The first time I thought to myself “your hustle, Kristin Giese, isn’t going to be your average, everyday hustle” was when I was 5 years old and my teacher, Mrs. Hall was explaining to my mom, as I stood by arms crossed in a denim romper and red clogs, that I had a hard time taking direction, not because I didn’t understand what she was asking of me but because I wanted to do things on my own terms, in my own way. On the ride home in our tiny maroon Chevrolet my mother explained to me, complete with wistful glances in the rearview mirror for impact, that there would be a time and place when “my own terms, my own way” would be acceptable. It seemed though, my kindergarten paint corner and animal habitat was not it. But, today as I stood over a spiritual and religious offering in downtown Hoi An in Vietnam, I found myself relishing in a ‘my own terms, my own way’ moment and giving thanks for all it took to get me here.  Professional defeats. Gripping and clawing.  Making the rules. Breaking the rules. Playing by the rules. Boys club. No girls allowed. And yet…there I was. Downtown Hoi An. International buying trip. It would seem that even though I’ve got 34 years on my 5-year-old self, I’m still taking a play right out of her playbook and proving that even in an ever-critical world when going with the flow is much easier than walking stridently against it, you can still get upstream. You can write your story as you see it. You can realize the dreams you hold. You can, despite the Mrs. Hall’s of the world telling you differently, have the life you want on your own terms, in your own way as long as you have the guts to stay in the chase to get it. So today on a bustling street in Hoi An over an offering given by a complete stranger in a foreign language, I stopped and gave thanks for a little girl, her red clogs and her hustle…

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