Life After Loss: Debbie Oster on Finding Strength and Creating a Thriving Business

Episode Overview

Grief can be paralyzing, but it can also serve as a powerful motivator. For Debbie Oster, the sudden loss of her father and, later, her sister and mother, became turning points that reshaped her life and career. Debbie’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the potential to transform adversity into a driving force for achieving personal and professional aspirations.

Debbie's Journey to Entrepreneurship

After a decade in agency marketing, Debbie felt a persistent dissatisfaction with the reactive and often haphazard strategies prevalent in the industry. This discomfort, combined with a deep-seated entrepreneurial spirit inherited from her father, propelled her to start her own venture. As a fractional CMO for small service-based businesses, Debbie now leverages her marketing expertise to create strategic, data-driven plans that drive growth and profitability for her clients.

From Personal Loss to Professional Drive

The catalyst for Debbie’s decision to start her own business was the tragic and unexpected death of her father. "When I got that call, it changed the trajectory of not only my life but my entire family's lives," Debbie recalls. This loss, compounded by the subsequent deaths of her sister and mother, ignited a fire within her to live a life of purpose and intention. Rather than succumbing to grief, Debbie used it as a powerful motivator to push forward and achieve her dreams.

Building a Resilient Mindset

One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with profound loss is managing the lingering fear and anxiety of future loss. Debbie shares, "I struggle every day not to dwell on that and not to wonder when the next call is coming." To combat these feelings, she has developed several coping mechanisms, including regular exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet, and engaging in mindfulness practices. These strategies help her stay grounded and focused, allowing her to channel her energy into her business and personal life.

Strengthening Family Bonds

In the aftermath of her family tragedies, Debbie recognized the importance of nurturing her remaining relationships. She initiated monthly family dinners, a tradition that has brought her siblings closer together. "After losing three family members, I decided enough was enough. We can't let another year go by without spending more time together," she asserts. This commitment to family has become a cornerstone of Debbie’s approach to life, emphasizing the value of connection and support.

Transforming Grief into Action

Debbie’s journey underscores the potential to transform grief into a powerful motivator. Her advice to others facing similar challenges is straightforward: "Just get started. Even if it's one hour a week, dedicate that time to something you are passionate about." By taking small, consistent steps, anyone can begin to build momentum toward their goals, turning their pain into a source of strength and determination.

Debbie Oster’s story is a compelling reminder that even in the face of profound loss, it is possible to find purpose and drive. By embracing her grief and using it as fuel, she has not only built a successful business but also strengthened her personal relationships and cultivated a life filled with intention and meaning. Her journey offers valuable lessons for anyone looking to overcome adversity and create a life they love.

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Episode Transcript for Life After Loss: Debbie Oster on Finding Strength and Creating a Thriving Business

Kelly Berry (00:00): Hello, friends, and welcome to Life Intended. I'm your host, Kelly Berry. Life Intended is a podcast that explores what it means to be true to yourself and live an authentic and purposeful life. Each episode explores my guest's version of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of becoming the best version of themselves, as well as how to find the joy in the journey. Today, I'm speaking with my friend and colleague, Debbie Oster. Debbie has some beautiful and courageous stories to share, and I can't wait to talk with her today. A little bit about Debbie. After a decade of navigating the turbulent waters of agency marketing and experiencing firsthand the reactive tactics and ad hoc strategies that often define the industry, Debbie decided to step away from the status quo. The all-too-common agency churn and burn, coupled with what she calls random acts of marketing, had run its course in her career. The desire for a more impactful and proactive approach to marketing led her to start her own venture. Now, as a fractional CMO for small service-based businesses, she leverages her expertise to not only establish but also significantly enhance their marketing efforts. This is achieved through an entire outsourced marketing department, ensuring that every strategy is meticulously planned and executed. Debbie's areas of expertise include marketing strategy and planning, messaging and content, SEO, social media, and deriving actionable insights from data analytics. By adopting a strategy-based and data-backed methodology, she ensures that the businesses she partners with not only witness growth but also enjoy enhanced profitability. Her approach is straightforward—transform marketing into a powerful engine that consistently drives more revenue for your business. Welcome to the podcast, Debbie.

Debbie Oster (01:51): Thanks, Kelly. I'm happy to be here.

Kelly Berry (01:53): Yeah, so that was an overview of who Debbie is professionally, kind of what your journey has looked like. So tell us a little bit about who you are. Who's Debbie, and what makes you you?

Debbie Oster (02:06): So I think the most important things to know about me are, you know, I'm creative. I think I have an entrepreneurial spirit, you know, by heart. It's just innate for me. I think I get that after my father. You know, he was always on to a new venture or the next business or, you know, it's just, I think it's kind of ingrained in me. I love riding motorcycles. I love adventure. I love trying new things and traveling.

And one of the things I really love is food. So those who know me know that I love to cook and bake. There's nothing I enjoy more than enjoying a meal with my family, friends, loved ones, especially if I've cooked it for them.

Kelly Berry (02:49): As someone who has eaten things that Debbie has cooked, I can attest that she's amazing and definitely you can tell everything that she does in the kitchen, the thoughtfulness around meal planning and everything like that. She does love it. It's an act of love, act of service. Yeah, and she...

Debbie Oster (03:10): Thanks, Kelly.

Kelly Berry (03:12): She also has a food Instagram, I'll link in the show notes in case anybody wants to follow along with what Debbie cooks and eats. But Debbie Does Delicious is a fun, creative outlet for you too, I know.

Debbie Oster (03:24): Mm-hmm. Yeah, I love it. I started that during COVID when I was working remotely and I still do it. I'm not as active as I used to be, but one day I'm hoping to have the freedom to be able to do much more of it.

Kelly Berry (03:40):Great. So one thing I wanna start our conversation with and something that I think a lot of people who are listening, I think starting your own business or going out on your own is very aspirational for a lot of people to be your own boss, to have an idea and see that into execution. So talk to us a little bit about what that journey looked like for you, figuring out that's the direction that you wanted to go and everything like how you actually made it happen.

Debbie Oster (04:11): Yeah, so, you know, like I said before, I've just always kind of felt this desire to start something of my own. You know, I've always got ideas, my wheels are always spinning. When somebody else tells me an idea or like something that they love doing, I'm like trying to figure out, well, how could they do this more? Or how could they actually make a living out of this? So I've over the years tried to talk dozens of my friends into starting their own business because it just excites me and I just think it's so rewarding. So, you know, I started out as a teacher out of college, and I thought that's what I wanted to do. I thought that for most of my childhood. But then I got into teaching, and it just wasn't as fulfilling as I thought it was gonna be. And quite honestly, it was really hard to pay the bills. So then I ended up going back to bartending, which I did all through college to pay my way. And I made such great money there and I was really good at it. So I continued to do that into my late twenties. And then something kind of just struck me. I decided it was time to get out of that hospitality industry. I needed to find another career. I wasn't ready to start a business yet. I didn't feel like I had enough experience in any one profession or thing. So I got into marketing by way of my connections. And it was after a few years of marketing that I was like, I can do this and I think I could start a business doing it. And the idea of starting that business kind of just sat with me for years. And after a certain period of time and enough experience in the marketing industry, I decided it was time. And it was like now or never, you know, I wasn't getting any younger. I just, I just felt like I needed something. I needed to create something of my own that I was passionate about and cared about, you know, and so that's how I started my business originally.

Kelly Berry (06:04): So a couple of things that you said in there, because one thing that, you know, my goal for this podcast is to help people identify times in their lives where they're like living on autopilot or they're just very comfortable and they don't realize that they maybe aren't living in alignment with who they want to be or what they want to do. And so there were a couple of places in there where you talked about, you know, transitioning from the hospitality industry or several years you had this business idea in your head, it took you years, we'll say, to act on it. So what are the signals that you noticed or what finally got you to take that action and do something about it?

Debbie Oster (06:51): Yeah, I think what really put me into action was kind of feeling like my life was monotonous. You know, I felt fulfilled in my personal relationships, my friends, you know, my then boyfriend or fiancé. But something was missing. Like I was just waking up, getting ready, going to work. Sitting at a desk all day, scrolling on my phone a lot, constantly like daydreaming of other things and food and things I was passionate about and how I could do something better than it was being done where I worked. And one day I was just like, I feel like I'm on autopilot and I feel like life is so short. And again, I'm not getting any younger, even though I was still super young. And I just needed to, I felt like I had to do something about it because if I didn't, I was going to be 40, 45, 50, and next thing I knew, I was going to feel like I had wasted my life and I just was not comfortable with that. And so I think that was really the drive and that feeling that kind of pushed me to take that leap, if you will.

Kelly Berry (08:01): So looking back on it now, specifically your journey from working for other marketing organizations to starting your own business, if you could tell yourself something five, six, seven, eight years ago from where you are now, what would you tell yourself?

Debbie Oster (08:19): I think I would say, like, just get started. Just do something, even if it's not the perfect idea, even if it doesn't pan out. I think it's really important that you just get going, like, get the momentum going. Otherwise, you know, it just, because it takes a while to gain momentum in anything in life, I feel like. And so, yeah, I mean, that's what I would say. Just start, just do something, even if it's one hour a week doing something on the side that you enjoy, that you think you could eventually make into a living or make some money off of. Just dedicate that one hour a week and just start somewhere and start to build that momentum.

Kelly Berry (09:00): Yeah, I think that's, I think it's really important because, you know, you can be a perfectionist and you can just be afraid to take the first step or afraid to get started or you can just think that the time will be right when X and that, you know, the time is never right. And I think people talk about that all the time. You know, the time's never really right to do anything. So if you're just waiting around for a sign, it's probably not going to happen or it's going to be very, very slow. And to your point, you know, so much time will have passed when you could have been taking action, no matter how small, on it all the time.

Debbie Oster (09:44): Yeah, and I will say, you know, that's why I was so excited when you invited me to be a guest on your podcast, because I love what you're doing with it. I love the concept of what you're talking about and what you're trying to achieve with the podcast. And the first year leading up to me actually taking that leap and starting my business, I was driving an hour and a half commuting, well, an hour and a half each way. So three hours a day commuting to Vero to the job I had at the time. And I made it my goal to listen to as many podcasts as I possibly could about starting a business. And so I got, you know, 10 plus hours a week of listening time and hearing these inspirational, you know, women talking about when they started, how they started, what they felt was necessary to start a business. And so that was kind of like the legwork I did leading up to, okay, now I'm going to just actually start doing something. You know, I was like trying to just get somebody to give me some advice so I didn't feel so lost and alone and like I have no idea where to start. So that's what I did the year leading up to starting a business. And it was really, really helpful. So I feel like, you know, like this podcast and other podcasts can be really great resources for people who are thinking about doing something or trying to get inspiration to do something important or big.

Kelly Berry (11:07): Yeah, I agree. I think that there's just something about personal stories and hearing how other people did it. And one thing I really wanna help highlight in this show is how people are thinking about it. What's their decision-making process when they make big moves in their lives or when they have these aha moments that maybe they're not doing what they're made for or here for or they wanna be doing. So yeah, I'm excited too to highlight stories like yours. And I think, you know, this is probably a good segue. One of the things that I think is incredible about you and your story and your journey that maybe a lot of people who are around you, even a lot of the time don't really know, are all of the adversities that you've had over the past several years. So if you're okay to share some of those and talk about how those impacted your decision-making, your drive to maybe make the change in your life or any other ways that you've grown as a result of the things that you've been through.

Debbie Oster (12:18): Yeah, sure. Yeah, you're right. It's not something I talk about a lot because it feels kind of awkward sometimes. Probably the beginning of it about seven, it was actually seven years ago this month, I got a phone call, my father passed away completely unexpectedly. You know, I'm one of six kids, you know, we had a big tight family, like our father was our rock. He lived half a mile down the road from me. And you know when I got that call like it changed I feel like a trajectory of not only my life but of my entire family's lives and it was actually like two and a half weeks before my wedding which it was crazy because you know when my husband and I or my fiancé at the time were talking about how soon we wanted to actually have our wedding You know the one thing I said to him was well, you know, my parents are getting older, you know they're in their late 60s, mid 60s, late 60s. And I really want them to be there when I get married. And I know I'm older than a lot of people are when they get married. So I would just really like to do it sooner than later. And the fact that he died like two and a half weeks before was just kind of like, what the heck? It just felt really unfair. But what I did and what I try to do now and have done the last seven years is, you know, not feel sorry for myself when things like that happen, but find a way to use it as inspiration or drive to do the things that I wanna do. And so I think that was kind of, like I said, the start of some really awful things that have occurred but have helped to drive me to where I am today and like fuel the fire for me to start a business and, build better friendships and be closer with my family members. And so yeah, I mean, I think that was, yeah, that was the start. And then, you know, a couple of years ago, two years ago, my sister and then my mother passed in the same year, 10 months apart. And that was just, you know, it was just awful. And it was, I think, like two, my sister died two months into me starting my business It was right after I had a motorcycle accident. It was just like one thing after another. And it just felt like everything was working against me. But instead of looking at it that way and dwelling on it, I just chose to use that as, again, like fuel for my fire. Like, I wanna do this thing. I wanna make an impact in other people's lives. I wanna live a life that I love and that feels good. And so I just kept going. And I'll pause there. I don't know if you have any questions.

Kelly Berry (14:52): Mm-hmm. Yeah, well, thanks for sharing. I think it's, it's incredible as somebody who's been alongside you for a lot of that to see how like, tenacious and just the way that you've been able to keep going. I think when you know, that's a lot. It's a lot for anybody in their entire life. It's a lot for anybody in a short period. You know, you and I have had conversations and I think that we both agree that there's probably nothing that helps you snap out of autopilot or make sure that you are doing something that, you know, lights your fire than a tragedy, something that just helps you see how truly short life is and how, you know, you really only have one go at this. And if you are doing something that you're not passionate about, or not, you just don't feel like you're made for, it can really just, it can get in your head, you know, it can get in your head and it can affect all parts of your life. So I think it's admirable. I know it's been challenging. And like I said, I just have this feeling that a lot of people who are close to you just aren't really aware of all that you've persevered through as you've started, you know, you're in year three of your business now you've just had a lot to go through.

Debbie Oster (16:25): Yeah, it's, I mean, I think unless you've experienced the loss of somebody you love or who has been a part, and or who has been a part of your life, your entire life, you just, yeah, you don't realize how much it actually affects you. Like I still today, I feel it every day, like not just a sadness, but it's also manifested itself into like fear and anxiety. So like every day now, I would honestly say my biggest struggle is getting past the fear or anxiety of getting another phone call. You know, like I've had three phone calls now over the course of the last seven years that have just completely like blown everything out of the water and like just changed the trajectory of things. And yYou know, I struggle every day not to dwell on that and like wait and wonder when that next call's coming or who's the next person I might lose in my life. And I know that sounds a little bit morbid, but it's the reality of it. When you lose people and you know, that starts to happen. You start to actually feel that people aren't invincible and mortality becomes that much more real to you, you know? And I know that that's probably a, you know, reality of just as we get older in general, because you start losing people, it's natural way of life. So that's something that I've struggled with probably the most in the last few years, and I'm still working on it every single day, but there's a positive side to it as well. Like I value my family and my friendships and my husband so much more than I think I did before, because I know that the reality is they're not gonna be here one day or maybe I won't be here one day, you know, and you just, you really don't have time to waste. And that kind of takes me back to the whole starting a business and giving somebody advice. Like, I think it's just never too soon to start a business. And, you know, now we hear all these stories of these kids in middle school and high school who are starting businesses, and I'm just like, yes, like I'm rooting for them because I wish I had done it back then. I just didn't know you could, you know?

Kelly Berry (18:26): So I think the anxiety part and the fear is, you know, it's common, especially after tragedy or loss. So do you have any specific things that you're doing or that you're using to help you manage that?

Debbie Oster (18:58): Yeah, I do. So, you know, one, and you and I have talked about this a lot because we're both into health and wellness and fitness. And, you know, I've just found that more mentally than physically, I need an outlet. I need exercise on a regular basis, because that just really helps keep my anxiety in check. And it makes me so much more productive. It makes me think so much more clearly. It just makes every day so much better or the chance of it being better, so much higher. So that's one of my tactics is taking care of my body and my mental state. So whether that's through exercising, taking regular walks, you know, I recently started sitting out in the sun 20 minutes a day just to get some vitamin D and not be cooped up in my office for 9-10 hours a day. And eating well, that is another thing for me. That's been a tactic, a coping tactic of when I'm eating bad, I can feel the anxiety and the depression kind of start creeping in. But when I'm taking care of my body and eating a nutritious diet, and this is nothing you haven't heard before, but I stand by it. Like that is a saving grace for me is taking care of my body and my before taking care of my business.

Kelly Berry (20:19): Yeah, yeah, and that's important also. I think a lot of us take that as cliché, especially when things get busy. You have to take care of yourself, prioritize your own health over others. And a lot of times I think, especially with relationship dynamics, like being a mother or being a wife, there's always somebody else that can use your attention or something like that. But the truth is, you can only help others as much as you're able to, and you're only able to as much as you've helped yourself. So I love that.

Debbie Oster (20:59): Yeah, another tactic, Kelly, is just really recognizing when the feelings start to creep in and being able to quickly identify that they're a little bit irrational and that I need to kind of like stop them as soon as I can. So like, you know, I'm always listening again to podcasts and such about coping mechanisms, breathing techniques, or just ways to kind of redirect your negative thoughts when they start to creep in. So that's another way that I've found that helps me when I start to spiral out into anxiety about things that may or may not happen.

Kelly Berry (21:44): I think that's a great point too. One thing I also wanted to ask you about because I also don't think this is talked about a whole lot how much other relationships in your life are impacted when tragic things happen or when a family dynamic shifts because of the tragedy. So what's that look like for you shifting in relationships yeah, family, friends, otherwise.

Debbie Oster (22:10): Yeah, yeah, a lot shifted, you know, specifically when my father died, you know, our family, like I said, we were close, like, you know, family dinners, regularly seeing the nieces and nephews, like family, you know, getaways, all that. And when my father died, things just got in the way. We all kind of pulled apart a little bit. Issues, making big decisions on behalf of our mother got in the way. Our mother was diagnosed with dementia very shortly after our father passed. So taking care of her for the next five years just very Because there were so many of us, so many opinions, so many thoughts. Yeah, it definitely shifts things. And it's so funny because I've heard stories before or people tell me firsthand that, oh yeah, I haven't spoken to my brothers or sisters in this many years or since I was this age. And I always just thought like, that's insane. There is no reason to go without speaking to your immediate family for an extended period of time. And then I experienced it firsthand because of the tension and things that we all kind of experienced. And it was like we just kind of let it happen. And then after our sister and mother passed, so losing the third person in our family, I was just like, enough is enough. We cannot let another year go by without spending more time together. So we started a family tradition of family dinners once a month when we lost them. And we've kept it going now. So it's been almost two If we miss a day, we make up for it. We push up the next one. And it has been so rewarding for not just me, but I really believe for my brothers and sisters as well. It's just, I love it. I look forward to it every month. It's not like, oh, family dinner. It's like, family dinner is this Thursday. We all excited about what we're gonna cook and all of that. And so.

Kelly Berry (24:08): Mm-hmm.

Debbie Oster (24:12): I think that, yeah, going through those experiences and has helped actually in a roundabout way bring us closer in a more real way, you know?

Kelly Berry (24:25): I think that's amazing. And what I love about it is you just taking the initiative like enough's enough. I think a lot of times in situations like that, you can look around and wait for somebody else to do the thing or suggest and, you know, really all you have is control over what you're doing and your decision making. And I really just love that you did that and that you all have kept it going. And I know you and your sisters just took your first sisters trip too. So that's amazing.

Debbie Oster (24:59): Yep. Yeah, that's actually we decided after during this trip, it was going to be a new annual tradition for us because again, life's too short and you know, it was the first time that we had ever taken a trip and you know, it was it was bittersweet because our other sister couldn't be there and we had never tried to all take a trip together prior to her passing. So it's just I'm just so glad we did it and I can't wait for all the trips to come because it was just an amazing experience that you know we made memories that are going to last us a lifetime.

Kelly Berry (25:34): Yeah, that's great. I love that you did that. And, you know, again, like you said, it's never too soon or too late really to start a business. I think it's just important if you think that there's something that would enrich your life or your relationships, you know, it's never too late to say, hey, just cause you haven't taken sister trips for 20 years, it doesn't mean that you can't start and take them for the next 20. Yeah, yeah.

Debbie Oster (25:59): Mm-hmm. Yep. Whatever you said.

Kelly Berry (26:02): So I guess when you think about, now that we've talked about it, when you think about the past seven years of your life, what are you most proud of?

Debbie Oster (26:12): I think really starting a business. I've always been a people pleaser and you know, I thought, you know, so going back to childhood, like, you know, my father was pretty hard on me and it was because some of my other siblings weren't so great in school, weren't so academic in nature. And being one of six and you know, the fifth one of six, getting attention from your parents was hard. So I feel like that's kind of how I got their attention was by being the best that I could be like getting straight A's, playing every sport, being student class president, just doing all of the things, volunteering. And that was my way of trying to get their attention and affection. And then that is kind of what led me to just really like trying really hard in my career to like work my way up and make a lot of money be a manager and be a director. And then one day I wanted to be a VP because I wanted to show my parents how successful I was, how great I was. And then one day they weren't here anymore. And it was like, who are you doing this for? Do you really wanna be the VP at a large corporation, grinding every day, feeling unfulfilled, just trying to make somebody else happy?

Kelly Berry (27:25): Mm-hmm.

Debbie Oster (27:39): And that's not to say that you can't have a fulfilling career working in a corporation or being a VP, but for me, I just realized one day that this is not making me happy. And there's no one I need to be doing this for but me. And that's when I think I had my real revelation of like, I don't wanna do this anymore. It's time to start my business. It's time to do something for me and that I want and it might fail. But worst case scenario, I'll come back to working for somebody, you know? And so I went out and started my business, had a lot of help along the way from friends and colleagues like you and Nick and family. And yeah, it's just been amazing. And I don't regret one minute of it, even when it's gotten hard, even when I was broke, even when you know, I was awake at three in the morning, stressing about things with anxiety and I am just so happy that I did it and I'm not where I wanna be. I mean, I feel like most people aren't where they think they wanna be. But I'm just trying to like, and I know this is cliché too, but it's so true. Like I am really trying to just enjoy the journey and know that like I'll either get there one day or I won't, but I will have lived a life that was what I wanted, you know?

Kelly Berry (28:45): Mm-hmm.

Debbie Oster (29:01): Yeah, does that answer your question? I feel like I kind of talked to myself. I'm sorry.

Kelly Berry (29:05): Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that's absolutely something to be proud of. And I think, you know, what I'd like to talk about a little bit more is kind of your shift in going from the people pleasing to, you know, the more doing things that were in alignment with what you wanted. Do you remember like a change in your thought process about that or how you were able to let go of some of that people pleasing or high achiever type mentality to be able to just enjoy the journey? Because I think that those two things a lot of times are very much in conflict with each other.

Debbie Oster (29:44): Mm-hmm. Yeah. I don't remember the exact moment it happened, but it's, and by no means am I not a people pleaser anymore, but it's definitely less of a focus for me than it has been for the majority of my life. And the reason is because it just wasn't sustainable anymore. I couldn't start and grow a business feasibly while also trying to please everybody else in my life. My husband had to get on board with me making a lot less money than I was making working for a bigger company. that's not to say that's still the case, but it was for a while. And my friends had to get on board with, I can't go drink all day on Sunday Funday because I have to function like an adult, like a business owner come Monday morning. There's no going into Monday morning a little hungover with my sunglasses on like it was maybe in my 20s. It's like, I'm a business owner. Like I am the one that's responsible for whether this succeeds or doesn't. You know, and it became my left blood. So it's just, or my livelihood. So that has been like a part of the shift. And that, it's been hard. Like I've not necessarily lost friends, but I am not nearly as close with some of the friends that I have been extremely close with for the last 10 years. And that's because my priorities shifted and maybe their priorities have stayed the same. And I struggled with that for a but it was through talking to other friends and talking to family, talking to mentors and colleagues like you, just talking through it and understanding that it was okay to kind of let some of these friendships turn into what they've turned into because not everybody's here to be super close with you for your entire life. Like, I'm sure you heard this, but there's kind of like a season for everything. And even with friends and relationships. And that was one of the biggest or the hardest things for me to swallow in the last few years as things have shifted I feel like I'm in a place where I've like accepted it and I'm okay with it And I'm happy for it knowing that it's how I'm gonna succeed in my business

Kelly Berry (32:11): Mm-hmm, yeah. So the friendship challenge can be so hard. And I think I've had some, I'll just say revelations about relationships and friendships. And I think, you know, talking about them like they are here for a season is a great way to frame it. Because I think that a lot of the times the tension, or the stress that we feel from these changing relationships has a lot to do with expectations. If we expect our friends to react a certain way or we are expecting a relationship that we've had for a long time to continue in a new chapter or with new experiences, a lot of times it's just something that we have to stop and think about. Is the relationship still what I needed to be? Do I need to change my expectations around this relationship or friendship's role in my life? And a lot of times just thinking through that and figuring out, you know, these people are definitely still my friends and they still have had and have a very important place in my life, but maybe their role in my life right now is not the same that it has been. And for me, that has really helped remove just some of that tension or some of that disappointment. I think I felt a lot just with the things that I've gone through over the past couple of years. And I think that that's something that as women and as adults with friendships that we could probably just spend a little bit more time thinking about figuring out like what are the roles that we need these relationships to play in our life because it's not a static thing throughout life. And for me, that's just caused a lot of sadness, truthfully, and a lot of just unmet expectations that I think it was more on me than it was on them, if that makes sense.

Debbie Oster (34:20): Yeah, it does. It does. And I know you and I've talked about this before. To your point about the expectation setting, it's so true because somebody can't make you feel a certain way or a situation can't make you feel a certain way like disappointed or sad unless you have some expectation for it. And that's what we all have for our friends. We expect that our friends are gonna be there for us. But you know what? There's all different levels of friends. I have friends that I talk to once a year, but when we see each other, it's like no time has passed. And we both have the same expectation. We're just not gonna talk all the time. But then there's the friends that I literally see every single day. And just kind of knowing where somebody is and what, like you said, role they play in your life is really important. And being able to also recognize when you don't really have very high expectations or any expectations for somebody, and maybe they don't play much of a role in your life anymore. And that's okay, you know? But it can be really hard to grasp.

Kelly Berry (35:28): Yep. Yeah. I think that it can be hard to let any relationship go. But like I said, you don't always have to let the relationship go. It's maybe just an adjustment expectation. you know, when you go through tough things, it's so true. Like you really do find out who your friends are. And maybe that is something that you should just use to help you realign those expectations.

Debbie Oster (35:58): Yeah, that's a really good point. I've, through the losses I've the same people were there every single time, you know? Like, whether they were new or old, like, the same people were always there, and those are the people that I expect will probably be in my life and pretty near to me for the rest of it. Again, that could change obviously, but yeah, you do learn a lot when you go through things like that. I know you know as well.

Kelly Berry (36:32): Yep. Some of those things are lessons you wish you didn't have to learn in the moment because you feel like you already have so much on your plate. But I for me, just having some recognition doesn't mean that I was just like able to say, Oh, well, these people that I thought were my really good friends who would be in my life forever, I don't feel like have held up their end of the friendship. It doesn't mean like I had that realization and now I'm just okay. Like I still feel sadness, you know, it's like this morning of a loss of some of those relationships, but understanding that, you know, it was probably like my expectation, unspoken expectations, all of those things that just just cause you to feel misalignment, I guess is probably the best way to describe it.

Debbie Oster (37:23): Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's the word that came to my mind before I even said it. Yeah.

Kelly Berry (37:27): Yeah, Great. Well, this has all been really, really good. I think that, you know, when I look at you, and I think about what you're doing, even down to like motorcycle riding, you know, when I think of Debbie, I think of someone who's authentic, you know, she's going to do the things that she loves and the things that bring her joy and she's you know, even if she might be kind of a people pleaser, she's still somebody who is, working pretty relentlessly all the time to create a life that she not only loves, but thrives in and is proud of. So I appreciate you sharing your journey with us I do have a couple end of the podcast questions I didn't tell you about. So spring some things on you.

Debbie Oster (38:14): Okay.

Kelly Berry (38:16): So what is one thing personally or professionally that you would like to accomplish this year?

Debbie Oster (38:24): Professionally, I would like to be able to bring on an employee this year. Somebody, you know, I work with a lot of freelancers, but I would love to be able to bring on somebody to help delegate more things to so that I can focus on the higher impact, activities related to my business. Yeah, that's probably my biggest goal this year.

Kelly Berry (38:49): I can't wait to watch that happen. And then you may have answered this already but I'll ask and maybe you've got something else but how do you recharge?

Debbie Oster (39:02): I binge watch TV. I hate to admit it, but it's true. I do. My guilty pleasure is legitimately sitting in front of the TV for like a good four hours, binge watching a series or a couple of back-to-back movies. I have always loved movies and TV and I don't do a whole lot of it anymore. Mostly because I'm just busy and living life and I found a lot of hobbies that I enjoy. But two, because I'm married and my husband's very active and we like to do things together. So yeah, that would be my recharging method. Yeah.

Kelly Berry (39:42): Nice. I was not expecting that. I was expecting cooking or working out or, yeah, taking a walk. I wasn't expecting binge watching TV.

Debbie Oster (39:54): I know, I've identified the reason though. The reason is because when I watch television, movies, like I'm not big on documentaries, I hate reality TV. When I watch fiction things, it's like I get, my brain gets to kind of unplug, you know, and being in marketing especially and being a business owner like.

Kelly Berry (40:12): Mm-hmm.

Debbie Oster (40:16): I am plugged into so many things all day, every day. I've got a million platforms bringing me an email and text messages and phone calls and Zoom calls. And it's just a way for me to like zone out and not have to make any decisions and just enjoy the story, you know? Yeah, so I think that's why.

Kelly Berry (40:35): Mm-hmm. That makes total sense. I love it. I love that's what you do. And I always think it's great when people know what the answer is. Cause you know, sometimes if you don't know what the answer is and you're probably not doing the things that you need to, to do a reset or give your brain a break. So that's awesome. Great, well. Thank you so much, Debbie. This has been fantastic. I really appreciate you sharing your story. I know this is gonna be so valuable for people who are walking in similar journeys right now or have faced some of the things or similar to you as well. So inspirational for sure. Thank you so much.

Debbie Oster (41:21):Thank you. Thanks for having me