80 hours a week is probably, on average, what I have worked the last five years, and at the end of the year, I realized I was hitting a wall, and it was no longer substantial. I didn’t write or share because I had nothing in me. I lost my voice, and I think to be honest, it is all for reasons I couldn’t see at the time.
Also have been living what seems like a life, not in alignment. Afraid to show up. Afraid to share. Afraid of hurt. Afraid of failure. Afraid of judgment. Afraid the thoughts in my head won’t ever stop. Afraid of worst-case scenarios in perhaps every aspect of life. I have always felt different and like my brain is wired differently than most. I have been in crowded rooms with everyone knowing me but have felt completely alone. I think maybe a lot of us feel like this at times. We just don’t admit it, and this is all not easy things for me to share either.
And to be honest, I am still learning to lay all that down, but even me sharing and writing again in a public way is perhaps a big step in growth for me. Perhaps I feel like someone else needs to read this. Because being afraid doesn’t mean you stop showing up and doing what you know you are meant to do. A was once a bold soul, and I am finding her again little by little.
Someone else is alone. Someone else is afraid to create a change. Someone else is single or is thinking they need to be for balance and alignment. Someone else is afraid to show up. Afraid of judgment. Or just in a season of misalignment, and I want them to feel and know it is okay and with making change it takes time, lessons, and points of confusion to get there. I really believe things. All things happen for a reason. Doesn’t happen to us but for us. If it’s a season at times, you just have to learn to sit. Trust and keep your palms open. If it’s not a season but a choice, you have to decide how you want your “story to write.” I know first hand we don’t know how long we have here, and deep, meaningful experiences are what I crave.
Why did I lose my voice and stop writing? Stop sharing newsletters? Well, I was over capacity for one. I have had to learn to be okay alone single and learning to hold the weight as the head of the household. Unless you have kids and are single, you don’t get this, but it was a new weight I had to learn to hold. Financially providing alone, handling the house, all the things. Learning to be Mom and Dad in my house.
Layer in… having employees, overhead, companies that were thriving and growing, and companies also that were taking impacts from the economy and suffering. It was a constant being dialed in and feeling like with one wrong move, and I wouldn’t make it. I am still undoing that too learning to feel safe again. I did a lot of it to myself with my choices. Points of clarity and other seasons of pure confusion. Again, I think all for reasons. But you can’t help others when you feel like you are drowning. I also chose and stayed stagnant in the wrong environments too. Other things were never a choice of mine and why I am where I am. ALL of it, I think, was for purposes that are beyond me, and I am grateful for every high and low. Feeling darkness allows you to feel like. It also allows you to help others authentically, feeling darkness and knowing going back towards light. I have an old soul and I feel like I have lived some much live in my 36 years.
A lot of growth, and I am just stepping into a place of alignment. To be honest, there is a weight to doing what I do. Eyes. Expectations. Questions. I have often wished I was a complete unknown. That I never started a blog at 21 years old or had eyes on me. And in the same breath, I know there are reasons for ALL of it, and I know I am being used. And EVERYTHING has had a purpose, and even me sharing this, my prayer is someone else will relate to this all and create change where they need too. It is not a comparison but rather motivation.
I did make the decision to publicly change my name from Dickerson to Gayton, which also had an impact. And so many also thought I got married, which I didn’t! This is my maiden name. I do have a cute boyfriend that is so right for me, but no, I did not get married. I was just going back to just me.
Almost a decade ago, START was born! It was a dream I so blindly leaped on out of pure passion! 88,000 thousand planner orders. 88k. That is insane. LIKE MIND blowing. Because probably something you didn’t know is I was told I couldn’t. So we bootstrapped the startup with no cash. I was told it would fail. And there were days and many moments I doubted and thought that might happen, I almost threw in the towel on dated planner as well. Because of the margins and if you only knew the issues and things, we have navigated. And looking back on the last decade, it has probably almost failed countless times. My fellow business owners get this statement. Because if you own a business, it is literally learning how to navigate problems all the time. Mistakes happen. People leave. Prices and buying patterns change. The one thing you can bank on with owning a company is the nature of it will continually change.
If you are new here, here is a little short story. 2009. I started a blog to write, share and connect along with a newsletter. I was a young mom, married at the time, had a wedding photography business, and the blog became an outlet to share life, weddings, and business tips… to be honest, I was just trying to find my way. Words have always been a way that I have felt called to help others and connect. I don’t delete past posts or that aspect of my life because that is exactly me and where I was. All of it is part of my story and me.
From a business perspective, have always approached business/finance differently. Let’s call it systematic and so I started teaching finance and showing other creatives how to brand and market. I realized there was not a planner that encompassed all. So we created it. Tear out grocery lists, monthly budget pages, health components, goals, life, and daily/weekly setup to maximize productivity and countless other things. When I say we… a community did. We launched preorders on a product that had not been produced from garage floors and home offices.
This little idea grew from a garage floor to our first lease to enabling us to buy a building in Alpharetta, GA, where it became a million-dollar operation. My first book put me on stages, TV, and other places giving me the ability to impact. And my hope and prayer is over the years if I get to connect, I hope it’s positive.
Then COVID, economic shifts, and even my own life started pulling me from a company that was started off with pure passion. Outside looking in y’all see many companies and probably don’t even know what Kristy does. The reality is when a million-dollar company starts sliding backward, it’s hard to control. You have overhead. Warehouses, hard costs on inventory, employees, and those things hit deep. I didn’t just get bored the last 4-5 years. I became the sole provider for my children, and I hustled because I had no other choice. I created opportunities and continued to go against the grain and not listen when I was told no to things. lol. I ran tight margins everywhere and hustled to make ends meet on time. I don’t believe in debt, I believe in leverage. I leveraged myself everywhere and required myself to operate at a level that eventually wore on me, and I realized I couldn’t keep going at that rate, BUT I also found myself in a place of financial freedom of being able to choose where for so long I didn’t have a choice. I started selling and exiting when I felt called to. With starting to lay things down, I almost laid down DATED planners too. Because so much has changed, and the margins have not been there in a couple of years. But big adjustments were made, and a new approach was to bring them.
People ask me if I use planners…. I use technology and have shared digital calendars, but I eat, breathe, and use planners. If you know me, I am ADHD, so I need it too. I have made so many mistakes, and I have been the one needing grace to as well. What I do know for a fact is that planning is important when life is going well.
But when it is hard, and you feel like you are drowning.
Your health. (physically, mentally, spiritually)
And you can’t sleep because your mind is going. You are alone. You have two options. Fold or start digging and planning. You learn to create lists. You learn that strategic planning is the only way to drive yourself anywhere. What you don’t know, you learn. You turn off the TV and get to work. You miss out on things and commit to a better tomorrow with sacrifices today. You dig deep, you feel different, and your friend group gets smaller, but you actually feel less alone in that process. You learn that shutting out the world, their opinions, and all the people that tell you what they think you should do is just projections of their own experiences, and you learn to give them grace, but you freaking GO on what you know you are meant to. That purpose, passion, and callings.
You learn that no one is coming to save you, but God does have a plan for you. We all have voices and purposes; it is just a matter of learning how to move/act. It’s just hard to silence it all. Even a decade later, and with 88k planner sales under my belt, you are still terrified, and you choose to do it anyway because you know you are meant to.
I am so thankful for the lessons. The journey and the last 60 days of work that has enabled us to create a 2024 Dated STARTplanner. “We” are not done yet. I am not done yet, and the START community is getting ready to feel Kristy in a different way. You can ONLY preorder, though, and it’s a very short window, so if you want one, don’t wait!
Grateful for it all!!!! And I am going to continue trusting and stepping from here as boldly as I can. If nothing else, then perhaps someone else leaps too.
Here are some images looking back!
With stepping towards a place of alignment we are offering a limited number of 2024 Dated planners for preorder only.