I’ve been struggling with what to say about our CEO Jodi Scott all week long. She’s a serial entrepreneur, she’s endlessly curious, and she has a knack for helping the people around her discover and unleash their superpowers.
When we all have our work hats on, she’s our leader and she navigates all the intricacies of working with family and friends with grace and kindness. I’ve been at the dinner table with this bunch and they are a varied and amazing group; trail builders and world travelers and tech geeks, environmentalists and designers, mechanics and salve-making gurus… oh and the Major General.
We all turn to her for direction. That must be a heavy weight.
Jodi takes that responsibility seriously. I don’t think she’s had a full day off in all the time I’ve worked here. She is either tireless or very very tired. She’s methodical, informed, and forward thinking which means, when the moment is right, we can move very quickly to take advantage. She trusts her team and gives us space to make mistakes, which is an environment that fosters innovation. She is also proof positive that the power of intention works. When she sets her mind to something, we all know that it’s going to happen and usually it does.
She’s also really funny. Some days she’s even goofy. She loves her family like crazy. She values hard work and play and she’s not afraid to break something, just to see what can be built from the pieces. Like this blog series for instance… I asked the crew to write a story about a thing and she came back with two interviews. In her defense, I did say to make it your own.
Jodi chose A Season of Grit as her theme and her heart led her to two amazing women and two incredible stories. So, rather than write her feelings about their journey, she reached out to them personally. What was born from those conversations are these two chapters in the Season of Goodness. Stay tuned next week, for chapter 2.
The first installment is with Anna Dravland.
A Season of Grit, Chapter 1
Our company mission is, Spread Goodness. During this Season of Goodness, I would like to bring you a few chapters themed “Season of Grit” in hopes to inspire you, bring people together and most of all spread goodness.
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a lovely human being who has dedicated her career to spreading goodness. Anna Dravland is a disabled stroke survivor and Founder of Spread Goodness Day, a non-profit event started in 2017 dedicated to empowering world change through goodness and “making the future so bright, we all need shades!”
Jodi: Anna, you were presented with an unprecedented challenge, tell me about the challenge then the after journey.
Anna: Having a massive stroke at 34 was an unexpected, overwhelming challenge in every single way possible. I was in great shape, the picture of health. My career was on the rise and I had received a raise just a week before. Had launched my passion project and non-profit “Spread Goodness Day” just two weeks before that day. Before the thing. The stroke. Three weeks earlier, I had hit my head after falling. Unknowingly, my carotid artery had tore and eventually ripped in half, releasing two blood clots to my brain. I was walking to work and, in one moment, everything fell from my hands as I collapsed to the ground, unable to speak or yell for help. I was paralyzed on the right side of my body, struggling to speak and blinded with pain and confusion. In that first week, I had to think about things like being in a wheelchair, losing my career, never dancing or singing again. Watching everything I worked so hard for slip right through my fingers. Then, one day, my big toe wiggled. Just my toe and just a little wiggle. Before I knew it I was able to lift my leg and within a few days I had started on the path and learning to walk again! Three years later, I have done endless months of therapies, Many of which I will have to do for the rest of my life. Intensive speech, occupational, physical, vision, and vestibular therapies. Surviving a stroke is about so much more than surviving that day. You have to survive the life you’ve been left with. My recovery has been amazing but, it has left me with a variety of permanent damage, pain and challenges I will face for the rest of my life. Surviving my survival.
Jodi: What do you know now that makes you feel more whole after going through such a tough experience?
Anna: That Spreading goodness is literally healing. I knew it was something that brought joy to my life before the stroke but, after the accident, it became therapy. As vital and important as my medicine and speech exercises. Filling my body with happiness and healing in a way that no sickness or injury can take away from you. Spreading goodness actually reduces inflammation in your body and has other tangible, measurable medical assets! It made me feel whole, joyful, strong and unbreakable.
Jodi: What advice do you have for people, with or without medical challenges? Going through tough times during this pandemic?
Anna: The absolute best advice I could give anybody is be flexible, ready and open to change your path, direction and desires if life takes you down a road you don’t expect or want. I call it the Neuroplasticity of life. Except instead of your brain finding new pathways to function, you are stepping into new directions in your life.
For example, my life was changed by an unexpected medical situation that affected my ability to work, socialize, communicate and live. No more parties, no more restaurants, no more groups or loud crowds. Trying new businesses over and over because I can’t do normal work anymore. The whole world was changed by an unexpected medical situation that is affecting their ability to work, socialize, communicate and live. You simply must adapt. You simply must find a new pathway. Try a new job, open your own company, go for walks instead of to the gym. Meet your friends for picnics instead of drinks. Just because you’re not on the same path doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself someplace beautiful.
Jodi: When you dig really deep, really really deep, what is it that you know that got you through these tough times that you know everyone has the ability to find within themselves?
Anna: Gratitude. Without any question, the answer is gratitude. I have been dealt a very painful, difficult and overwhelming hand. And, ever since the moment I collapsed and a nurse found me on the side of the street, I have been so epically grateful for the love and care that I have in my life. On the worst days of my life, I have received the deepest, most truly unconditional love. It drowned me in gratitude for the people in my life. Gratitude has saved me from self-pity and depression and has an incredible power to fill your whole body with love, comfort and HOPE.
Jodi: What does “grit” mean to you?
Anna: Through it all I learned I could choose grit. That I had to. I had to choose passion and perseverance every single day in every decision I make. Even when the decision is rest because my body needs it. There’s a quote from Saint Francis that sort of summarizes what grit means to me. “Start with what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible!”
Jodi: What does spreading goodness mean to you?
Anna: Spreading Goodness means everything to me. It has helped heal my heart & my body, uplift my soul and fill me with purpose and passion! Do you want to see the world change right before your eyes? Start spreading goodness and watch the magic happen.
Anna Dravland’s next Spread Goodness Day event is now coming up on its fourth year (March 12, 2021) and has spread hundreds of thousands of acts of goodness throughout the world. Newly launched in July 2020, she has started a business called Goodness and Greens, spreading goodness & greens to inspire a healthy living revolution and find success, and a career, she can maintain despite her disabilities. A 2014 graduate of Northern Michigan University, Anna’s commitment to world change was lit during college. Her volunteer activities led to her career in marketing, event promotion and community relations. Prior to her injury, she worked for Travel Marquette, inviting visitors to share the beauty of her hometown. Her passion now is inspiring people to survive with goodness, bringing the powerful, healing energy of positivity to their lives.