It was an honour to be nominated for the 2011 Hot Mammas Case Study competition! The process was amazing from start to finish and a great way to begin the year as it was submitted early in January. So I am proudly wearing my badge here at Uplift! Consulting and sharing the case.
Introduction: A couple of years ago, when I surfaced from a period of transition and really tried hard to get to my core, I just needed to speak to my wise Mom. I asked her what I was like when I was a child. She responded quite quickly, “You laughed a lot. You didn’t play with regular toys. You made your own games up – very creative, a dreamer. You marched to the beat of your own drum.”
That’s me, part of my essence, DNA call it. Some things don’t change, but what does is we forget. With persistence, courage, resiliency and strength, I haven’t followed a traditional path and have had the good fortune of tuning in, being supported and listening to my heart to make my dreams a reality. I live life with the intention to be happy and free. With success, I have learned that it’s not what we do and what we own (status and material goods), but it’s “who” and “how” we are that matters most.
All of my experiences – both personal and professional – have been interwoven into the work I do today, and I live life with purpose. I know now that what I am doing is what I’m meant to do – sharing, connecting, relating, inspiring, and educating others on how to do the same. I help people; it’s what I love to do.
Background I was the first person in my family (on both sides) to get a university degree, which was a bit uncommon to see in the early ‘90s. But, I was on a mission: to be liked, to be part of the crowd, to be smart.
The ironic thing was I never did well in school, nor did I like it. I didn’t fit into the system. In fact, in Grade 1 you would find me showing up late. I had better things to do, like creative play and being on the move.
I was once taken out of class to be tested for hearing, only to find there wasn’t anything wrong; it was just selective. My teachers and I didn’t have a great rapport. By the time I got to university, I was pleased as punch, and surprised many that I got there – but it required me to make a decision early on that I wanted to go. I did it.
Professional problem: After graduation I worked in social work part-time, and then decided after three years that I needed something bigger and brighter. In the early ‘90s, during the recession, it was tough to find a job. This was another critical building block – I moved from a very small town to the largest city in Canada, to pursue a post-graduate diploma. Learning was becoming easier, and one more notch under my belt.
Leading into my first corporate position (an internship – had no idea to this day how I survived on $15,000 for one year. I did it!) with one of the then-largest companies in the world, my career took off. For the most part I was delighted, chosen to be on the top talent list, but I got in my own way – beating myself up, fearing making mistakes. I lost my creativity and got lost in the shuffle. It just didn’t seem to fit.
Looking back, the people were great, and I have many fond memories of being president of a women’s advisory council. I loved leading, inspiring, connecting and relating and helping women who were facing similar issues and opportunities. It was a group formed to help women gain greater visibility, network and mentoring. Recognizing the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people and mentoring, a powerful combination for success was a pivotal experience to where I am at today.
I returned to school; remember, I was on a mission. I completed my MBA – thinking to myself, well after this I will be intelligent – this will get me to where I need to be. Shortly after completing it, and doing a long tenure in corporate Canada, overworked, stressed and fatigued (my own doing, I am well aware), I decided to retire early. I took a voluntary severance – and hit the lottery.
I travelled, spent time trying to find myself and greater purpose, still filled with doubt and with a fear of making mistakes. After my short sabbatical I found myself in a teaching position; a glimpse of light, it seemed to fit the bill, and I still remain on the college roster today.
Personal issue: Shortly after, I landed much of the same work that I had been doing previously. Long story short – it didn’t fit. It just seemed to be getting worse. On paper, my personal and professional life looked grand, but deep down on the inside, it was quite cloudy. I felt I wasn’t at home in my own skin. Always looking and reaching for the next great thing to accomplish, as overachievers do, I got caught up in “doing” and forgot about the “art of being” and caring for myself, internally.
As things didn’t seem to be playing out “as it should” in my career (I couldn’t figure out why my bum didn’t fit in the seat, then others started to pressure and question!) – it spilled over to other areas of the my life. I felt like I was on a wheel and couldn’t find my way out. There was a fork in the road, and I had a life-altering experience. I woke up and knew that I needed to change and begin to take accountability for me, and my actions and emotions, and do things aligned with my values, recognizing that I was off course.
I got back on my mat, wholeheartedly committed to my yoga and mindfulness practice. Then things started to unfold in very different ways, and it felt like I came home. I focused on simply being. I got grounded and got to know myself very well, and Igotoutoftheway.
Conclusion: The things I learned while in this transition is to trust in the process of life (sometimes we don’t have all of the questions answered – that’s okay), that I am well supported, to be of service and to help others, be grateful, and kind. To let go of the things that don’t serve, to make space for the new to shine, and believe in yourself and to surround yourself with positive and inspiring people.
All of this has been the key ingredients to the birth of my business – Uplift Consulting and a peer-mentoring group called Women Inspire. I help business women in transition fuel mindful positive growth, and infuse mindfulness and yoga philosophy into each consultation session. Get Grounded. Create Change. I love it, and it’s the perfect fit for me at this point in my life.
One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is to allow myself to make mistakes, be a bit fearless and vulnerable, and not berate myself for it if things don’t go according to plan. It’s the experience, and being fully present to it, that will lead you to clues and hints. The whispering of your heart and soul will lead you in the right direction.
My message to you – if you haven’t tapped into your essence or built your foundation, do the work, callonyourcourage, reach out for support, find a mentor, believe in yourself, be fearless and take the leap. Do what you love to do. You will never look back. Enjoy the ride!
I got of the way:
Faith and Patience:
Call on Your Courage: