Make Something of Your Nothings

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I spent two days in December making soup and casseroles from the turkey we roasted for Christmas. We roasted a turkey and then packed the meat to New Mexico so that we could make "pocket Thanksgiving" sandwiches during our ski trip. After the sandwiches come the leftover meat and the bones, and I'm not the type of girl who easily throws things away. 

I like to make something out of nothing.  

Transforming random pieces of meat and bones into heartwarming soup and comforting casserole is the way I like to cook. The best parts of making a ham are the macaroni casserole and pea soup I make from scraps and bone afterward.

Using up all the bits of anything makes me feel useful, responsible, resourceful. Leftovers taste better to me, and I have more patience with the process of cooking knowing I'm making the most of what I have. 

I've always been good at making something of nothing. Even before I had a recipe. 

Ramen was a staple of my childhood household. In high school my signature dish was a heavy mix of ramen, broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, and government cheese. My ramen concoction was delicious. Ask anyone. 

Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear

After one of my last projects at Arthur Andersen, the partner on the project brought me into his office. 

"You've really made a silk purse out of a sow's ear," he said.

Not a very pretty purse, I thought, but a high compliment coming from this particular partner. 

The job had been so small, and the work flow in the office so slow, that I had been given the whole project to figure out on my own. But there wasn't much to work with. All I had were two boxes of financial statements and contracts. To craft a story that would win the case, I used what we had, learned everything there was to know about South American lotteries, and the lawsuit went away. 

Scrappy, resourceful. You can always find the story. 

SEO, Boots, and Back Roads

When I joined eCommerce startup Acumen brands in 2013, it was because the CEO wanted to try a "content and commerce" strategy. He wanted to create content that would drive retail sales. I could do that. The CEO handed me a list of 5,000 search terms he thought would drive infinite traffic. I didn't agree with the strategy, but I would make it work until I figured out a better one. 

We started with junk. 

Two weeks into the role, I began to fully grasp the "fail fast and pivot" mindset. The CEO had already lost interest in the project. Viewing it as a failure, he was ready to move on. If I wanted to keep my job, I had to find a way to make the media business work.

My way. 

That's when I learned about the company's connections in Nashville.  

A contact here, a budding partnership there. This was promising.

The other thing we had was 7 million Facebook likes, and I knew those people wanted to read about the lives of their favorite artists a thousand times more than they wanted to read about "cowgirl boot turquoise". 

From the pieces, One Country was born.

In under three years my team built the highest traffic country music, entertainment and lifestyle website in the world. It's still the biggest thing in country that you've probably never heard of. 

We made that, Lauren Cowling and me. Out of nothing. 

That year the leadership team acknowledged me with a "Do More with Less" award. 

Writing is just like making a tasty dish from odds and ends, or piecing together a case, or assembling a profitable business from someone else's failed attempts. We start with what we have and arrange the pieces to create something of value. The grist of your life is all you need to tell a story, share a lesson, or make an impact. 

Ready to transform your pieces into a story? I can help.