New Beginnings

Posted April 11, 2014

This post was inspired by a lovely little piece of art I received as a gift. You can find this and other charming pieces at

It has been a long winter. We have all been impatiently awaiting its end. We know in our mind what winter’s end looks like. It’s that day when the temperature finally hits 60 degrees, the wind feels warm, the bite is gone, and the birds’ song is loud and clear. We can all identify it; we know it when we see it. That is the thing about endings. We can typically point to endings. This was the day, that was the moment, this was the thing. Beginnings, though, we often overlook. They get overshadowed by endings. Beginnings get lost in the mire of our daily lives.

You never know when a beginning begins. Beginnings tend to sneak up on us and we miss them. Beginnings are subtle and often hide in the shadow of an end. Spring has been on its way for a while, the birds have been courting and building nests under our frozen noses. The trees have been preparing to bud, but we miss it in our longing for the snow and cold to end. In our own lives a beginning can be as simple as a quick laugh over a breakfast with a colleague, a subtle gesture by an acquaintance, a restlessness that lingers.

I have missed big beginnings. The spark that led to ILLUME came over a few walks and one non-descript breakfast with Anne. We were embarking on something amazing and in many ways missed it. We focused so heavily on what we would have to end to get there that we lost a lot of the little joys that were part of the beginning. While we can actively point to when we launched and can readily speak to what it was like to be in start up mode, it’s harder to articulate that moment when we really began to move past start-up and into active building and sustaining.

Each new employee, each new project, and each opportunity that comes our way is a beginning. It is taking us to another place and ever solidifying this dream that is ILLUME. It is too easy to miss these moments, but in order to maintain our vision and to continue to make ILLUME what we want it to be we have acknowledge and reflect on each beginning. We must be aware of the beginnings that surround us, be willing to move out of our comfort zone to embrace the exciting, the risky and even the mundane. Today I vow to focus on the beginnings, to accept that they are a gift and that, if it is a beginning worth pursuing, all the endings that stand in the way can be overcome.

As we head into Spring I resolve to look for those moments more carefully, to be present in them and to actively follow them. As we take ILLUME in exciting new directions, I will remain cognizant of these subtle shifts so that our eyes remain wide open to all of the possibilities that lie before us.