Bursting Into Bloom Part II

"Work with all your heart, because—I promise—if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom." 


So hopefully you read the previous blog, otherwise this one may not make sense.  I wanted to share a little bit more insight as to how I got to where I am as a Project Manager and a Wedding planner,  I recently spoke on a panel at JMU and it was something I learned through the question that was asked.  What question? Here it is:


"How did you get to your current role?"  Hmmm, interesting because I never really realized how I got here and why, but it's all making even more sense while reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book theories in "Big Magic." 


Let's step back to 2012.  I worked at a company in Education Sales, selling language learning software solutions for 6 years.  I started feeling like it was time to go.  It was my first job out of college and I needed a change and something else on my resume.  Luckily a company recruited me at that same time, a smaller education company and it was industry specific to Education which was what I really and truly wanted.  So I accepted an offer and left that Fall.  I was in sales again and it was going great but I realized something was still missing in my life.


Spring of 2014, I decided to hire a Career Coach.  By summer I was meeting with Kyle Laver in Harrisonburg, who I HIGHLY recommend.  We talked and did a few tests to gather information to help me identify if I was in the right career path or where I should be.

At this point I had been coordinating 1-5 weddings a year for 4 years.  I knew I liked it but was scared. I didn't have a certificate or background in event planning it was just part of my personality and who I was, I was even the President of the Party Planning committee at work.  I did everyone's birthday celebration! Just part of my life I guess and I was listening to the wrong little voice in my head telling me I wasn't worthy or perhaps it just wasn't time, and either way it's okay, but based on the joy and success my business is bringing me now, I am glad I stopped listening to that voice. 


By Fall of 2014, I was enrolled in classes at Blue Ridge Community College. Why? Well...while doing weddings and working full time in sales I thought I'd go back and get my Masters in Education or at least my Teaching certification because Kyle and I realized I would be perfect for the following careers:




Event Planning

Project Management



I remember when I called Kyle and said "hey!! I think I'm going to apply to school and pursue teaching from the list!" And she was so supportive and I was so terrified. This wasn't the first time I attempted grad school.  I applied in 2010 to Gonzales online Leadership Masters program, but that didn't work out, I just didn't follow through and that's okay because it wasn't good timing.  So back to Fall 2014, I took English and Marketing to get my self back into the school game and it was a lot for me.  I soon realized I wasn't ready to pursue teaching yet.  Don't get me wrong the classes were fun and I got As but life was drastically different and again I realized perhaps it wasn't the best time. Then I realized however simultaneously that I wanted to leave sales. A position came open at my company in December and it was for an Account Manager, it wasn't sales but managing existing accounts.  I am a relationship builder so I decided to make the move and from there some great things started happening. When I gave up sales which was making me stressed and miserable at the time, other areas of my life opened improved for the better. 


My sweet grandma however had her stroke in May 2015.  I was her Power of Attorney so I managed her care facilities and therapy and and took over her responsibilities.  It was a big shift in my life but I learned some tough lessons and experienced some things that would've eventually reared its ugly head in my life.  This is where I was not sure what to do or where to go, I was even thinking maybe I should be a nurse? I liked helping my grandmother and being around the health field.  I bravely think I can do anything in the world I want to, and I am a firm believer that we all should be able to feel that way.  However again, nursing wasn't my thing.


My small company was acquired by a much larger company, and that was great for the resume and I assumed meant some changes. Good or bad changes I wasn't sure but I'm a positive—cup is half full kind of gal, so I went with it.  Fast forward to now and I'm a Senior Project Manager and they redesigned our jobs and I'm soooo glad I stayed because it's exactly what I should be doing.  When I was younger and since my dad is a contractor I always wanted to be a Project Manager for job sites and construction however I get to work from home and don't have to wear heels and hard hats every day so I am happier with my Project Manager position the way it is.


Let's get back to Weddings though and forgive me for the length of this one.  After my 2014 weddings ended, a groom who was so incredibly encouraging wrote me a multiple page reference.  I just needed a quote or two for my website that I curiously built (and had no idea what I was doing at the time) but he outdid himself.  My heart burst and I realized that my little side hustle had more life in it than I gave it credit for and Kyle(awesome career coach) suggested I consider growing that area more when we had met but I didn't trust myself.  I started to ignore that negativity in my head and grew my wedding business while I thrived in my new account management position.


A lot of stuff happened since January 2015.  A LOT.  I fell in love with my full time job and stopped stressing over absurd work related things.  No one dies over Technology and software, and if they do, I surely didn't have anything to do with it.  I grew my wedding business significantly and tripled my small businesses earnings.  I built a wedding day Team! I learned a LOT. A lot of lessons and experiences with both jobs.  I realized that it's OKAY to love something and be passionate about it, even if it doesn't pay the bills or give you health insurance.  I learned to find a way to have both and love both.  I also learned that when you meet with a career coach and there are multiple jobs out there for you, it's okay do to some or all or none!


This year my word of the year is #Transformation and I'm doing a LOT of that. Physically, mentally, and even with my business mindset.  As you probably realize, I am going to take joy and celebrate today and always that right now, everything does feel right and I get to have not one but two jobs I love.  And I get to have benefits and pay my bills.  Two reasons to work with all my heart day after day after day so I can burst into bloom. 




Jessica Lail

It's Your Day Wedding Coordinator, Harrisonburg, VA, USA