It was a heady and humbling feeling; kind of am OMG, this is it!  All of our work for the past year is about to culminate in a few days.
 Are we ready?  Yes!  Am I ready  Yes! (although I am still debating on what I want to wear).  

Patty was not impressed with my momentary power surge as she has been stressing out for 2 weeks now.  I tend to work off my to-do list and stay in denial about the significance of the moment until the moment arrives - then I freak out.  This time it started earlier due to the amount of support we are getting from our staff and the family of our staff.  Their excitement for us is breaking through my denial and planting me firmly in the reality that Coventry has been around for 20 years and that is pretty damn impressive in any-ones book.

One of the reasons I was trying to stay in denial is the reality of that "20 years" stigma.  "20 Years" implies that I am an expert and I should know what I am doing.... well I am an expert and I know what I am doing but it's not as impressive as when you are only 5 years in business and you are at this place.

"20 Years" implies that I should be financially solvent, if not wealthy.  It can imply that all it wants but Coventry still struggles with money and paying all of our bills. We live week to week and order to order just like the rest of you.  We just have been doing for so long we are a little numb to the panic.  I will say, however, that we have had some great mentors along the way and today we are only a week or two behind rather than several months.   We have developed strategies and measurables that keep us in the know and out of the "Surprise!  You have no money!"     "20 Years" gets us tp a place where we have seen and done so much that business isn't personal it is business; math, science and the psychology of human nature all rolled up into one.   

I had some fantasies of where I would be when we hit 20 years.   I didn't start having this fantasy until we were in business for 10 years, at that point I started thinking about our longevity rather than just getting through the day.   In my fantasy I, of course, was a size 10 redhead that stopped traffic and kept my wrinkles at bay.  (When you are 34, wrinkles as something you of course would never get because you would never let yourself go that way).    In my fantasy I was also living in my dream home, taking vacations, owning several successful businesses and I think I even put in "Rock Star" on that fantasy list.   

Here is the think about fantasies of the future, you think they are real rather than just something to shoot for.  My dream house when I was 34 was a McMansion that I could throw parties at every weekend.   My Fantasy house at 44 is a condo with minimal yard work, a room for my sewing and somewhere other than the living room for my kid to trash.    This pressure of "20 Years" is bringing to the forefront just how unrealistic I have been and how much I have been judging myself for not being in that exact fantasy place upon this date.    The prep for this celebration has been a healing and self forgiveness journey for me.  How dare the 24 year old golden child become a mediocre 44 year old.   I am only mediocre by 24 year old fantasies.    I am amazing, fabulous and inspiring by 44 year old standards!

I realize I have to celebrate not only the 20 years of Coventry, but the 20 years of my own evolution.   20 years of making right and wrong choices and surviving them all.  20 years of failures followed by getting back up again.  20 years of insanity with moments of clarity.  20 years of passion and dream building.

In the interviews Patty and I have been doing this past few months is came to me - my secret sauce, my super power, my formula of success; I love everyone.   I started my business based on loving everyone and wanting to bring peace and success to them.   I continued during the tough times because my employees and customers counted on me.  I stand today loving people and wanting to heal their pain, blocks and issues one candle at a time.  If I didn't have that I would have sold out or closed a long time ago.   I am here today because I have passion and I continue to look for that passion every day.    

I wish everyone at least a glimpse of their own passion, helping them to ignite it through out their entire spirit.

Jacki Smith
Coventry Creations