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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Dec 29, 2023 06:30AM ● By Sharon Bruckman

Welcome to a new year and our 30th anniversary issue of Natural Awakenings! It’s hard to believe it has been that long since I’ve been publishing this Collier-Lee edition, which ultimately became the flagship for our national franchise. I remember the thrill of completing the very first file for the printer on Christmas Eve, 1993, never imagining what a big reach my little publication would eventually have and how much I would need to stretch outside of my comfort zone to grow with it. 

After relinquishing the bigger piece of my work as a franchisor last year, I have had more time to not only enjoy other interests, but also nurture this local edition and reconnect with our local community of advertisers and readers. It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to build those personal relationships and participate in wonderful events around town.

When I told my daughter Alina that I wanted to shift even more of my publishing responsibilities so that I could embark on new adventures, she expressed an interest in taking the helm, and I jumped at the offer. I am thrilled to announce that Alina has moved from Vail, Colorado, where she has lived for 15 years, back to Naples where she was born, to share the reins with me. 

This month marks her official start date, and it is a dream come true for me, as there is no one I would rather collaborate with than her! Alina was 10 when I started the magazine. She grew up watching me and working on small projects over the years, often expressing an interest in someday taking a larger role in the magazine. We’ve got big plans for Natural Awakenings, both locally and nationally. Check out page 40 to learn about upcoming initiatives.

Alina’s presence makes it easier for our beloved, Lee County marketing queen Lisa Doyle to expand in new directions. After 14 years with us, she is shifting her attention to nurture two businesses: Blue Star Biofeedback L.I.F.E. System (see ad this page), which she founded, as well as her husband’s property restoration company, which is experiencing exponential growth. You’ll likely still see her toting a bundle of magazines around town, as she continues to support Natural Awakenings in a variety of ways. I am deeply grateful for her extraordinary services all these years. 

Life wouldn’t be as interesting without change and challenges, which I encountered many times over three decades in my intimidating role with Natural Awakenings. I share a glimpse into that experience in this month’s Wise Words article on page 22. Once I understood that stepping out of my comfort zone wasn’t a bad thing, I was free to enter an exciting place where I could grow, take advantage of new possibilities and feel the most alive. 

As we begin a new year, I invite you to consider stepping out of your own comfort zone and embracing new adventures and challenges that might help you stretch and feel more excited about life. This month’s “Graceful Aging” edition offers plenty of resources and ways to live a longer, healthier and happier life in 2024. 

To new beginnings,

Sharon Bruckman, publisher