Today marks one year since we opened the doors at The SoakingPot! We could not be more grateful for a successful year of growth, both personally and professionally. Thank you.
While it’s been nearly two years since this idea was born, it has actually taken an entire lifetime to get here. I’d love to tell you that I always knew this is what I wanted to do with my life, but like most great things, it was anything but a straight line to get here. And if I’m being honest, never in a million years would I have guessed I’d be in the foot business! Never, ever, ever. But here we are. 😊
When I look back in awe and wonder how this came about, the simplest answer is for several years I was looking to do something that met some personal and professional goals. I worked in the “dot com” business for over 20 years, and while I loved what I did, it became unfulfilling and lonely. I had worked remotely for many years, only travelling for business on occasion, so all my peer interaction was digital. While I always felt connected, (literally), it was very lonely at times. Now I’m not going to lie, most of the time my introverted personality thrived in that environment, but my soul was longing for growth and more personal interaction. I also wanted to be more involved in my relatively new community and doing something that felt rewarding at the end of the day.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, FULL of ideas. For years I was scheming all kinds of business opportunities, often investing a lot of time, energy and passion into planning and research. I found a common theme in my day-dreaming; I kept going back to my educational roots and personal passion of herbs, holistic remedies and natural healing. But one idea after another, I’d hit a road block and that was the end of that. I now believe that while some of those ideas were really great (and a couple may be revisited down the road), they were not what I was meant to be doing. If it is truly something we are meant to do then the universe and our entire being will make it happen.
Celebrating The SoakingPot is also celebrating myself and the people who supported me and helped us get to this point. That list is a lifetime long, but my Mother is a big part in this story. The spa was something my Mother and I had in common, it was something that brought us together. We have been to spas from coast to coast, trying all kinds of different treatments, and while the time together was nice it was spent mostly in separate rooms enjoying our own forms of relaxation.
I remember a spa day we had one Mother’s Day weekend in Bar Harbor, ME. I scheduled a massage, facial, salt scrub AND a mud wrap with a Vichy shower. It was the most stressful, messy spa experience I’d ever had! There were just WAY too many services to truly enjoy the benefits. A lot of my spa visits were like that, too much of a good thing. Fast forward to January 2017; my Mom and I went to a foot sanctuary, the same concept as The SoakingPot. We were both skeptical and wondered how we might handle not having cell phones and actually having to interact for an hour but it was Ahhh-mazing! The simplicity, the social aspect, the semi-private yet community feel; all of it, the whole concept. Something inside me lit up and I didn’t know it then, but another idea was born.
Within a couple of weeks, I was doing what I do best, running the numbers. I ran the numbers every which way to Sunday and it looked doable. This is where my better half enters the story; a talented, creative, hard-working, supportive man. I pitched the idea (yes, another idea) to him, but this time went differently, he was intrigued and wanted to dream with me. Nearly every day we schemed this venture on and off, back and forth; business names, best locations, layout, logistics and on and on.
One afternoon I picked up the phone and called a number I got off the Settlers Green website. The gentleman I spoke with was so kind and generous with his time and very supportive of my idea. We talked about some vacancies he had at Settlers Green but at the time I didn’t feel anything was a good fit for The SoakingPot. The last thing I remember him saying was something to the effect of “Whether you lease from us or someone else I will be glad to help you if I can, just give me a call.” That conversation just added to my excitement of possibilities and the thought that this could really happen.
Months went by of searching for the right commercial space and coming up short, time and time again. We took an amazing trip to Yellowstone, got a puppy, continued to work our day jobs and dreaming in between. What we didn’t realize was the universe was working towards this too. I was obsessed with finding the right space to bring this dream alive, so much so that I started searching in other states! I got creative on how to utilize and transform all the wrong kinds of spaces that were for lease. At some point I thought I finally found a good alternative to Settlers Green, and I remembered what the gentleman had told me, so I called him to get his thoughts and opinion. The next thing I know we are setting up a time to meet and discuss a new undeveloped space he had that was the perfect size for The SoakingPot!
I don’t ask for help easily and my anxiety often got the best of me, keeping things just out of reach, but something strong was driving this pursuit and building a confident desire to just keep showing up and putting one foot in front of the other. After a couple of months going back and forth on whether this space and location was right for The SoakingPot and continually pushing all the fear and uncertainty aside on the daily, we finally signed up for one of the biggest challenges of our lives. Shit just got real.
The amount of fear and uncertainty at this point was enormous and stressful. Working our day jobs and The SoakingPot started to take its toll. We soon made the decision that I would give my notice at my job. I originally thought I could do both, keep the steady income and run a new, completely unknown business. Yes, I really believed that for a minute or two. What I did not anticipate was the enormity of that final day at my job. My comfort zone, my financial, personal, and professional “sense of security;” basically everything I had known was now gone. I had not felt that vulnerable and raw in a very long time. It was one of the scariest times of my life. My anxiety reared its ugly head and wreaked havoc in my day-to-day. I had just turned my whole life upside down. The doubt and sleepless nights started settling in and I didn’t know how I was ever, and I mean ever, going to pull this off.
Remember how I said that I had worked remotely for many years? Well, that also means I sort of forgot how to be social and deal with people in person, all day long. I describe it as picking up a nomad and dropping them off in New York City. It was extremely difficult, but I kept showing up and leaned into the people in my life who supported me. I absolutely could not have done this without my better half; he was so patient and took care of things when I just couldn’t. I can’t tell you how many times he had to go meet the contractors because my anxiety was so bad that I could not be around people. I did my best to be patient and kind to myself and accept where I was on any given day with lots and lots of forced positive self-talk and audiobooks.
A reminder of how uncomfortable I was in the early days is the fridge in the back kitchen. Yes, you read that correctly. In the beginning I spent a lot of time out back planning, stressing, failing, winning, repeat. A few months ago while working out back the compressor of the fridge kicked on and my heart sank a little and my stomach turned. I stopped to be mindful of what was happening, it was in that moment that I realized just how far I’ve come. The loud humming of the compressor is a reminder of the pain I had felt in those early days. One year later I happily report that level of stress and anxiety has ceased and I am so grateful that I was able to walk through it for something greater. Doubt has been replaced with confidence. Fear has been replaced with possibility and growth. A whole new comfort level is evolving. I am also looking to replace that fridge 😊
I used my uncomfortableness to build a serene space of peace and comfort. The quotes on our wall are quotes that I read over and over to help get me to this moment. The SoakingPot has become a sanctuary for so many wonderful people and that is a daily reminder for me that what we have here is special. When things are chaotic we joke that “we’re not saving lives here” but some days, I beg to differ. No matter how my day is going, once I step foot inside The SoakingPot the stress starts to melt away.
The road to this very day, January 8th 2019, was not an easy one, but things just seemed to fall into place. The universe, a lot of hard work, the right mix of people at the right time all came together to bring something ahhh-mazing to North Conway. I am forever grateful to everyone that has been a part of this journey.
If you’re in transition, still seeking or dreaming; keep going, keep showing up, walking through the discomfort and uncertainty while giving it your all. Most importantly, don’t forget to stop along the way to take a moment and breathe. Deep.
“We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.”