The new year is only a week old and already I’ve had two significant professional transitions. The first is that after several years as a small business owner, I have sold my business. The second is that I’ve returned to my journalism career as editor of a local newspaper. It’s been a whirlwind of change and learning, and it’s been exhausting, but it’s also been exhilarating.
Life as a business owner was not new to me. Thirty years ago, in the pre-internet era, I owned a franchise business. It was fun and challenging and I loved being my own boss. Most of all, I loved interacting with my clientele. As an extrovert, I draw energy from interacting with others. I also was a sole owner and, while the risk was solely mine, so was the reward. I was also very young and had a growing family, so there were personal challenges as well. Overall, I’d say it was a wonderful experience.
This time around, I had a partner and we built our business from the ground up. No consultants to guide us, no corporation to hand us marketing materials and promotions. Although the risk was greater without a corporate safety net, it’s been fun to see our business grow from an idea into something real and valuable. A big challenge for me was spending most of my time in my home office. I missed the client interactions and being alone was depressing at times. The experience did teach me to be more mindful of self-care and to plan outings and lunches with friends and colleagues. The partnership also taught me some valuable lessons about myself. As someone who is a pleaser, I often yield too soon to others’ desires and opinions. My drive to get along and be liked can be stronger than my need to stand up for what I think and what I know to be a good solution. I look for compromise or, if there doesn’t appear to be a good one, I’m inclined to give in rather than push my agenda. And while it’s good to choose one’s battles carefully, I too often choose to just walk away.
I’ve also learned that partnerships can be difficult and challenging, but the best ones are those where both parties feel heard and valued. Differences of opinion can be a good growth opportunity and as long as there is trust and respect, those differences needn’t become make-or-break. It is in the struggle that people can draw closer together. And in the end, the reward was building something of value that we could successfully, and profitably, pass on to someone else.
So where am I now? For most of my life I have been passionate about writing. Words fascinate me with their power to move minds and hearts and to effect change. These days, journalism gets a bad rap. As with anything, there are bad apples that spoil the bunch. But for most journalists, the responsibility and privilege to enlighten, engage, provoke, educate and entertain weighs heavy. It may seem cliché but being a voice for those who have none and providing a check on the powerful in society and government is a calling. I am excited to spend more time telling the stories of real people and events in my community. I’m also thrilled to spend more time out in the world, observing and reflecting back what I see and hear.
I’ve been lucky to have several careers in my life. Each one has led me to the other and each is a reflection of a part of myself. Writing is the thread that has run through it all and the thing that feeds my soul. It is the best expression of myself and the way I can best share myself with the world. So, onward to the future. I look forward to sharing more of this new chapter with all of you. Happy New Year 2020!
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. A former small business owner, she is the current Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville. Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world. The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at http://www.jewishobservernashville.org .
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