. What I didn’t know was that for years this friend had dreamed about owning her own business, even to the point of driving around Savannah and looking at locations. What I couldn’t have realized was what a blessing she would deem this opportunity to be, and the incredible enthusiasm she would contribute.
And so, with much excitement and a little bit of fear, we move forward.
Savannah – are you ready?
Great Harvest is coming to you in 2013!