Have you ever had one of those pivotal turning point moments? Those moments when you know something’s got to give. If you haven’t yet, just wait. 😉 Here is the story of one of mine (I have had a few). I’m one of those people who have had multiple different careers. A little background… I love, love, loved (and still love) one of my most-defining careers, training facilitators and working hands-on with students across the country with Ignite. The long and short of it was this – I was travelling for work a few times a month when “Little Man” was born – after my first turnaround overnight trip when he was 4 months old, my husband and I both thought, “I don’t know how we can do this.” So after working in schools doing peer mentoring programs for a decade, I left. It was a bold move to leave a paying job to start my own business, another passion project. I founded and directed BRIDGES Camps for Girls. I spent the next several years in blood, sweat and tears, in creation and delivery, and loving it. Then fast forward and for financial reasons and because we wanted to expand our family (“Little Man” was 3), we pulled the plug on BRIDGES, or because it is still ‘plugged in’ and somehow connected, I like to say it is “back-burnered”. If anyone has had to “back-burner” a dream because, well, life…you know this dull painful feeling of failure it leaves. Some of it lingers, I know I have more work to do to move through the pain, to harness it into the creation of something more (like this site)…but more on the gifts of failure another day.
After having our “Baby Girl”, I was blessed to be able to stay home with them for a time, rather I should say, we made the tough choice to have me not work full time. I always thought I’d be a working mom. My Mom was a working mom, heck my Grandma was a working mom helping to run a company and a tight ship at home. I didn’t know until I got there…until I had my little humans and was trying to keep the same pace with work and even traveling for work…how much I would be pulled to slow down that time with them. Oh, how I loved that time with them!
And then we got to where it made sense for me to get a job, or should I say, I HAD to. Enter one of a handful of jobs I have had in my life that were outside of personal development and not working with youth. I got my Real Estate license and went to sell new homes for a large new home builder. A job that was ridiculously fun for me… to be in beautiful model homes and help people who were mostly happy to be there with you. Everything was peachy about new home sales except for having to work evenings and weekends. My son was in elementary at the time and my daughter was in preschool. So I was still able to see her two days a week, Monday and Tuesday that I was off. Soon she would start full day Kindergarten. I began to count the hours that I was able to spend with my kids each week. Working moms, you know the drill, you know there is no coming back from making those calculations. After I figured out that outside of functional parenting time (meaning: wake them up, help brush teeth, get them to school, and then at the end of the day, make dinner, brush teeth, and kiss them goodnight), I really only had 10 hours a week with them. Monday and Tuesday after school until bedtime was only ten hours a week! After that mental calculation, I cried every day on my 45 minute commute to work for about half the drive and spent the other half putting my face back together, and then I cried the whole 45 minute drive home each night because I missed being with my family so much. What kind of sissy-lala working mom was I? Get it together sister!
On a day that I miraculously had off with them and their dad, which must have been Mother’s Day because my Mother-in-Law was there…I had my turning point…or should I say melting point. All I wanted was to have more time with my kids — and instead of spending time with them, that day I found myself on the floor in our laundry room, hiding from Little Man and Baby Girl, so they wouldn’t see that I was sobbing, snot coming out my nose bawling. I was trying to hide the noise of my sobs by covering my mouth with the cleanest dirty shirt I could find, hoping it would also be drowned out by the sound of the washer filling with water. My kids were playing on the front patio with Grandma and I was having a ‘come-apart’ sitting knees pulled into my chest among piles of dirty laundry. I couldn’t get my shit together enough to go enjoy a nice day.
All I was thinking was how pissed I was that I couldn’t have it all! I felt lied to. We were told as a generation of women that we could be anything or anyone we wanted. Yes? Then why did it feel like I had to choose?? Career woman or present mom? World changer or someone who can pay the bills? Live your passion and go after your dreams or working mom with a practical job that has benefits but sucks the creative life out if you? And I felt I was not alone in that…not alone in feeling the pressure of having to compromise, not alone in being angry about not figuring out how to have it all, not alone in the disconnect between who we thought we would be and who we had become.
The emotions of feeling not enough were overcoming me, piercing my heart, making me gasp for breath: there was never enough time and never enough money… I was not mom enough, not accomplished enough, not educated enough, not fit enough, not good enough. So there I was in a puddle of tears and dirty laundry and I knew it had to change.
I knew that there were moms, dads, teens, kids who feel the same pain of scarcity of Not Good Enough. The more I ‘Got Real’ and talked to people, the more I found this emotion in everyone. It is harder to find someone who feels They Are Enough. What I have discovered in my 20+ years of doing deeper level work with adults (from those just entering a new industry, to district managers or high level producers), and my work with middle and high school students (from athletes, to theater kids, to popular/cool kids, to outsiders)…I have found that their private thoughts often sound similar: “I’m a fraud. I feel so uncomfortable in my skin. I’m not good enough. I’m not as smart as the rest of them. I don’t think I can meet their expectations. I hate my nose. I hate my stomach. I’m afraid they will think I am not cool or they won’t like me. Why can I get anything right? I always screw everything up.” I realized that I was not alone. We all feel inadequate in some way, that we are not good enough, that we need to be perfect to be accepted and to be worthy.
I knew that I wanted to help other people in the world to know: You. Are. Not. Alone. Let’s be Real! It is okay to be vulnerable…it is an act of courage and not weakness. Vulnerability is the birthplace so many great things: Grace, Forgiveness, Connection, Creativity, Growth, Understanding, Love, Compassion and Empathy. This is the reason this is so compelling for me to be authentic, empathetic, to let people know they are not alone in their thoughts, their disappointments, their mistakes or their failures. I feel you. I have been there too Sister. I have been there Brother – I get it! (By the way, writing this blog post is an act of courageous, scary, put-myself-out-there vulnerability…thank you to my Soul Sisters who encourage me to Be Real. And Raw. And use my Voice and my Gift of being able to dig deep with people.)
So yes, I’m one of those people that have had multiple different careers…call it I like variety and challenges “oh look something shiny;” call it “life happens, shit happens, kids happen;” call it everything I have done, the heartache and pain, the ups and the downs, the darkness and the light, has been leading up to this; or call it my burning passion, piercing heart, I know I’m called for something greater, that keeps drawing me back to this work.
And Hey Listen, I hear you, I get you, and I want you to know: YOU ARE ENOUGH – JUST AS YOU ARE. Let go of your scarcity thinking…let go of NOT ENOUGH. Your worthiness does not have prerequisites. You are WORTHY as you are TODAY. Not when you lose 20 pounds, not when you can afford a bigger house, or get that promotion, or write that book, or go back to finish school. You are ENOUGH.
❤ – Laurie