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  • Writer's pictureMckenzie Nash

Did you miss me?

Hey! I know I know, it has been a very long time since I last made a post. There has been so much going on so let me fill you in.

As you may or may not have known, I participated in the Well City Challenge that started earlier this year. The Well City Challenge was presented by The Economy League and Independence Blue Cross to develop initiatives to address wellness in Philadelphia's millennial population. I developed an initiative called Shear Balance to bring Mental Health 1st Aid Training to barbers and hair stylists. Make sure you visit the Shear Balance tab on the website to see more about it and the Well City Challenge.

Long story short, I completed a 30 day accelerator program and presented Shear Balance and won a grant and the opportunity to participate in a 3 month intensive program to develop Shear Balance and pitch it for funding. That's where things started to get complicated. Back in April I took an opportunity with my job to work at another institution temporarily for 8 weeks. So for 8 weeks I drove 3 hours to Central PA on Sunday, stayed in a hotel for the week, drove 3 hours back to Philly on Fridays, and still worked my part-time job every other weekend. It was a lot. On top of that I was still participating in the Well City Challenge, interviewing for jobs (like taking Zoom meetings in the parking lot of where I was working on my lunch break) and eating out every night.

While those 8 weeks were overwhelming at times, there was some good. I meet some pretty cool people that worked at the institution, they treated me well (which was a concern being one of a handful of minorities out there), I also got the chance to go back to my alma mater, Penn State, a few times and catch up with some old friends since I was only 45 minutes away. I graduated from PSU in 2010 and probably hadn't been back since like 2012.

So 4 weeks into my 8 weeks on detached duty, I got offered a new job (actually I got offered 2 but I declined one). I waiting until my last week out there to give my job by 4 week notice. Since I had to quarantine for 2 weeks, I really only was back at my job for 2 weeks before my last day.

Remember, I am still in the Well City Challenge and working on developing Shear Balance. Well it's time for the final pitch competition and it is in the middle of the day of my 3rd day of training at my new job. Talk about stressed, but I got it done. While I didn't win the finale prize, I had a great experience and got to meet some good people.

Now I am 8 weeks into my new job, I am finally starting to get the hang of it. I am technically done training and feel like I am finally getting some normalcy back into my life. I also didn't want to put off the work I wanted to do with Shear Balance and The Heart to Heal any longer.

Here is what i learned during the past few months:

  • I can't do everything on my own. As hard as it is to relinquish duties and to entrust my dreams to someone else, I literally don't have the time or energy to do everything myself. My focus for the rest of the year is to put together a strong team to help further the missions of The Heart to Heal and Shear Balance.

  • Its ok to take a break. In someways I live off of chaos. I feel like I need to do a million things at once, even if I am completely overwhelmed. I am learning to decrease my number of projects so I can devote more time and energy to doing 1 or 2 things exceptionally vs half-assing a bunch of things.

  • Priorities change and that's ok. My old job was my dream job when I was in grad school. And while I enjoyed the work I did (most of the time), it didn't align with what I wanted my life to look like. It wasn't an easy decision to make but in order to align different areas of my life I had to make the change. It also had me questioning other areas of my life but that is a blog for another day.

  • Having a strong support system is a must. I am so grateful for the people that have supported me, H2H and Shear Balance from the beginning. From sending funny memes and videos to attending The Well City Expo, the support I have has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

So now that I have had time to take a break, process the last few months and reset. I am looking forward to piloting Shear Balance and growing The Heart to Heal. Thank you for your patience and support, it means alot to me.

Remember Healing Takes Heart, and so doe staking a break.

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