Birthdays get more calm as you get older, but I'd like to think that two things never change. The first is that secret dream that someone you care about will hand you small, neatly wrapped package that contains the best gift ever. The second is the quiet appreciation for such people that lingers after the candles have been blown out, and the party has come to a close.
Floricane turns 8 this November.
I could not have imagined this during my early morning drive from Luck Stone that first November morning. It was a week after Barack Obama had been elected, and regardless of your politics change was in the air. There was the residual change of the previous administration -- more than a million people a month were losing their jobs that winter in America, and there was tremendous anxiety. There was the promise of transformation, as well. The promise that somehow we could erase the wounds of our nations past; that purple -- not red or blue -- is the true color of America; that we could, in fact, overcome.
That November in 2008, surrounded by anxiety and hope, as a newly unemployed American and a new dad, I stepped into Floricane and into my future. It has been a marvelous, difficult journey.
My desire with Floricane has always been to build, and to build with other people. I've been fortunate beyond belief to have employed or contracted with smart and wonderful people who have contributed in genuine ways. Many of them have transitioned to new chapters of their own lives. (Thanks, Sally and Juliet and Cara and Tina! And Beth and Sarah and Jessica and Jim. And Matthew, Eleanor, Kristen, Carey, and Peter. And Josh, Caroline, Theran, Anne, and Julie!)
Several of them -- Debra, Lesley and Kathy -- remain at the heart of what Floricane is today, and what we are becoming as we grow and evolve.
In so many ways, like our nation, I find myself (eight years later) back where I started, and different. There are different anxieties, different hopes. The problems I thought my new business would erase have taken a new form. Excitement continues to surface with each opportunity to solve a problem, build a relationship, discover new insights into our community. The sense of possibility continues to outweigh the moments of doubt, of second-guessing.
Every day is work. Every day brings worry. Every day brings a new opportunity for renewal, and investment, and for curiosity, relationships and growth. Growing up is hard work -- for people, for communities, and for organizations.
At home, I still wake some nights and tiptoe into my eight-year-old daughter's room to make sure she's still there, and warm in her blankets. I've added an extra stop to my two-year-old son's room. I pause, watch their quiet slumber, place my hand on their heads, and reflect. Sometimes I whisper words of thanks. That these two kids have slipped into my life remains the bright spot of the past eight years, and creates a foundation for optimism about the next eight years, and beyond.
As for each of you, this letter represents a thank you, too. You have -- my clients, friends, partners, coworkers and acquaintances -- contributed in such significant ways to Floricane's continued success. You have been, and remain, bright spots for me, and for the Floricane team. We value our work with you.
We love what we do. Our work is the small, neatly wrapped packages. And the communities we engage are what we appreciate most long after the candles have been blown out. We are better because of you.