Reject cynicism.

Defy apathy

Celebrate good.

A Surprise Invitation

Zorana Vulevic June 28, 2024 | 3 MIN 36 SEC READ

I was recently invited to write a journal entry for BitterSweet. Unsurprisingly, in panic, my first thought was, but what if it's not good enough?

Now as I gather the courage to start writing after nearly a decades block, I remember my first BitterSweet retreat. Particularly attending a writer's workshop feeling out of place as my role is a Story Producer and Production Coordinator, not writer, editor, or any real creative position. Who am I to sit in on a writer's workshop when I don't fit in or better yet, am overcome with guilt for not writing for so long. Why did I stop writing you ask? The short answer: a little mix of life happens, a dash of time flies, and just a sprinkle of fear. The actual story: far too messy, layered with inconsistencies, self-protection, perfectionism, esteem, doubts and insecurities, overthinking, amongst other naturally human phenomena. The anxieties that rob us of our present and truth. I just couldn't get out of my own way (for which I highly recommend Emma Gannon’s book Sabotage: How to Get Out of Your Own Way).

I point blankly lost my voice, and couldn't get it back. Not without an invitation. Not without this invitation.

Kate Schmidgall, BitterSweet's Founder and Director, gently sat in the corner of the semicircle formed in the workshop. The prompt was "why do you write?" and the conversation flowed to discussing how to start writing. I hear Kate's voice, simply and profoundly, radiating from her corner to the middle of the room, "I always start with the truest sentence I know." What is the truest sentence I know?

I am grateful to be here. There is something very special to me about working and partnering with BitterSweet.

BitterSweet Centers People

I am more than BitterSweet's Story Producer. I am Zorana first. In all of my humanness, I am valued as a person with unique gifts and talents, different from that of my team members, but valued just the same. More than a role and more than one role. I'm invited to challenge myself and my capabilities, learn and evolve both professionally and personally. It's encouraged me to take more ownership, risks, and experiment outside of what's in my job description. You can come as you are and dream as you dare.

BitterSweet Builds Trust

Establishing genuine trust relies on truly caring about people. When others speak their truths courageously, you find yours. Vulnerability seeps from their words into your heart igniting you to return it back. Vulnerability is a domino effect, once one person falls, we all do, together in unison. With courage, we get right back up. I am inspired by their courage and vulnerability to occasionally gather up my own, to share my voice and perspective, and to receive guidance and advice. We are heard and we listen.

BitterSweet Celebrates Good

Toxic positivity doesn't exist here, but constant goodness does. At BitterSweet Monthly, "we square up with the harsh realities and heavy statistics to find glimmers of solution, of fearlessness and faithfulness, of hope. Together we reject cynicism, defy apathy, and celebrate good that the world needs more of."

While this initially drew me in, it's what keeps me here. To see the way BitterSweet's community uses their craft to inspire and be inspired is, well, inspiring. The constant resonance and reminder of goodness, in myself, in others, and our world. It's not ignorance, far from it, to me, it's a subtle revolution that should keep growing, keep spreading.

I hope BitterSweet continues living its vision and inviting others to do the same.

  • To create a company we all want to work for.
  • To build strong trust that allows for continued flexibility.
  • To evolve as an influential and sustainable creative agency, contributing our best to the world.

A surprise invitation can be daunting, but it's usually a much needed call to action. To see beyond what is and focus on what can be.

By Zorana Vulevic ,Bittersweet Creative Story Producer