For the last 8 years, I have served as the Vice President and Director of Programs for a wonderful company called MAC6. Throughout my time there, I had an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by entrepreneurs all working hard to make their dreams come true. In my role, I was able to coach and facilitate educational workshops and strategy sessions to help the companies grow and work better together. Inside this work, I found my passion. I also realized I loved being in front of a room full of people learning, leading, and teaching.
Fast forward to March of 2020 and like the rest of the world, time stood still for a moment. My husband and I transitioned to working from home and my three young kids were suddenly home from daycare and school. Overnight we were tasked with homeschooling, working, and finding toilet paper! This time was incredibly challenging and exhausting AND in some ways it was beautiful. I was able to spend more time with my kids than I ever had in their whole life. After each of my beautiful children turned 3 months old, the familiar routine would begin again. Back to work for me and off to daycare for them. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was thrown into the middle of their days again. I got to see what they enjoyed about school and where they struggled. I also had a moment to pause to really stand and examine this life we had built. I slowly began to realize that the life we had created unintentionally could be re-built with intention. Perhaps I didn’t have to make the 45-minute commute one way into the office every day. Perhaps there was room for dance and swim breaks in the middle of the day. Perhaps there could be a different way. I also began to exercise again for the first time in 6 years! I began to create a mindful morning practice that was invigorating and fueled my day. I began to love the life I was piecing together.
In June of 2020, I was honored to be named the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year. I was honestly shocked. I was convinced I would never win. On the day of the interview, a few weeks before the announcement, my one-year-old daughter had surgery to put tubes in her ears. A simple outpatient procedure…which in the middle of a pandemic had extra layers of anxiety that caught me off guard. I remember fighting tears as I waited in the cold little waiting room. I could hear the familiar cries of my little one. I paced outside the recovery room door waiting for someone to come get me and allow me to comfort my sweet pea. She woke up groggy but ok and we headed home. When we got home, to distract me from the anxiety of the morning and the nerves of my interview that afternoon, I decided to take my boys swimming. My oldest son is a great swimmer and gleefully jumped in the pool. My middle son is pretty timid around water and usually takes some coaxing to get into the water. This was the first time we’d been in the pool that season and he wanted to go down a little fisher price slide into the pool. His confidence gave me a sense of overconfidence. So, I said, “go for it bud” without really thinking it through. And off he went down the slide…and down to the bottom of the pool! All I remember is two little eyes staring up at me in sheer frozen panic as he sank deeper and deeper. Without much of a thought, I jumped into the pool. I was fully dressed and determined to fish my little boy out of the water. I had my cell phone in my hand and went to throw it onto the pool deck. But, I have terrible aim and it hit the slide and slid down back into the pool. I grabbed my son and pulled him out of the water. He was shaken but ok. We both sat on the step of the pool soaking wet and sobbing. It was now 30 or so minutes before my interview. Not quite enough time for a full shower and blow dry so I did my best to calm my nerves, dry off the best I could and prepare for my panel interview. After it was over I told myself it was a great experience to be nominated and I’m glad I got to experience the process and that was that. I barely remember the actual interview. So, when my name was called on that June morning – shock is a serious understatement.
Hearing my name that day set my life on a trajectory I would have never dreamed of. When they called my name, I felt none of the things I expected to feel. Instead of joy and excitement, I felt deep shame…almost a strange sadness. Every ounce of my body was rejecting this honor. My brain was screaming, “This is a mistake! It couldn’t possibly be you. You are not even close to being good enough for this award.” I distinctly remember feeling so uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that I struggled to celebrate. Since we were in the middle of a pandemic, this was a virtual conference. I walked out of my office to find my husband excitedly explaining the celebratory lunch that was on the way. He was perplexed as to why I was feeling so down. I didn’t fully understand it myself. It was a lot and I needed help to process.
A few days later I decided to hire an executive coach to help me figure out what in the world was happening. Why I felt like such an imposter that was seriously terrified someone would discover me. Through my work with my amazing coach, the puzzle pieces started to come together. She took me through shadow work (embracing both the light and shadow inside of ourselves), through trauma integration work (healing and releasing past trauma), and helped me process the space I was in. Through this work, I started to reunite with my inner wisdom. The voice that I had been ignoring for years. I began to not be so afraid anymore to dream the big dreams and take the risks that had been in my soul for years. And in April of this year, I quit my job. A job I love. A job that pays really well and supports my family. I quit my job to focus on helping other women experience some version of this story. Everyone’s journey will look different. But the feeling of knowing that we are truly enough and all the love, encouragement, and strength we could ever need comes from within is universal. We all deserve to feel this. So, I took the leap and have been busy building a coaching and consulting practice focused on women who are ready to reconnect to themselves and live a life well-lived. Ready, set, jump!