Looking back at an unforgettable year: An open letter from CEO Kayla Leddy
July 1, 2020
The decision didn’t come easily to me.
I remember spending many nights and days second guessing myself. I would feel so confident that everything would be okay, and then the next couple of hours I would ask myself: "What if this is the worst decision I could make and it’s not going to work out?"
It was the winter of 2018 when the same persistent thoughts popped into my head, but the thoughts were passing. I would second guess them or lose track of them all together when another thought would creep its way in. Picture this — a hamster on a wheel, racing another hamster next to him, all while learning how to juggle and skip at the same time, on a strict time limit. That is what the inside of my brain felt like, constantly.
In 2018, after many long discussions with my then fiancé, I decided to bring up the idea of opening a second location of Clearwater Counseling to my co-owner, Nikki. I considered Omaha home, even after living in Central Nebraska for several years. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the Grand Island area. I never thought I would be an owner of a therapy practice at the age of 27, let alone be an owner of two locations at the age of 29. Plus, I wasn’t only making this decision based on my needs and wants — I had a business partner to think about who had been through everything with me as we grew as professionals and best friends in the Grand Island office.
I had clients, other providers, school personnel, law enforcement relationships and other connections that I worked so hard to create and maintain. Clearwater Counseling's Grand Island office was my "baby." Nikki and I were the best parents and we worked hard to create a safe place for clients and for each other. To bring up the idea to Nikki about opening a second location so my family could move back to Omaha felt like I was asking for a divorce. There were so many emotions that day. I can’t even label them all (and that is what I teach people to do!). But, of course, Nikki supported me and the planning stages started.
I wish I could say the move was “so easy," but then, there wouldn’t be much excitement in this story... and I wouldn’t be human.
In March 2019, Michael and Alex, our oldest son, moved to Omaha. The timing worked well, as it was the end of a quarter at school and Alex was playing for an Omaha baseball team already. Hayden and myself stayed behind to finish the school year and for me to wrap up probation classes that I was facilitating. We spent a total of 92 days living in a different town than two other members of our family. During those few months, I put more miles on my car than I previously did for two years combined. I was driving back and forth to watch baseball games, finish wedding planning and prepare for the new office to open.
We moved to Omaha on June 27, 2019. So, on June 26th I had to say “see you later” to one of my best friends, Nikki. We wouldn’t walk into the office and say good morning to each other anymore. We wouldn’t have our breaks line up so we could go for a walk or out to lunch. We wouldn’t bump into each other in the workroom anymore when trying to file papers or walk into each other’s office for advice, support or a quick hug. Both of us were so busy packing up offices, getting things ready for a move and checking off several other business to-do items that we forgot I wasn’t going to be coming back the following Monday morning. I was in denial for weeks that I was going to say goodbye to my safe place, my safe person and the business we created together.
That same week I had to say goodbye to clients who I worked with for several years and to professionals that became friends. I remember when I was heading to Omaha after packing up the last load of items from my house, Nikki and I sent several texts to each other about how we both just realized how different things were going to be. I found comfort in knowing that I wasn’t the only one ignoring all the changes, but also humor. (Now there were two therapists who were not labeling their emotions. See, we're human after all!) I knew the Grand Island location was in good hands and I wouldn’t want anyone else besides Nikki being in charge of it.
The weekend was a whirlwind of unpacking not only a house, but also an office. I don’t think I have ever been as exhausted as I was that weekend. On July 1, 2019, the Clearwater Counseling Omaha location officially opened for business! It was such an exciting day, but I also knew that things were not going to slow down anytime soon for me personally.
For reference, here is a quick timeline of events:
June 27, 2019: Moved back to Omaha
July 1, 2019: Omaha location opens for business
July 25, 2019: Moved into our new home
August 10, 2019: Got Married!
August 12, 2019: First Day of School for Alex and Hayden
March 2, 2020: Grand Island location moved to larger location
March 13, 2020: Omaha is placed on Directive Health Measure—transfer all clients to telehealth
June 15, 2020: Return to limited in-person office appointments
July 1, 2020: Celebrating ONE YEAR of Omaha location!
In between all the dates listed, life happened, too. I am a mom to two very active boys and I am a wife. We were, and still are, learning how to be a family and how to adapt to our new life together. We are all enjoying being able to spend time with family and attending our nieces' and nephew’s activities, holiday gatherings, grill outs and so much more.
I attended several trainings and continued my education to be able to provide the best possible care to my clients. I gained an office mate to say good morning to: Jessica! The pretty cool thing is that Jessica is Nikki’s sister, and I am blessed to be able to work along two Frenzen gals. Plus, Nikki and I still say good morning by texts or videos. In 2019, we also gained a Marketing Coordinator, Gabby, who has saved several of my hours that would have been spent attempting to make artwork and signs out of Microsoft Paint (Which, I was a Pro at when I was 12.)
Even more, the Clearwater Counseling Omaha location is in the second round of interviews to hire an additional therapist and the Grand Island location will be adding to the team, too.
I never guessed that one year would go by so quickly. The last year has shown me the reality of what can be done with dreams and “hamster wheel thoughts." It has taught me that no matter how much you prepare, plans will never go the exact way you think they will go. The last year has reminded me of how much I love what I do and how I couldn’t do what I do every single day without the Clearwater Counseling team I have in my corner. The last year has reminded me that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. It has reminded me that I am showing my two boys what hard work can do and how important it is to follow a dream, even if others doubt you. It has also made me fall in love with my hubby, a little bit more each day, because he is always my biggest cheerleader.
So, here is to starting year two in Omaha and doing what I love daily, even if that looks a little bit different these days.