Taking a Left with Rebecca-Chapter 3

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my amazing parents

They met at Syracuse University and were part of the reason I chose to go there. They made a home in the Smith Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island where they brought my sister, had my brother, and then I came along as their third child. Dad was a minister and community organizer at a local nonprofit. Mom was an artist with her own business. They were social justice activists, promoted peace and believed strongly in loving thy neighbor. I am definitely their daughter – from starting my own business like Mom to the community development we do at half full, I definitely paid attention to them when I was growing up.

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gone too soon

I had the best parents. They were super loving and embraced my uniqueness from the start. They never made me feel different. They made me feel normal. Loved. Beautiful. I hated the moments when I saw the hurt in their eyes when I was teased or uncomfortable – like the time one of my teachers told my whole class that it was my Mom's fault that I only had two fingers on my left hand. Despite the fact that we both knew this was not true (scientifically and through countless conversations with doctors), she cried knowing how hard it must have been for me to sit there and hear that in front of all of my classmates.

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We all know that we will eventually lose the ones we love – but it will always hurt. And I can feel myself getting teary eyed as I write this. They passed away way too young. Not sure I can describe the feeling of a “void” much better than the true meaning of that word – not only did me, my brother and my sister feel (and still feel) the void – so did (and does) the Providence community.

the personal and professional collide

I've always believed that our personal and professional lives are intertwined and my career started taking off just as my private life was falling apart. Around the time of my parents deaths was the first beginnings of half full. Two of my colleagues and I decided to branch out on our own and form this new business. We were drawn together by a mutual desire to utilize an optimistic and common sense approach to help companies and individuals achieve goals perceived as impossible. My own story informed much of the business and became the underlining premise of half full. I came up with the company name while looking at a "half full" glass of wine and felt it resonated with my story – the glass resonated, not the wine!

During the time my partners and I were designing the business, Mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed soon after. I spent every moment I could of the last week of her life at her hospital bedside. On one of those days, I picked up a marker to write on her hospital room's board. I wrote the words....

half full

We would get through this as a strong, loving family. I didn’t know that there was even more to get through together. After Mom passed, Dad told us that he was sick with pulmonary fibrosis. My sister, brother and I went from losing Mom so quickly, to preparing for Dad’s passing over the next three years. Dad’s doctor said he had never seen anyone do so well despite his illness. That was Dad. He was determined to be with us as long as he could to make sure the three of us were going to be okay.

During those three years, Dad was a mentor to the half full business and great believer in its values. I hold our values to be so true to this day and am grateful for his guidance.

  • We do not judge or assume – we believe everyone is unique, and we respect that everyone has their own opinion, their own way of doing things and their own way of being.

  • We listen to understand – we believe active listening is one of the keys to a successful relationship. We listen with intent. We ask questions. We are active communicators.

  • We are grateful – we are grateful for each new day, the people we meet in our work and the opportunities we are given.

  • We give back – we are committed to corporate social responsibility, and our “do well, do good” business model drives our motivation for helping others in the community.

  • It’s about we – we believe in collaboration as staff and in partnership with our clients. We always consider others in our decision making.

Even today, my parents continue to remind me what it means to be a good person – to lead with love.

The Taking a Left with Rebecca e-newsletter series tells the story of half full founder Rebecca Twitchell’s trials and triumphs of living with only two fully developed fingers on her left hand. Stay tuned as her tale unfolds over the coming weeks.

Contact Rebecca at rtwitchell@half-full.com

Have a friend or family member looking for guidance to achieve their goal? Tell them about the Women's Forward presented by half full happening October 25-27 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. This exclusive experience includes personal development workshops plus one-on-one coaching by Rebecca and the half full team.

Learn more here.