Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

Coaching and consulting. Something's calling. It's your life.

Where Are You Going? Look at Where You’ve Been.


This past Friday, April 10, marked the one year anniversary of Our Real Work.

Cue the cake, champagne, and fireworks. Or something.

Is one year of business a cause for celebration? What does one do to mark this kind of milestone? Why notice it at all?

Milestones are useful check points. Often when we’re busy working toward a goal or simply moving forward through a process or period in our lives, it’s hard to see how far we’ve come. We get stuck in the murky middle of where we are or we look ahead at how far we have yet to go. Milestones give us an opportunity to pause and reflect, notice progress, get perspective.

Celebrate and honor.

Jess MIW

Me at a business retreat in January 2014. Getting ready to launch Our Real Work.

So, Our Real Work is a year old. Looking at the day to day, I might judge my business by my current income or the number of human souls I serve. Is it where I want to be? Am I doing enough for others? What do I need to do better? What’s going okay?

But pausing at this milestone, I have the chance to look at what I’ve accomplished: this website; this vibrant, thoughtful group; these offerings. I’m doing work I’m deeply connected with.

And it’s not just business. Milestones crop up all through our lives—birthdays (just had one of those, too), anniversaries, first steps (and all those other baby book notables), graduation, the first holiday without a loved one, retirement . . .

Milestones can be markers along the path or transitional crossroads. Either way I believe in honoring these events. Maybe a party is in order. Or maybe just some quiet recognition.

Look what I can do that I couldn’t do before.

How far I’ve come.

What I’ve accomplished.

What I’ve survived.

Take a deep breath.

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My local business mastermind ladies: www.somaspirit.com & www.bodylovebyemily.com

Acknowledge where you are. Look back to see how far you’ve come. Look ahead; check your course. Be honest about where you headed, what you need, what you know and don’t know. And then take the next step, toward that next milestone.

While I’m paused here at my one-year milestone, I want to thank everyone who has been with me on this part of my journey—my business peeps who have supported me and helped me focus my ideas and bring them into being—and all of you who read my words, join in my conversations, and take steps with me to becoming more real.

What milestones have you reached recently? How did you mark the occasion? I’d love to know (and celebrate with you) in the comments.


  1. Yes, we are celebrators. We celebrated our 10th anniversary (more than a year ago now) and rented the Depot and threw a party! Why don’t people throw parties after they are married? We have friends that haven’t made it 10 years (or 5, or 3). This is an amazing thing- it would be so easy to throw in the towel sometimes. And, like you said, the things we’ve survived. Moving across the country, twice. Brain surgery. Small business 1. Small business 2. Kid 1. Kid 2. House 1. House 2. Not necessarily in that order. These are huge things. So, all this is leading to: for the party, we printed off around 300 photos of the last 10 or so years. We hung them all around the Depot for everyone at the party to see. The amazing thing to me was the friends that appeared in those photos. The ones that were there through all 10 years. The new friends we’ve met since our wedding. The ones that were in the photos but not at the party. The ones that weren’t in the photos but were at the party. The friends that we’ve maintained may not have been the ones I would have guessed had you asked me at our wedding, but the friendships are amazing. And they are a big part of what has helped get us through that list of huge things we’ve done in the last 10 years. At the party, I was actually thinking about the 20 year party. My daughter will be 12, my parents nearing 80, which friends will be in those photos? What huge things will be added to that list?

    • Christie! Apologies, I just found this comment today:-/ However, it totally made my evening! Your way of celebrating life and your lives together is so heartwarming. Heck yeah to more parties. And looking forward to hearing about the 20th;)

  2. Today I reached the milestone of having lived longer than my older brother who unexpectedly passed away February 2014. Yes, part of this weird mourning journey included figuring out the day when I would reach this milestone. To commemorate this I drank our favorite beer – Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. We are the only people I know that drink it so it was our beer. I am also going to take flowers to his grave and cry a lot

    • Mary, I just found this comment today. So sorry for the delayed reply. What a HUGE milestone, for a lot of reasons, huh? Sending you such good thoughts. The world is lucky to have you in it. Here’s to memories and living the legacy, friend.

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