So, let me take you back to another lifetime (err...in 2007)
I had been living in Madrid (Spain) with my Spanish boyfriend for about 4 years. That in itself seemed like an exciting accomplishment for a girl from small town Wisconsin. (That's in the US. Yeah, super well known.)
It was a fun city. I had wonderful international friends and a caring partner. I traveled the world. Like A LOT. I was good at my job.
Life should have been great. But I just wasn’t quite happy.
But if you had asked me at that time what was “wrong,” it would have been very hard for me to articulate the specific problem. In fact, it took me a while to actually figure out what was going on. As a child, when I dreamed of my future I imagined myself as a pediatrician, traveling with Doctors Without Borders, helping people and giving back.
I IMAGINED MYSELF EXCITED, JOYFUL, AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE WORLD, SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE I LOVED.
Some of that was childhood fantasy, but there was a core truth to it that I realized was missing from my life: I didn’t feel like I had real purpose and passion for what I was doing or who I was with.
And to come to that conclusion at an age when other people were off getting married and having kids was a really tough place to be. But I took the time to reflect on what I was really looking for in life and took action on that.
I left my partner, got my own apartment, and started applying to MBA programs. I loved coaching teams and had started my own business before; it was hard work, but I was motivated and had fun working for myself. I knew what I really wanted to do was to be an entrepreneur and help others create their dreams and achieve their goals. As I went through the process of applications, I also started spending more time building stronger relationships with friends and trying new hobbies in order to have more fun and ignite my own true passions.
By the time I graduated from Oxford with my MBA, I was feeling really good. Strong again. I was a little nervous about the job hunt, but I was in a serious relationship, traveling a lot, about to be an aunt for the first time, and looking at some jobs in North America so I could be closer to family.
The world felt open to me and full of potential.
And then the morning of December 14, I was traveling with my partner in Bogota, and I woke up to a strange message on my phone. When I called back, I found out that my mother, Raven, had passed away the day before. It was completely unexpected. Unimaginable. Heartbreaking.
I was devastated and my happiness quickly unraveled.
The true issue, though, wasn’t the grief in itself but in how I proceeded with life. I reverted to old thought patterns and feelings that I thought I had moved past. I grew up as a perfectionist, someone who was strong and in control, seldom complained, and always kept going. It was a role I had taken on myself, and I had spent the previous few years working on allowing myself room to fail.
It scared me to be vulnerable, to feel out of control.
So I went into my head. I would still cry sometimes, and I acknowledged I had grief, but mostly I held back external expressions of sadness. More than grief, I simply felt lost. And happiness, which used to emanate from a place of truth deep in my core, was difficult for me to truly access or express.
I took a management consulting job in Chicago even though I only knew a couple people in the city. I said it was to be closer to family, which was true, but I could have chosen something different. I took this over something more socially-minded or entrepreneurial, because I was living from a place of fear about paying off my debt. And I didn’t tell people at work about my mother, because I didn’t want to be treated differently. I wanted to be held to the same standards of performance, and I didn't want to be seen as weak.
The week of my 31st "Golden" birthday...
My boyfriend and I broke up, and I found out I needed a surgery where they'd put me completely under. The breakup was completely amicable and the surgery would be "easy"; in my past life these would have been less than hiccups. But combined with the absence of Raven singing Happy Birthday on my voicemail, it felt overwhelming. That day I broke down and cried in the office bathroom. This was something my "strong" self would not normally allow. I had two choices: to continue "fighting" aimlessly or to begin to examine not just the circumstances but my mindset.
I TRULY BELIEVED THAT LIFE HAD BETTER THINGS IN STORE FOR ME.
I had held strong to that belief since childhood. But true happiness is a journey not a momentary emotion. I needed to figure out how to move forward and access that part of me again.
There were great things about my job: my team was great, I was constantly learning, and I got to see the impact of my work in helping clients achieve their goals. But I was feeling drained and unfulfilled; in the process of worrying about paying off student loans I had exchanged my time for a job that really didn’t align with my passions and life purpose.
While I know I appeared put together on the outside, I was struggling on the inside.
I was traveling 4 days a week, surviving on take out and getting very little sleep. I was in the worst shape of my life, my lifelong stomach issues exacerbated, and my doctor couldn’t identify the cause and only saw medication as the answer. Instead of feeling desperate, I had to start working on my own belief system and empower myself to take action steps that were right for me instead of caring what others thought.
True strength comes from allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, to trust and let go of control over everything.
When we are clear on our desires, trust our intuition, and take risks - even when we don't know the exact destination or route - the outcomes feel serendipitous. In truth, they are a result of many intentional small steps.
After months of reflecting and asking myself and the universe repeatedly, “What’s next?” “What do I have to offer this world?” “How can I pursue my passions and still pay my bills?” and taking action when possible, things started falling into place.
The universe aligns - and delivers!
I had been ready for a change but just wasn't sure of the what or when. Then my landlord told me they were selling the apartment, and I wouldn’t be allowed to renew my lease. I could have viewed this as a total catastrophe and ran out to find a new place, but instead I asked myself what opportunities this presented. I examined my options and asked my company to work remotely. Once approved, I moved to Wisconsin, so I could focus on being with my family.
Ultimately, I was also able to turn what was previously part-time coaching work into the business of my dreams. Did I have that planned? Not at all! But by knowing what I truly wanted and treating everything as an opportunity, each step fell into place along the way.
Now I am living my life with intention and helping others live fearlessly and embrace opportunity, even in those moments when it feels like that might be impossible.
The best part is I get to work with other entrepreneurs to share their gifts in a way that is fun, energizing, and allows them to live the lifestyle they've only dreamed of. Every day gives me purpose and brings me joy to my core.
I also get to create my own schedule, travel, and spend quality time with my family, which is something many people say is impossible simply because that’s what they have falsely been led to believe is true.
Life truly is full of bumps and other times it seems more like there are bottomless cliffs, and we can’t control that. But when we are confident in who we are and what we want, and we approach life proactively, with openness, trust, and positivity, amazing opportunities will flow to us. I'm living proof of how we can manifest richer, happier, more authentic lives for ourselves.
So my hope for all of you is that starting today you begin defining your purpose, setting your goals, and taking the next steps along your own path to fearless living!
YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL BE EVER-GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR ACKNOWLEDGING SHE CAN EXIST AND IS WORTH THE EFFORT.