#ThankfulThursday: Community

Ok y'all, I'm back for week two of this #ThankfulThursday series and I hope you're loving it as much as I am! Carving out time and space to be intentional about acknowledging the many things we have to be grateful for, and then expressing our thanks is a beautiful thing.

This week I want to highlight how tremendously grateful I am for the rich community I've been blessed with. If I am being totally real and transparent, I didn't start out in business with much of a heart for community.

Soon after starting my business, any time new planners in the area would start their businesses, I would often find myself struck with a sense of competition and resentment. It didn't feel good to have other people moving in on territory that I'd worked hard to gain for my new business.

Thankfully, God completely changed my heart over time and I eventually realized that there is only one me, which is what set my business apart from all the others. There was no reason for me to feel threatened or worry about what anyone else was doing, as long as I stayed focused on my own path. I could do me, and feel free to support others as they traveled down their own path.

At one point I had to deal with someone who was copying my work, and let's just say it was not a pleasant experience. Other people were coming to me telling me about what was going on, and it felt like more than I wanted to handle.

But here's the thing - eventually, God showed me that if my business was in his will, then I would be successful no matter what, regardless of what other people were doing. I'm so thankful that I experienced that shift in perspective because now I'm able to have great friends in the business who are close to me and I no longer feel threatened by them in any way. We can call each other to talk things over and talk about problems and that's been so valuable to me. It's been so nice to have people to talk to who know exactly what I do and what I go through - to share the highs and lows that go hand in hand with running our businesses.

I'm also incredibly grateful for the community of local area vendors I've cultivated. Something that I believe is very important for wedding planners is to surround yourself with people who will have your back at events, and who you can return the kindness back to as well.

I have established and nurtured great relationships with so many area vendors who I know I can always call on to help me out, and I think they believe the same about me too. I love being able to count on my core group of vendors for any event that I do, and I think that it's really important for planners to develop and cultivate those kinds of relationships.

Lastly, I'm extremely (and unexpectedly!) thankful for the online community I've found. Over the years, I've learned that there is good community and there is not-so-good community, which is why it's important to be incredibly discerning when it comes to choosing who you're going to surround yourself with. I myself want to be part of an online community of like-minded wedding professionals and business people who I can trust to operate according to that shared set of values and beliefs.

In the past, I've been a part of communities where everything was completely open and transparent and honest. On the flipped, I've also been part of communities where everything was secretive and people kept important information under tight lock and key.

That is just not how I am. If you ever ask me how much I charge for things, I'm going to tell you. If you ask me where I found a special, fabulous table cloth - I'm going to tell you! Some people are very closed off and that's just not how I roll, personally.

All of this is to say, I am a big believer in the importance of building up a tight-knit community around ourselves and our businesses and I appreciate you taking some time to read why I'm so thankful for the impact community has had on my life and business.

I'd love to hear about the ways community has impacted you, so feel free to share in the comments below!  And, don't forget to use the hashtag on social media #WDAthankfulthursday

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