This is the eighth in my series of 30 posts to friends, mentors, and teachers who have inspired me over the past few years. I hope you enjoy.

Dear S & L,

Ooohhh I miss you two! This time last year we were taking extended lunch breaks and furiously planning big, bold moves: new jobs, new cities, new boyfriends, new apartments, new, new and new. We were a little trio, constantly taking walks around the office, stopping by each others’ cubicles, beginning yet another “You will totally rock that interview/date/client- presentation” email chain. Your support helped fuel so many positive changes in my life, and I know now how very, very lucky I was to spend 40 plus hours a week working with you both.

I’ll start with your smarts — you are among two of the most talented twenty-something professionals that I’ve had the chance to work with. You both always stood out in our office — because of your ability to juggle so many projects so well and produce under pressure.  You were always in demand, with VPs requesting more and more of your time.

One of my greatest lessons at that job was learning about boundaries, and balance, and when to speak up and say, “Enough, I need help.” You were my “mirrors,” I’d catch myself saying “But S/L, you can’t be responsible for monitoring media coverage at midnight when you’re coming into work by 7:30 am the next day!”…only to find myself falling into the same habits trying to please a senior team member.

And slowly we all realized, each in slightly different circumstances, that speaking up for ourselves was mandatory — unpleasant and uncomfortable but completely necessary. I’ve carried that lesson with me, into my new job, and actually pretty much every area of my life. I’m so grateful that I learned when and how to politely and respectfully say – no more. Without you cheering me on and helping me when I hit speed bumps, I might still be stuck in the mud, flailing, working hours I hated — and terrified that I was 25 and already disenchanted with the corporate world and my career path. To give credit where it’s due, S, you were the one who pushed me to apply for a writing position and start freelancing, and soon enough I was on to greener pastures finally following my passion for writing with a little social media on the side.

I’ve been listening to this lecture while I drive to work by Marianne Williamson (another one of my spiritual teachers) and when she’s talking about going through difficult times her advice is: “Fly above it.” Because you two were on my team, everyday, without question, I was able to fly above dozens upon dozens up personal and professional situations that might ordinarily have bummed me out. You brought a welcome perspective to a lot of turmoil I was working through.

And here at my new cubicle, I have a dish from S that reads “Follow your bliss” and a goodbye card that says “My life is richer because you’re in it.” Right next to the most adorable Christmas card from L.

Ladies, Thailand and Chicago are lucky to have you. Thanks S and L, for being on my team, 100%, without fail.

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