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Bret S. Beall


New Beginnings! New Hope!
by Bret S. Beall

With January here, it is appropriate for many of us to think about resolutions, change, new beginnings and hope for the future.  While we certainly can (and should) think about these things any day or month of the year, the symbolism of a new year is very strong, and often gives us additional incentive to accomplish what we want to do!

Why might one want to start over?  Maybe our job isn’t meeting our needs.  Maybe we’ve had some sort of loss.  Maybe our lives feel out of control, and we want to take charge.  Maybe we have had troubles, and now it’s time to leave them behind and start fresh.  Or maybe we just had a bad day, and we want to turn it into a good day.  It could be anything, big or small.  All that matters is that we want to change.

If you are reading this and thinking, “Yeah!  I need a new beginning!” then you’ve already taken the most important step of all.  Just acknowledging your need is the first step toward solutions.  Congratulations!  Let’s keep that momentum now!

It’s very important to define exactly what the problem is.  Are you not making enough money?  Are you working too hard?  Are you not getting the respect or acknowledgement that you deserve?  Are you missing someone who has left you by moving away, breaking up, or dying?  Are you tired of being overweight, or smoking, or drinking too much?  Are you partaking in some other behavior you’d prefer to leave behind, like spending too much time on the Internet, or watching too much TV, or spending too much money?  Are you keeping a secret that is holding you back?  Are you denying your true self?

Once you’ve defined your need, you must develop a strategy to solve/resolve it.  Because every issue has a unique fix, I need to move from the general to the specific by sharing some personal anecdotes.  I hope you’ll be able to find some hope from my examples.

I’ve had many new beginnings.  The first one that I really remember was when I was a youngster.  I was born just south of San Francisco, and my memories of my California childhood are very happy.  That ended when I was seven when my father was transferred to St. Louis.  My life became very sad there.  I felt like I just didn’t fit in, and I ate to alleviate the pain, gaining weight.  Then my family moved to the Ozarks when I was 12, and I really didn’t fit in, and I continued to eat, and continued to gain weight.  I had to wear “husky” clothes, and I was bad in my Physical Education classes (I made A’s in everything, except PE, where I made C’s).  More sadness, more eating, more weight, more teasing and ridicule.  At some point, perhaps when I was about 14, I decided to change.  I knew I had to eat less, so I just stopped eating lunch.  In hindsight, this wasn’t smart or healthy, but I did it, and I started losing weight.  Of course, this was about the same time that I started to go through puberty, so my body changed on its own, and I gradually lost the weight, and was able to keep it off.   Being an average size, rather than husky, allowed me to have a new beginning where my weight was not the first impression people developed of me.

My next new beginning was when I finally escaped the Ozarks and began my dream career via college education.  Since I was four years old, I had known I wanted to become a paleontologist.  Many kids go through that “dinosaur phase” and grow out of it, but I was stubborn.  I put all of my energy into achieving that dream. I had worked hard in high school, and shared the rank of #1 with two others in my class, and earned other awards.  I entered the University of Missouri - Columbia with limitless hope for the future, and worked diligently to learn everything I could.   I eventually graduated with a BS with general honors and “Honors in Geology,” as well as other awards.

In paleontology, a BS won’t get you anywhere, so I was thrilled to be accepted with full support at The University of Michigan (my first choice graduate school).  At UM’s Museum of Paleontology, I’d work all day, then go home and work all night.  I developed relationships around the world because I knew the importance of networking.  I began giving national talks and lectures.  My early hope led to a new life of international scientific fame.

Eventually, I was hired by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History for two years to curate an important collection of fossils.  This was my dream job, and I remember walking down the street of my home feeling such profound joy about my present and future.  I was curating the collections, doing research, giving talks, publishing papers, and finishing my PhD dissertation.  I ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records for one of my co-authored papers (and Johnny Carson joked about our discovery on The Late Show!).  I was invited to Italy to speak about my new approach to analyzing certain kinds of fossils.  When I sent my completed dissertation to my committee, I received many positive, affirming comments, but the one that still resonates with me is, “Bret, you’ve exceeded all of our greatest expectations.  See you at defense!”  I was on top of the world, but that was short-lived.  When I started applying for other positions, I learned (with first-hand evidence, not hearsay) that my primary PhD advisor, Dan, was writing letters of non-recommendation!  I was devastated by the betrayal.  When I approached Dan about his letters with a non-accusatory, “I have ‘heard’ …” approach, he denied them, which further devastated me.  Because Dan had lied, I knew I didn’t have his support, so I could no longer continue in paleontology, and I couldn’t defend my dissertation.  I left, crestfallen and hopeless … for a while.

I got a fresh start via a job in non-profit healthcare association management, and built a reputation for my managerial talents by day while I had new dreams by night of starting my own company.  Though that job was a new beginning, it wasn’t the beginning I wanted.  Nevertheless, I had to put food on the table and pay the rent, so I worked diligently, gaining innumerable skills, and having the opportunity to travel North America to promote my accounts.  All of this helped me build a foundation that would eventually allow me to leave this position in order to begin a new life based on new dreams and hope. 

While in graduate school, I had conducted a thought experiment, prescient in hindsight, asking myself what I would do if I couldn’t continue in paleontology.  That was when I created the core of what would become GOD-DESS, my educational lifestyle services company.  In mid 2000, I had the opportunity to build on that core when I parted ways with my managerial job, and began the research that would develop into the unique evidence-based theories that today form the foundation of Global Organic Designs:  Discovering Earth’s Science & Spirit (GOD-DESS), and the services that I offer.  My hope for my new dream had become reality!

Despite the international acclaim that GOD-DESS has received, I still have hope for some new beginnings.  I really want to see GOD-DESS grow to the point where I have more flexibility and freedom to begin offering new services.  Also, I’ve been unsuccessful with finding a partner-in-life; I keep hoping for love.  Finally, while I’ve truly enjoyed living in Chicago, I’ll soon be returning to the West Coast (Portland, Oregon, to be specific) for yet another new beginning.  Having hope for these future changes excites me!

Eventually, everyone needs a new beginning.  Just think of a young artist and singer who had only moderate success as Stefani Germanotta.  She knew she needed to reinvent herself to have a new beginning, and so she became Lady Gaga.  Love her or hate her, she is an international phenomenon, all because she sought a new beginning.

Are you the next Lady Gaga?  Are you willing to take a chance and begin anew?  Set your fears and uncertainty aside, and become the YOU that you were meant to be.  Don’t let another day go by suffering your present life when you can embrace a new future.  You can do it!

I hope everyone reading this essay will accept my invitation to let today be the start of something new and wonderful for you, and to do so with the hope of a bright, glorious, successful future! 

© Copyright 2014 Bret S. Beall.  All Rights Reserved.

 Lifestyle Management and Seasoned Living
Bret S. Beall, MS, PhD (Cand). As the CEO of GOD-DESS, I help people live fantastic lives with minimal time, effort or money. I have used my rigorous scientific training to synthesize psychology, sensory input, and logic, with global cuisine, décor, lifestyle concepts, indoor gardening and travel for each individual in an easy-to-understand, easy-to-create and easy-to-maintain style. For more information, please visit my website, www.god-dess.com, or call me at 773.508.9208, or email me at bret@god-dess.com.

Let’s start at the beginning, though. I was born in California’s San Francisco Bay area and lived there until I was seven. During this time, my family often took vacations to the seashore and to the redwood forests. There, I first felt the great interconnectedness of all life. At seven, I moved with my family to St. Louis, Missouri, where I continued my environmental interests (including growing houseplants). When I was twelve, we moved to the Ozarks of southern Missouri, where I lived on a farm and witnessed intimately the cycle of birth, life and death. We raised cattle, ducks, geese and rabbits, and I worked on our neighbor’s pig farm; we also grew a variety of produce and I first learned about preparing and preserving food. It was also at this time that I truly began acting on my interests in art, design and esthetics.

I did my undergraduate work in geology at the University of Missouri - Columbia, graduating with general honors and honors in geology; my coursework included a typical array of liberal arts courses (art, philosophy, history) along with the sciences (geology, physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology). By living in an off-campus efficiency, I learned the basics of simple cooking and living. After graduation, I went on to Masters and PhD work in evolutionary paleontology at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; my studies included geology, paleontology, biology, ecology and evolution, all presented within the framework of proper scientific methodology.

Ann Arbor has a terrific Farmer’s Market, which inspired me and helped me to act on my interest in ethnic cuisines and entertaining; this had to be done on a budget (given my graduate student salary) and efficiently (given my graduate student time requirements). I satisfied my artistic inclinations by doing extensive scientific illustration to accompany my original research. Teaching courses and speaking publicly at student seminars, at national and international meetings, and at various clubs and organizational meetings provided a level of excitement I had not experienced previously as I shared the information and data that I had collected. “Sharing” was the key, I realized, and this is when the seeds of GOD-DESS were planted.

I left Ann Arbor for Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History to accept a position as Curatorial Coordinator of Mazon Creek Paleontology. My long hours working on both museum responsibilities and my own research required living both time-efficiently and cost-effectively. In a very short period of time, I realized I did not want to spend the rest of my life within the academic world. I had already experienced a high level of international success, praise and recognition, for which I am grateful (including making it into the Guinness Book of World Records, and having Johnny Carson make a joke about my research on The Tonight Show). I eventually left the rarefied world of paleontology. This is when the seeds of GOD-DESS began to sprout and grow.

I spent the next decade in the field of not-for-profit healthcare association management, honing my skills in efficiency maximization, streamlining, prioritization, customer service, budgeting, organization, communication and simplification, and applying the rigors of my scientific training to the needs of my clients. My clients experienced extraordinary growth and profitability.

Although my salary was better than it was in academia, I still practiced my cost-efficient living, including preparing meals at home to eat at work. The hours were often very long, so time-effectiveness and efficiency-management continued to be important, if not vital. I traveled extensively in my various roles (including organizational representative, event organizer, executive manager, and lecturer); often, I tacked on vacation time to cost-effectively explore the various cities and regions that I was fortunate to visit, which further enhanced my travel planning skills. On my own time during this decade, GOD-DESS grew into a fledgling company, relying on the empiricism of my own experiences and my research.

After more than a decade of helping my clients experience almost 900% budgetary growth, 900% membership growth, 400% meeting attendance growth, and enhanced visibility that cannot be quantified, I knew it was time to become my own boss and devote myself 100% to GOD-DESS.

I believe we are always in the right place at the right time. Because of that belief, everything that I do, whether paleontology, or executive healthcare management, or lifestyle counseling, I do well, to the absolute best of my abilities. A lifetime of experience and research has now created GOD-DESS and everything it can do for you. I am grateful.



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