“I think if I told everyone from elementary school what I was doing now, they wouldn’t be surprised.”
That’s Lisa Kirk, editor of Southern Weddings magazine. I’ve followed Lisa’s journey vicariously through Erica since the time they met in college.
Lisa is a unique millennial. She is willing to be patient and work hard toward achieving her goals, rather than expecting instant results. I suffer from the instant-gratification-syndrome and always hope for success right away. That’s why I found our recent conversation about her journey so refreshing.
After talking with Lisa, I came to the realization that preparation and being in the right place at the right time is sometimes all you need to achieve your dream. Well, at least that was the case for Lisa.
Lisa’s Early Years
Growing up in a home that valued books, Lisa always knew she wanted to be a writer: “I was the girl who made writing clubs with her friends.” But after discovering American Girl’s January/February 2000 issue, she knew she wanted to write for a magazine.
“I went into college thinking I wanted to work for a lifestyle publication like Southern Living.” So when an internship opened up at Southern Living, Lisa applied. She was turned down and told to gain some more experience first.
So, without many opportunities in Steubenville, Ohio, Lisa transferred to nearby University of Pittsburgh and landed an internship with Pittsburgh Magazine.
“Pittsburgh Magazine was my first big magazine experience, it was so rewarding. They were working on their annual weddings edition at the time and I was really interested in fashion and interior design.” Lisa, a self-proclaimed “hopeless romantic,” discovered a whole new field of magazine writing: weddings.
It was also through this internship that Lisa discovered blogging. Soon after the semester ended, Lisa started her own wedding blog – Something Pretty. For three years, she blogged 5 times a week about weddings with the intent of landing a job at a major wedding publication.
She did have some naysayers along the way, including some college professors, but the support of her friends and family kept her going. “I literally cannot remember a single time that (my parents) we not 100% supportive.”
Lisa held her sights on one publication in particular, Southern Weddings. “I had been reading (Southern Weddings) ever since I discovered wedding blogs. They put so much emphasis to the marriage and not just the wedding. I really loved what Southern Weddings was doing.”
Through her blog, Lisa interacted with Southern Weddings by commenting on their blog posts, tweeting to them, and entering their contests. “Emily Thomas (Creative Director) began to occasionally comment on Something Pretty, so I knew she knew I existed.”
It wasn’t much, but this connection opened the door for Lisa to reach out to Emily in a more formal way a few months before graduation.
“I told her a little bit about what my experience was, what my goals were and that I hopefully wanted to work for Southern Weddings. And so I asked her what I could be doing in my last semester in college that will make me the best candidate I could be if something was to come up.”
This proactive approach paid off for Lisa. About a month later, Emily reached out to Lisa about a possible opening and asked if she was interested.
Since the Southern Weddings team is made up of only a few women, they comb through their candidates to make sure everyone is able to “vibe” with them. For Lisa this meant she would sit through five interviews over the course of three months.
The Offer Letter
Graduation came and went for Lisa, and she still had not heard back from her dream job. “I was checking my email excessively.” To distract herself, Lisa went to the movies (where she couldn’t look at her phone) with her mom and sister.
As the credits for The Great Gatsby started to roll, Lisa couldn’t wait any longer and whipped out her phone. Sitting in her inbox was a job offer email from Southern Weddings.
“I burst into tears. It was such a joyful moment because everything I had been working towards paid off. I put all my eggs into one basket, which retrospectively I know isn’t the best idea, but I felt confident that this what the Lord was calling me to.”
When I asked Lisa what was the best advice to achieve your dreams she said, “I was in the right place at the right time, you can’t control that, but what you can control is having the right preparation. You never know when that right time and place is going to come, but you can control how prepared you are for when that happens.”
Now it’s your turn
After hearing Lisa’s story, I am determined to prepare myself for opportunities that may arise. I’ve stopped expecting instant results and am willing to embrace the fact that no matter how hard you work towards your dream, chance still has a role to play.
Your time will come too. But in the meantime, do everything you can to be prepared for when it does.
Below are some links if you want to learn more about Lisa and her journey: