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Guest Blog: A New Chapter – by Megan Kristel

By November 13, 2015No Comments
Often, we find ourselves going down paths we never intended when we first set out on our journey. Somehow, along the way, we lose our focus and allow others to influence our decisions and direction. I found this blog “A New Chapter,” by Megan Kristel, owner and CEO of Kristel Closets and writer of The Well Dressed Life, as she shares her decision to start a new professional and personal path. 

Does this sound like you? Can you relate? Tell us your story in the comments below.



Megan and Girls
photo credit: Laura Eaton Photography


When I started Kristel Closets, Inc. in 2006, my intention was to love my work, help women feel confident and architect a lifestyle that would allow me to find professional satisfaction and personal fulfillment. While the business was in its infancy, I had two infants of my own. I wanted to have a career and be present for my girls (Maddie and Ava, above). A few years into the business, the  “balance” I so desperately sought became more elusive.

When our personal client work proved successful, I wanted to know what was next. I listened to experts, mentors and gurus who all told me it was time to diversify our offerings. They said the best and most profitable way to do that was to serve corporate clients. It made perfect sense, and I started to say yes to projects outside my original scope. I remember thinking I would be willing to give up my time at home if it meant my family had what they needed. Making sure we had a home life that wasn’t stressed by finances was a top priority for my husband and me. I quickly gained some impressive corporate clients and began traveling all over the country. However, I found myself creating and delivering content that the client wanted, not necessarily my branded content. I realized I hated, with passion, most of the work I was doing.

Still, I took the philosophy of saying yes to everything and figuring it out later. It worked. The business grew, and I was making great money. I had become a sort of chameleon, doing and saying what others wanted to fit in and get clients. I thought all this was normal growing pains, that I was simply finding my way, and that I should be delighted with our success, but I felt deeply unsatisfied.

Even when my instincts were telling me almost every day to reevaluate the business, I kept going. I was quite literally chasing money all around the country. Nothing I was doing was in alignment with my true self. Over the last 12 months, I was on the road for 16 straight weeks, gone two or three nights per week, twice. I was doing work I was at best lukewarm about, not taking care of myself, and desperately missing my family.

I had two moments that gave me great pause over this last year. The first was the morning after Christmas. I looked in the mirror and did not recognize the exhausted, puffy, bloated woman staring back at me. I gained 20 pounds. I weighed the same amount I had weighed the day before I had Maddie, except I wasn’t pregnant with a full grown baby. My horrible appearance was of my own doing. When I was working, I would starve all day and then eat something terrible at the airport. I drank entirely too much wine. Constant stress and worry left me fatigued and was made worse by my travel schedule. You could see my unhappiness all over my face. As many of you know I committed to a healthier lifestyle, got my fitness and body back but my discontent was never too far from the surface.

The next moment, the one that made me put the brakes on everything, happened last May. It was the last day of Pre-K for my little Ava. I was picking her up from school, and as I parked my car, I noticed a group of other Pre-K moms with their kids, chatting and taking pictures. It occurred to me that I did not know a single woman’s name. Not one. I somehow managed to go an entire school year and never met another mother. I was an ass and mortified. What happened to me? Was I anywhere close to the woman I wanted to be?

It was that moment, driving Ava home, looking at her bright, happy little face in my rearview mirror that I knew a drastic change had to happen. I decided to keep my existing commitments, but once they were complete, I took the rest of the summer off the road. I stayed home, carted my girls to and from camp and worked in my office, just getting my thoughts together.

What good was being able to pay their tuition if I wasn’t part of their community? My time traveling had prevented me from going to parent-teacher conferences, and PTA meetings. I could never volunteer for school events, help at classroom parties or chaperone a trip. All things they begged me to do. They’re in this magical and brief window of childhood, and I was missing so much of it. I even missed their Christmas concert. No wonder I didn’t know anyone.

After some deep soul searching, and lots of conversations with myself and my husband, it was all obvious. I had to stop chasing money and focus on my passion. I had to start making choices congruent to my moral compass, and not do things simply because some expert said it was the next logical step. At the time, I thought everything I was doing was the right thing to do. I had a young family, and we needed the money, of course, I would do anything to help us. But I got wrapped up in a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter, and I ended up extracting myself from my family and my life. It was time to evaluate my choice and realign with my mission. Like Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”

So it was time to start doing better.

I made the decision only to work with corporate clients I like, who are respectful and pay our full fee on time, which narrows my client list down to about three accounts. I’m fine with that; I’m too smart and too old to compromise my integrity anymore. I’m happy to travel but under my terms, like no more dirty airport motels, only speaking about what I know and love and no more 16-week benders. I want my girls to see their mom passionate and excited about work and using her talents, not selling her soul.

Which left me asking myself what I was going to do next? I asked myself this question dozens of times and kept coming back to my original mission: helping women. I know we’re not curing cancer, but we can find you a great pair of jeans, share a piece of useful information, help you kick up your confidence and give you some daily inspiration. I think there is some good in that.

I see a massively underserved market of women who crave practical, realistic advice on how to look and feel their best. Frankly, I don’t know who better to help than my team and me. I want this blog to be THE resource for busy women, looking for daily inspiration and tips to live a chic, fun, and fulfilled life. To do that we are making The Well Dressed Life and Kristel Closets, Inc. our full time focus. We are pouring our attention back into where it all started. We’ll continue to maintain all of our businesses, but our heart and soul are in the blog and with our private clients.

Today, I’m happy to report, I have my enthusiasm back. For years, I would wake up dreading the day, bored before I got started and completely unsettled. Now, I feel that same excitement (and slight terror) I had in the beginning. I’m able to do what I love, create some impact, work with amazing women and still have dinner as a family most nights.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see some new features, the launch of our video series, and expanded content. I hope you stay along for the journey and continue to comment and share our site with others who may enjoy it. It’s because of your positive response and support that I was able to find my way. I am so grateful to all of you for that. The best part? I get to work mostly from home. And while I will likely never be PTA president, it’s nice to have the option.


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