Publisher's Perspective: Growth is hardGrowth is hard. That seems true whether you’re talking about personal growth or growth in a company.

I’d like to think I’ve been working on a bit of both right now.

The Independent is growing again as a result of the hiring of new sales director Cory Smith and account representative Michelle McKenna. They have both already proven themselves to be smart and dedicated workers as well as team players. Thanks go out to both of them for their excellent efforts this month.

This is also one of the times of the year when I personally put in a lot of hours. The majority of businesses in Zion Canyon and Kanab areas, my primary stomping grounds, make their marketing decisions for the year in this 2-to-3-month window. So I am running at a very fast pace in order to contact everyone we serve and those we’d like to in those areas. It’s been tiring but also very productive.

We also brought back a former member of our staff, Nikki Slade. While Nikki is very proficient in many areas, the current incarnation of our company requires her to wear a lot of hats she did not previously wear when she worked for us a decade ago. Her jobs as office manager and my personal assistant do not adequately describe the variety of tasks required of her on a weekly basis. She’s doing a bang-up job learning the new ropes and has been willing and eager to delve head-on into new tasks. Thank you for your patience and tenacity, Nikki.

The growth in ads in the last month allows us to publish a publication with more overall pages, thereby allowing room for more content. So this 32-page issue of The Independent is up from 24 pages last month, and this 16-page Zion Guide is up from 12 pages last month. Some of the highlights of this April issue of The Independent include Dallas’ latest opinion piece, a local album review, Virgin river UDOT info, and a piece about a motion filed by Conserve Southwest Utah, the Conservation Lands Foundation, and The Wilderness Society to intervene in Washington County’s appeal in the Interior Board of Land Appeals of the Final Resource Management Plans for the Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas.

Additionally, our awesome event coverage includes the cover story on Heritage Theater Group, Brigham’s Playhouse, the Beaver Dam Jam, and at the Kanab 10K among a lot of other great events coverage. The Zion Guide expansion allowed us to include both popular hikes and complementary less-traveled hikes features. We also very much enhanced our tips and suggestions in the first two pages of the edition as well as expanded our event calendar and events coverage. We also added a listing of featured businesses in both the Springdale and East Zion/Kanab areas to complement those respective maps.

Let me point out that while the Zion area calendar is pulled from our larger calendar that fills the back pages of each issue of The Independent, the events articles themselves always only appear in one section or the other. That’s to say that you’ll find all the Springdale and Kanab events still listed in our main calendar, but be sure to check out the more detailed events articles in the Zion Guide section, as those articles only appear there.

On a personal front, even amidst my heavy workload, I have been trying hard to analyze my old habits and behaviors to identify areas where I can improve. I know, for instance, that in this last couple of months of increased workload, I have not done nearly as well as usual to nurture and take care of myself.

As a result, my well-being has suffered. I feel that neglecting doing regular yoga and other physical activity as well as hot baths and massages has negatively affected my mood. But they say awareness is the first step, so it at least I know I need to be taking steps to move back the other direction. I’ve got to believe that I would do better taking care of my customers if I am at my happiest and most well-balanced state. It certainly is likely to be affecting my other personal relationships.

They say that if you make a public pledge to do something, you are far, far more likely to follow through with it, so today I am recommitting to my effort to prioritize my own personal health and wellness, do yoga regularly, take time to consider what my best nutritional and other inputs can be, do other exercise, and seek out additional means to nurture myself. I have been lucky enough to be blessed with good health, but at 40 years old, I really should not be taking that for granted. I really need to look at opportunities to improve, and if anything, I should be working to be in the best of health I have ever been.

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