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  • Writer's pictureNicole Provonchee

Extending Grace

Before launching Bright Blue Consulting, I spent the last 20 years navigating a variety of marketing, communications, business development and strategy roles across a half-dozen companies. A lesson I learned after a career in (mostly) marketing: you need a compelling story and you need to get it in front of you audience with regularity.

So, when I launched Bright Blue, I made a commitment to myself that I would lean into email marketing as a tactic to reach my (hopefully) growing audience on a regular basis, thereby building my brand and standing at the ready when people and companies needed my awesome services. I promised myself that I would send out an email newsletter each month, regardless of the distractions that work and life might toss my way.

I met my commitment each month. I was able to bob and weave my way around the various scheduling challenges I encountered as my business grew. And then May 2019 hit.

May marked the end of the school year and the start of the patchwork quilt that is a summer schedule for working parents. There were multiple school events to attend, business development tasks to complete and new clients to onboard. The month was full.

May also marked the start of a new journey: It was discovered that my mother was facing a health crisis. Bad news was followed with better news, which was then followed by a complex surgery and an all too familiar nightmare of a messy uncoordinated healthcare journey - all about 300 miles from my home. As June approached, we ended this phase of the journey with a positive long-term prognosis and started the longer road of recovery and a new normal.

And so kicked off my experience of being an unenthusiastic member of the "sandwich generation" - a term given to those of us who sit in the middle of a tug of war between caring for young children and aging parents at the same time.

May also kicked off a renewed sense that I needed to reconsider my relationship with Grace. In short: Grace and I have a complex relationship. Mostly it knocks quietly at the door and begs to come in while I ignore its kindly worded requests and barrel forward with the demands of life and work.

In May, Grace kicked in the door. We agreed to try out a new little dance where I leaned into offering myself the Grace that seems to flow more freely from me to my children and clients. I (mostly) listened when Grace told me to lean back into the self-care that comes more easily when things are going well. I gave myself the space to lean on others as life got even more messy and complex than usual. And, I skipped May's BluePrint newsletter (I am sure all of my subscribers noticed!)

Through my own life experience and through my work with dozens of clients, I have found that most high-achievers may be able to extend Grace to others, but they find it harder to extend Grace to themselves. The drive that got them to the place of success where they currently reside often has little time for being gentle with the hiccups, messiness, stumbles or failures that work and life throw our way.

My lesson: Sometimes drive needs to take a backseat and let Grace navigate for a while.

Nicole Provonchee, founder of Bright Blue Consulting, is an executive coach to women professionals, their teams and the companies that employ them. She also helps business create strategic plans that actually work and are easy to communicate (a key part of making them "actually work.") She speaks frequently on topics relevant to leaders, with a focus on empowering women leaders at all levels. She lives in Nashville with her two sons and husband and would love to start a discussion about what Bright Blue Consulting could bring to you and your company.


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