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ToriStuart-170hI’m in one right now and I haven’t mentioned a word about it other than to announce that the company I started, built, and ran for 10 years is now closed. My original goal in starting Zoe Foods was to make a difference in people’s lives by producing natural foods that not only taste great, but are also good for you. Given the thousands of emails Zoe Foods received over the last 10 years, the company met this goal. Given my other goal, and that of my investors, that Zoe Foods become a financial success, the company failed.

I usually see the grays, but this time, it appears to be black and white. In running a business, the financial milestones must be met in order to stay in business or the company’s mission cannot be carried out.

So in getting back to life transitions, closing a company is difficult – emotionally difficult that is. I realize now that Zoe Foods was my “brain child” and that I now have to let it go.

I have had to learn to separate who I am from what Zoe Foods was. I have been working on this for a while, and have come to realize that although Zoe Foods had a lot of me in it, I have a lot more to me than Zoe Foods. In addition to being an entrepreneur or business person, I am a daughter, wife, mom, sister, and friend. I have other interests that have lay fallow for many years as I focused the majority of my efforts on Zoe Foods.

I have been doing a lot of thinking on what’s next, and this time around I am approaching it differently. I’m not just looking for a new great idea. I have come up with criteria, based on my values, to help me determine whether an idea is worth pursuing.

Here’s what I came up with… ?I need to love what I do, not just the end result but the process, ?I need to enjoy who I work with, ?I need to be paid for the value that I create, ?I need to be good at what I do and yet always need room to improve and grow,?I want to work for myself, and ?I don’t want my business to require outside investment.

The more I thought about this, the answer became so obvious that I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of it before – photography. Photography has been a life-long hobby, and it’s now time to turn it into my profession. To this end I am working on putting together my professional portfolio and website in which I will focus on family and children portraiture along with corporate portraits. I will be starting classes in January because there is still so much to learn.

The ending of Zoe Foods now feels bitter-sweet, and I’m okay with that. Recently I was interviewed on life transitions and the interviewer asked me what my new goal is. It’s a terrific question and Ralph Waldo Emerson says it better than I ever will be able to:

“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends:
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived;
This is to have to succeeded.”


About Me

talks about the challenges I faced while running Zoe Foods for 10 years, and my current search for a new career that will also allow me the time to focus on being a mom to two little girls, a wife, a friend, and a daughter. I am trying to create more balance in my life, knowing now that balance among career, family, and self occurs over one’s lifetime rather than in each day. Please join me on my journey and share your own experiences.

Keep dreaming, keep believing, keep achieving.


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