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Happy Holidays and Thank You!

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This year is coming to an end, and I am grateful for all of the support shown “Love the Body You’re In”.  Engagement with the blog has been tremendous. Having said that, I still find it hard to manage all the tasks of running a business and finding time to sit and write. Thankfully, it is getting easier.

For the last blog of 2022, I’m focusing on gratitude. It’s sometimes difficult for me to see the things that I’ve accomplished and to be grateful and proud of my accomplishments; I tend to continually look to the next thing that I need to get done. The list sometimes seems endless. Looking forward is not a bad thing; but I remind myself that to see my way forward, I must allow myself time to take a breath and reflect on what I’ve accomplished, both personally and professionally.  I’ve always journaled, but this year I started a gratitude list and journal. Listing big and small things I’m grateful for lifts my spirits when I’m feeling down or tired or sick. These are a few that stand out for me:

I started working with a personal trainer in 2021 and continued working with her through the spring of 2022. The weekly sessions laid the foundation for me to continue strength training on my own at a local Y. As I age, I really needed to make sure I remain physically strong and active, not always easy but I do my best. In addition to my almost daily two-to-three-mile walks, I’ve since joined a water aerobics and strength training class. My goals for 2023, is to include weekly stretching and balancing exercising in my routine. I’m making sure I’m doing all of these things for my physical and emotional health! Oh, the challenges of aging! I’m grateful for my energy on most days and my ability to move around with relative ease.

On the social and emotional front, I’ve worked really hard on self-care (not the spas, mani-pedis type of self-care, although I enjoy those too), staying connected to loved ones; and when I feel it’s needed, by setting boundaries so I’m not feeling exhausted by taking on more than I can handle.

It was wonderful to be able to travel (Paris, New York, Martha’s Vineyard and home to Hattiesburg).  Most important for me are the loved ones (family and friends) I’ve managed to stay connected to over the years and the new friends I’ve made this year. I contacted Covid in September, and the help of neighbors, family, and friends (near and far) meant the world to me. I’m grateful to have family and friends who love me and remind me that I’m not alone.

Starting and running JTL Designs have been and continues to be a balancing act. Figuring out how to manage my time, my life, and managing limited resources is an ongoing challenge. I find that having resilience, grit and gratitude go hand in hand. I try to maintain the confidence required to build customer relationships, to create new designs and products, and to recognize or explore new opportunities. This year I’ve experienced incredible opportunities and relationships. I applied and was accepted as one of a 150 female entrepreneurs to participate in a five-month training program runed by the Center for Global Enterprise USA Women Entrepreneurial Cooperative. Through this program I received mentorship from Vivek Kikkar, who shared his knowledge, time and expertise to help me with growth strategy and refining my pitch deck, I received invaluable management, marketing and branding, and leadership skills from several business and leaders, all of which I continue to implement to ensure JTL Designs’ success.

Starting this blog (“Love the Body You’re In”) is one of the examples of work from this program, and I’m really appreciating the engagement of my readers.  I’m especially grateful my cohort of women who worked together and have decided that it is most important that we continue to support and help each other make our businesses successful.

I’m grateful for the part that others play in helping me be successful in both my personal and professional life. My confidence allows me to recognize that I have what it takes to succeed, and it also allows me to recognize that I must ask for help and receive it with grace. Resilience and grit are baked into my personality and are built from everything I know about myself, even from childhood and has always propelled me forward. It’s taken me longer to embrace asking for help. It is with gratitude that I’ve been able to truly believe that I can achieve any goal I set, and that I understand that I need others who help make me succeed just as much as I need myself.

To each of you who have supported JTL Designs and me by engaging with my blog postings, purchasing JTL Designs products, helping me with fashion shows and pop-up, and just encouraging me along this entrepreneurial journey, I thank you, I thank you! You bring such joy to me when you tell me how much you love a product you’ve purchased. You’ve been the life blood that keeps me going when things are not going so well, or growth is stagnated.  

I wish you all the very best in the coming year and encourage you, if you’re not already doing so, to join me in continuing my 2023 Gratitude Journal. I’m going to be realistic and do mine monthly. 

With deep gratitude,