To those scared of trying something new,
I wrote to you last year right before the new year started.
At the time, I told you, “I feel like I jumped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and I am searching for land. While I am a good swimmer, I don’t know how far I can go or how long it will take me to get to the coast. Plus, there are quite a few sharks out there. That’s what it feels like to jump into uncharted waters.”
For me, uncharted waters represented my new business, The Unsealed.
My company was barely a few months old. I was scared, but I also explained to you that I believed in myself. And as terrified as I was to start my company, I told you that we should all go after our dreams because it’s even more terrifying if we don’t try at all.
However, I wrote all this before I knew what chaos 2020 would bring – before I ever heard of COVID-19 and before a global pandemic turned the world and its economies upside down.
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Just two months after I wrote that letter, my nine speaking engagements in March alone were canceled. My plans to spend all the holidays and birthdays with my family for the first time in years went out the window. And fears about what could happen, both personally and professionally, quickly began to fight for center stage in my everyday thoughts.
Thankfully a conversation I had years ago with Ron Harper, a five-time NBA champion, who I call Uncle Ron, kept echoing in my head.
About ten years ago, I was frustrated with my career. It wasn’t progressing the way I thought it should. My dad asked Uncle Ron, who is a family friend, to talk to me. He knew I’d listen to someone who won five NBA titles and played with Kobe and MJ.
With his golf buddies sitting beside him at the diner in my hometown, Uncle Ron asked me what was going on.
I explained and he quickly responded, “Just keep working.”
I told him I was working hard and I felt like I was hitting a wall.
Without pause, he said, “Ok, well, work harder.”
Feeling like he wasn’t understanding my situation, I continued to vent and told him about all the roadblocks I faced.
He said, “Listen, whatever the challenge is, JUST KEEP WORKING. That’s what people who become great do. No matter the situation, they keep working.”
This year, in 2020, as the world seemed to be crashing down around me, I kept saying to myself, “Just keep working. Just keep working.”
It was not easy, but I did it.
I am proud to say this year The Unsealed shared some incredible stories from so many amazing people. Former fox news anchor Gretchen Carlson told us why women need to stop being nice and start being loud. A holocaust survivor shared with us how to break down cultural barriers. Brian Cuban, brother of billionaire Mark Cuban, opened up about stepping outside of his brother’s shadow.
When the pandemic hit, a groom wrote to his bride how postponing their wedding doesn’t change their love. A high school senior told his classmates how proud he was of how they’ve responded to unprecedented circumstances. A man who battled addiction explained how he managed to stay away from substances despite the added stress of 2020. And a single parent at risk of losing his job shared how and why he remains positive for his kids.
But the pandemic wasn’t the only headline of 2020.
In June, people began protesting across the country, demanding justice and equality for people of color. We shared letters from black people, who opened up about their experiences with racism. A high school student addressed his community and explained why he wishes his country would act more like his peers. And in another letter, a black mother wrote to white mothers, pleading for their help.
All the while, we still published letters that shed light on an array of topics, including mental health, parenting, and going after your dreams. I even wrote a letter to my very first boyfriend, finally expressing how I feel after more than 20 years of knowing him.
Our letters reached far and wide. The Unsealed has been viewed in 182 countries and has been picked up by many major news outlets including TMZ, People, The New York Post, E! Online, ESPN and The Indianapolis Star.
I also started a weekly live interactive show on Zoom called Unsealed Conversations and began public speaking via the internet.
This year I adapted to very difficult circumstances and I didn’t just “keep working.” In 2020, I worked my ass off. The company grew immensely and helped people worldwide. Now, we are on the cusp of launching a brand new and improved site that makes me burst with pride every time I look at it.
As this year comes to an end, I will admit, I am still scared. I am still swimming in uncharted territory, as I wonder how I will continue to grow this company and further its impact.
But after 2020, instead of retracting the advice I gave you a year ago, which was to go after what you want, I am doubling down on it.
2020 certainly wasn’t easy. However, it showed me that my Uncle Ron was right. If you are lost or stranded or a hurricane hits you while you are in the middle of uncharted waters, if you just keep working (really freaking hard), you will eventually find your way.
Thank you to everyone who supported The Unsealed during this crazy year. I love you all.
Happy New Year!