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Big Heart Energy

Our local businesses are small but mighty let’s keep them that way.

Anyone else feel like they blinked and it’s the holiday season again?

In the best of ways, my holiday traditions have always looked a little different, particularly after my mom decided to open up woojungsushi in 2012: our small, family-run, sushi restaurant business in the Philadelphia suburbs. But the holidays are hitting differently for many this year, especially for yours truly. We are surrounded by additional responsibilities, awareness, and impact - the heavy stuff.

Flashback to just 2 weeks ago, when I sat across my exhausted, yet determined mom at the Hmart food court after helping her carry not one, not two, but THREE grocery runs in preparation for another week at the restaurant. Five days later, I spent the night with my Yoga Habit team ensuring that we’re aligned in yet another round of adjustments so that virtual classes can continue seamlessly. The running theme and messaging of just these two foundational small businesses in my life is this - we will survive.

This year has taught me a lot, but one of the key realizations has been an unintentional mastery of code-switching, a skill that’s helped me in my professional career, my yoga teaching, and my sushi serving. I’ve been especially grateful for this skillset as it’s helped me measurably fill gaps for my mom while we continue to grow the business.

You’ve heard it before the holidays are a time for giving back. And this year’s season of giving back should focus on the small but mighty players that help us feel some semblance of warmth & connection while we isolate at home. But giving back doesn’t have to look a certain way, and certainly doesn’t require everyone to give the same way... All it requires is the consistent choice to ensure that our actions have impact, with measurable and direct ways that we can enact change.

More often than not, the easiest ways for us to be accountable are subtle and oftentimes under the radar. They might not feel like you’re giving back, but they mean so much to these small businesses. Some ways you can help:

  • Go get take-out from your local restaurants who want to be around to help you celebrate when we’re on the other side of this thing.

  • Go invest in a membership at your local fitness studio (winter is coming, y’all - let’s virtually keep that movement and flow).

  • Go purchase from your local boutique/store who may not offer overnight delivery, but will remember your first name and your purchase preferences.

  • Go donate your time, skills, efforts to an organization who reminds you that your time is valuable and worthy. (this last bullet is a key reason why I chose to join Giveadelphia this year).

Small businesses have big heart energy. And if nothing else, this is my invitation for anyone reading to invest your valuable selves into the big heart energy that small businesses offer. Giving back this year will (and must) take new forms, and I take that as a testament to our collective growth. In any landscape, we can focus on the choice to be the fullest versions of ourselves, acknowledging that we’re all real humans with a very real capability for impact and change.

Let me know if you ever want sushi or yoga - happy to be of service.

Yours in resilience,


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