Taking a leap of faith

When you're taking a leap of faith, you're never alone. Nicole and I teamed up on this post to share our individual perspectives on a pivotal moment.


Tony and I have been together a little over five years, and during this time, I’ve become very laid back. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say I’m more laid back that I was before we met. Which, if I’m being honest, means I’m probably still not even on the “laid back” spectrum.  

I’m a planner. Not the kind of planner who creates an Excel spreadsheet for everything I do, but I like to have a general idea of what’s going to happen on any given day. I like predictability. I like knowing that if I get up, go to work and work hard, I’ll have roughly the same amount of money deposited into my bank account every two weeks.  

Enter my husband. My free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, go-with-the-flow, “it’ll all work out” husband. When we first married, he had two children, and overnight I went from being single with two cats (no judgement, please) to a stepmom of a four- and six-year-old. This was a huge shift in my life and my mindset. No longer did I have complete control of my months, weeks or even days. I gave up a life with cadence in exchange for an unpredictable, crazy ride filled with limitless birthday parties, baseball games and homework. While it was a struggle at first, I can see now how the past five years have helped me take things a little less seriously and have a little more fun (most of the time).

Although I’ve made great strides in developing my “go-with-the-flow” attitude, when Tony wants to try something new, my ingrained first reaction is typically one of reluctance and hesitation. I like our safe little box, so the thought of climbing out of it makes me anxious.  

So when Tony approached me about opening a wine and coffee bar, my reaction was utterly predictable.. Sure, I loved the idea of it -- as something to pursue maybe five years down the road -- but not right now. “Doesn’t he know how much of a risk it is to open your own business?” I wondered.

As we talked (and talked) about it, well yes, he does understand the risks as much as I do. But his passion and dedication have also deeply impressed me, and I’ve come to see the many benefits this venture can bring to our family and our community.  Now I’m inspired by my own sense of purpose, which is to encourage and assist him the best that I can.  

So, here we are, embarking on another unpredictable,  exciting and (I’ll admit it) scary adventure. Together.

The proverbial leap of faith has many meanings to me: faith in God that His plans will be realized, faith in my husband and myself and faith in our marriage. At some point, you have to jump off the cliff. At some point, you have to take your leap of faith. At some point, you’ve got to just go for it.


As I look over the edge, the cliff seems extremely high. Now that I’m here, I realize that I’ve never really imagined just what this would feel like. Sure, I’ve taken chances in the past, but this is something completely new, something incredibly exhilarating and utterly foreign.

I’m starting my own business.

Throughout my career, I’ve been a forward thinker. Looking ahead is in my nature, as is routinely asking, “What’s next?” and “How do I take what I’ve learned to further my career?”

But in this moment in time, even as I stand on a precipice, I find myself looking back. As I do,  I recognize – and celebrate – everything that I’ve learned and accomplished for leading me to this point. This includes, of course, my time with the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, which has been nothing short of amazing. I love my role as head cheerleader for Downtown Arlington. Building community and revitalizing the heart of our city is definitely the most rewarding and inspiring job I’ve ever had.

Still, even as Downtown transforms, I began to look ahead at my own life and career, just as I’ve done before.  Although this time, I found myself looking for answers to deeper questions than those about making money or my next career move. Instead, I asked, “What legacy will I leave behind for my children?” and “Can I build something that will sustain my family for generations?”

Those questions led me to envision and launch Urban Alchemy. As it turns out, that was the easy part. The hard part came next.

Throughout the months of planning for the coffee and wine bar, I imagined a scenario where I would maintain my day job. I’d be Clark Kent by day and super-entrepreneur by night. Heck, I’ve always believed in myself. Why would this be any different? Not only was I confident that I could manage both enterprises, it also seemed prudent to maintain my stable and consistent paycheck as a way to mitigate the risk of my start-up. Once Urban Alchemy took off,  I’d reevaluate my options and maybe then make the transition to full-time entrepreneur.

Well, you know the saying: the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. While I wouldn’t say my plans went awry, it was very clear that God had a different plan for me.

Someday, when I inevitably ask myself, “What has Urban Alchemy taught me, and what am I going to do next that builds on that knowledge?” I’m confident that I will remember March 1, 2017 as the date I gave myself over to a divinely-directed future. On March 1, the first day of Lent, I gave my notice to the DAMC. It was a very difficult decision – as right ones often are --  but it was clear to me that God was saying, “You need to draw closer to me, and trust my plan for your life.”

And so, as my time with the DAMC draws to a close, I peer ever-so-carefully over the edge of the cliff. It still looks like a pretty big leap, but this is God’s territory, and I trust His plan for my life.

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”



Next up: Giving Back

Tony Rutigliano