ELIZABETH "LIZ" GIBBS PERSONAL STORY
Growing up in Winchester, VA, I was lucky to have some wonderful mentors in my life that empowered me to step into my highest potential – as an athlete (the first female at my school to letter in three varsity sports as a freshman), as a student (attained a full year of college credits before graduating high school) and as a leader (class and student government President). Then, I attended the University of Virginia where I attained a BA in Economics and a minor in Psychology.
I spent my first year out of college working in financial consulting, then followed my heart to Bagamoyo, Tanzania to volunteer my time offering HIV/AIDS education to students in secondary schools. In my free time, I found myself painting, singing, dancing, cooking and storytelling with new friends in the community. It was in this experience that my life changed forever. While I went to serve others, I ended up receiving more than I could have ever given. I learned what it meant to be grateful, to be truly joyful, to celebrate life and to be in deep connection and community with others.
For the last 12 years living in Jackson Hole, WY, I have been on the mission to find a “career” that enabled me to embody and spread the love, joy, gratitude, service, and connection that I experienced in Tanzania while also putting to use my business and psychology education and leadership abilities.
I worked as Director of Communications for a restaurant group where I learned the intricacies of creating hospitable spaces for connection over food and drink. Here, I started the company’s first cause-marketing campaign that has since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-profits and gained editorial coverage in top-tier publications. Then, I worked in and consulted for various social enterprises on brand strategy and communications, gaining a deeper understanding of how to use business as a catalyst for social change. I spent the next chapter working in a tech startup managing teams in Tokyo, Koln and San Francisco and implementing emotional intelligence and company culture practices that enabled personal growth and helped bridge the belief systems, language and cultural differences of an international company.
Despite all my “success” in the traditional sense of the word, I still felt like there was something missing. So, simultaneously to my traditional “work,” I took on another full-time job – my own personal and spiritual development work. And let me tell you, that is the real work. I have spent the last decade uncovering limiting beliefs, writing new stories, reframing past experiences, becoming aware of my unique strengths and finding clarity on my life’s purpose. Then, about three years ago, I began working with energy, meditation and stepping into deeper spiritual practices. This journey, to me, has been learning how to deeply love, honor and accept myself and others as we all journey through this school of life. My true work has been the practice of committing over and over again to be the best version of myself in service of the highest good.
After countless self-help books, healing sessions and traveling to every corner of the globe in search of my purpose, I finally had the realization that my purpose wasn’t a job or any other societal label. My true purpose is to Be the Light and spread love into the world. I have spent every day since setting the same intention every morning: may my thoughts, words, energy and actions today be in greatest service of my highest potential and the highest potential of the world. And wouldn’t you know it – my decade long search for that elusive “purpose” started to reveal itself.
In 2017, after hearing about the neo-nazi riots in Charlottesville, VA, a place I called home for four years, I was so distraught. Feeling a sense of helplessness being so far away, I took to heart Teddy Roosevelt’s suggestions to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” and Project:SPACE was born. SPACE is a brand that promotes Unity through Empowerment. Our brand encourages putting our values into action and Stepping into Peace, Acceptance, Compassion and Equality & any other value you see to be true, good and beautiful. It is both a reminder to bring awareness to the space in between stimulus and response and to choose to show up in alignment with your values as well as a reminder to “hold space” for all, no matter the race, religion, political party, beliefs, etc. a person is labeled with and to give everyone (yourself included) the dignity and respect of being on their own unique journey. ”Holding space” for someone means having empathy, withholding judgment, being present & curious and sending the energetic message of #wereinthistogether. The brand promotes the concept of “collective individualism” – taking personal responsibility for our own individual change in service of the collective good. We may not be able to change the world, but we can commit to changing ourselves which, in turn, will help us create a new world, together.
As soon as Beth and I reconnected, we came to a beautiful realization of our shared mission. We both have a deep knowing that we are here, right now, for the purpose of enabling more love, joy, peace, acceptance, generosity, kindness, empowerment and appreciation so that we can all step into our highest potential. So, we are combining our expertise, ideas and visions and creating a full plan for the execution and scaling of this mission. Stay tuned at www.wearespace.org – we are honored and humbled to be a vessel for this mission.