Surrounded by Awesomeness

The other morning, our foreign exchange student was flipping through AFAR, one of the few magazines I continue to subscribe to because, quite frankly, I just can’t keep up with all of the magazines I love. The latest issue focuses on food from around the world and related experiences, and while the topic doesn’t interest me so much, my reaction to the magazine was typical. One of the first things I did was flip to the contributors page, and then I scanned the masthead. Why? Because I’ve gotten to know so many people in my industry that I like to see who is writing about what and for what publication.

I am constantly impressed by the opportunities my friends and colleagues create for themselves or are given, and the stories that result because of these opportunities. In an industry that has the potential to become competitive and catty, I celebrate others’ successes because it keeps me jazzed up about my own work, and it inspires me to do more, work harder and stretch my skills to become a better writer and editor.

Being a business owner and hustler of my own work, I’m constantly being reminded that I need to “network” and “get out there.” The fact of the matter is, I’m not always comfortable with networking in the traditional sense of the word, but it is easy for me to meet people over a glass of wine or coffee in a much more casual, one-on-one or small group setting. When this is the case, I suppose I’m networking, but what I’m actually doing is catching up with people with whom I have a common interest and career. It’s when I see the bylines of these people that I become giddy. Perhaps it’s because I know they struggle in their jobs like I do, but they have dreams and aspirations that make those struggles worthwhile. Being in the presence of these inspiring people—people I call my friends—is nothing short of awesome.

I love what people can achieve. Flipping through a magazine, recognizing names, admiring their photographs, appreciating their words … these are things that make me proud.