This is the story about a girl named Lucky ✨
Not really, but it is about a girl named Sheena who has done some pretty brave things in her life. Some of which have transformed my life in a crazy way, some of which have transformed me as a person, and all of which lead me to exactly where I am today.
So, why talk about being brave?
I recently attended the Pays To Be Brave conference hosted by Angie Lee. This was a weekend-long, women empowerment conference which brought 1,500 women together. For me, this conference was one of a few that I have recently been to since starting the journey of entrepreneurship. I have found women-centered, entrepreneur conferences are jam-packed with information that speaks directly to each of the audience members, brings to light insecurities we all feel and help workshop through the toughest parts of being ambitious, and a woman.
What this particular conference does a little differently than others I have been to is bring realness. The host Angie Lee is quirkly, funny, smart but overall, real. She wears jeans and cropped tops, jumps, and dances on stage and says things like #beyoncepoops. It was refreshing to be in a room where women could be their authentic selves; silly, weird, funny, awkward selves. Angie Lee proclaims she was brave to stand out as authentically herself at a time and space when that wasn't the norm.
Which got me thinking, being brave can mean so many different things to so many people. Bravery is so dynamic. What you may think is brave, is what someone else does naturally - every day, without thought. What you think is easy, breezy might be the bravest thing another woman could ever do. So think about it...
What does bravery look like for you? Was it taking the job? Was it making the call? Was it posting the photo? Or was simply it following your heart?
I don't think that we as women, and especially as moms share enough about what we have done that is brave. We don't share what scared us shitless, but we did it anyway. But we should, we should share a ton more about what makes us who we are today...and brave moves are a huge part of this. If you need help stepping into your bravery, or figuring out what your next moves are, let's hop on a call. It is so important for women and especially moms to feel completely confident in their lives. To achieve their dreams while being present for their families.
In an effort to start having more conversations about bravery, I wanted to share four of my most brave moments. Each of these moments has lead me to exactly where I am today, #lucky.
😲when I was 19, I moved to NYC on a whim “for the summer” I stayed 4.5 years. When I moved, I didn't know anyone except my brother and at that time we didn't exactly get along. He was 6 years older than me and very strong in his opinions. As a bratty, new adult, let's just say we did not mesh well. Crazily, before I moved to New York City, I was incredibly shy. Like I would ask my sister and friends to pay for me so I didn't have to interact with people, shy. I grew up very self- conscious and fearful fo social interactions...in retrospect, I wasted a ton of time and energy not being myself (but I digress..)
So how could someone who was fearful of social interactions move to one of the busiest places in the world, on a whim?
The classic case of my first heartbreak. The "love of my life" at the time, cheated on me. With someone who basically was the exact opposite of me. I was depressed, didn't eat for almost a month and completely lost. This happened after my freshman year of college, and I was about to move to Florida from Connecticut for the remainder of my college days when my brother called and asked if I wanted to come stay with him in NYC for the summer, clear my head and meet new people before moving.
I thought about this for about 30 seconds before saying yes, and moving in three days. I knew that if I stayed in Connecticut, I would never be able to move on properly. This chance to move completely changed me.
I was forced to interact with other people, independently. My brother was really great at "tough love" when I first moved. His only advice when I showed up was at his apartment in Hell's Kitchen was "Walk on this side of 8th avenue, not the other. They may think you are a prostitute."
😲 When I was 23, I decided that I would never succeed, living in New York, living the life I was living. NYC was perfect for a 19-year-old "figuring herself out". I didn't need a car, no real responsibilities except myself, and a beautiful city to explore. But nearly five years later, when all of my friends had graduated from college, I was starting to feel a little like a failure. After all, going to college was what you were supposed to do. My time in NYC had been filled with amazing connections, great moments and a ton of growth - but it was time to go. I wanted to finish the degree I started (I went to one year of college before NY and then spent my entire time in NYC just working).
I knew that I would never be the first person in my immediate family to graduate college if I stayed. So, I again... did something brave (this one is a two-parter). An old friend of mine accepted a job in New Mexico and asked me to drive with her across the country so I could do what my heart always wanted to do - Move to California. This was legitimately a dream of mine since I was 10.
Well... here comes brave move number two. While I was on the most epic road trip across the country and booked a flight to CT instead of CA to be with someone I just started dating. I know what you are thinking... WAIT, WHAT?! How the F was that the brave move?
Let me tell you this, I "went back home"/stayed in Connecticut for 5.5 years. In this time, finished my bachelor's & started master's degrees in 4 years total. All in all, I took a risk on finding stability.
For most of the road trip, I had a feeling that moving to California would put me in a similar place as I was in NYC (working a ton, partying, not prioritizing my true goal of being the first to graduate college.) I needed to grow up a bit...and I needed to do in a place, with people and in a space that would let me simply be, without question (although a tremendous amount of judgment. -- that's a story for another time).
😲 After 5.5 years in Connecticut, I had what my mom would call the dream life. I did all of the things you are supposed to do to live a great middle-class life.
- I got a degree (and in the process of my second)
- I was in a stable relationship (not married, thank goodness)
- I bought my first home
But... I was miserable. I literally had everything that I thought I was supposed to have, did the things I thought I was supposed to do, stayed with someone far longer than I should have because I thought that I was supposed to be married with kids by 30.
I put a ton of pressure on my partner at the time and myself to be happy...even though neither of us was.
I will never forget one very distinct conversation I had with my mom, at the exact moment I was feeling the worst about settling. I told her I wasn't happy with "bud" anymore. I was completely miserable and wanted to move to California. When I said this to her, she simply replied - "Go talk to "Judy", she has been there. She stayed and she is ok... she will be able to understand what you are going through. Just go talk to her, you will feel better about staying."
*My thoughts* WHAT THE F***CK Mom?! Seriously, I just told you I am miserable and you said to go talk to someone who might be just as miserable or worse, just settled and came to terms with not living a better life. F****K THAT!
That was a critical moment in my life because, after that conversation, I took a job across the country, at a company I had no idea about what they did, and I didn’t know a single person. I drove across the country in one week (with "bud") and started the job that changed my life. I have since had and left my "dream job", met the actual love of my life, become a mom and found my truest passion - helping other ambitious mamas master emotions and manage energy so they can be more present in their work and mom lives.
😲When I was 31, I got pregnant. It was a complete surprise. We were not trying or expecting to have a child. In fact, we had a plan to make a decision for ourselves, as individuals on my 32nd birthday. (LOL to that because my son was born 8 days before my 32nd birthday.) And I know that if we really waited, we would have decided not to.
I am #blessed for my boy. He literally changed my life in so many beautiful ways. But it is so, so hard.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was petrified. I was sooo close to achieving so much in my career at the time. I just got my dream job. I was establishing a brand new department in a rapidly growing tech/marketing company in Los Angeles. I was actually using my Master's Degree, in the field I wanted to be in. I had the attention and respect of most of the C-Suite, life was on the up and up. Then BOOM, life changed. My priorities changed. I changed.
I am embarrassed to say, that these changes took much longer than they should have. When Sebastian was born, I created things for the company that no one else could, while on maternity leave. I felt that I had to be present in my role at work because if I did not, someone was right behind me...waiting for me to mess up so they could take my job. (This ended up happening but again, another story). In the first year of my son's life, I spent more time dealing with women competing against each other and spent more time stressed out about the politics of the company than being compassionate and achieving greatness.
In early 2019, after 4.5 years at this company, starting and growing the training function and finally being completely burnt out from the bullshit - I left. I left my highest paying job ever (I doubled my salary + in less than 3 years) because I deserved better. My son deserved better. My family deserved better. When I finally put in my resignation, I had this insane surge of energy... this was right. I was going to be ok. My family was going to be closer, I was going to be more present.
I have no doubt in my mind that Working Moms Co will create a movement of positivity, community, and success for tens of thousands of mamas out there. Because, honestly, we can do anything we want. You can and should without a doubt be both a badass businesswoman and a badass mama, without either being sacrificed along the way.
Just to put these moments into perspective. My live dreams from childhood were:
👉🏻 Move to California: I distinctly remember being 10 and telling my mom that I was moving to California, going to UCLA and never coming back. (I never really felt like I belonged in CT, in a small town or living the same life like everyone else I grew up around.)
👉🏻Be the first person in my family to graduate college: Graduating from college was something that I had to do ENTIRELY on my own. My mom and sister barely graduated college; my brother left after his freshman year. I was going to be the one to do it.. if for no other reason to say f- you to anyone who thought it was impossible.
👉🏻Be able to volunteer resources, time, money to those who are less deserving than I: I have always been someone who was very passionate about helping the underdog. My best friends growing up were two down syndrome teenagers who each had the sweetest heart (rip Tina & Andy). I have donated literally everything I've owned. I have built houses and worked in soup kitchens.
I don't say any of this for a handclap or pat on the back, but to put it into perspective... my motivation for this was and always has been because when I was really young, we were the family that got the toys for Christmas from others, the turkeys at Thanksgiving. My mother did her absolute best to provide for us - worked 3 jobs at one time, for us to have roof over our heads.
I made a decision at a ridiculously young age that I was not going to live a life like my mother did. I was not going to be stuck in the perpetual life of being a young mother, being poor, settling. That was bullshit. At this moment, I committed to create a life for myself that allowed me to always give back to others. This has been the single driving force behind every majoy decision I made from 10 on.
I shared this before, but want to reiterate it again. Sharing what makes us brave will bring us closer together. Sharing what makes us brave frees us from fears. Sharing what has made us brave, creates the space to go do MORE brave things. Action creates clarity in life. Brave moments create clarity on what we are here for and meant to do.
A little perspective...
Brave Moment #1: If I would have listened to my friends when they said I was crazy to move to NYC - I would have been so awkward still and may have never left my hometown. I probably would have had a child, with someone who didn't treat me right and definitely would have been divorced. I might have ended up exactly where I didn't want to be.
Brave Moment #2: If I would have listened to my brother when he said I was silly for moving to CA and ridiculous for moving back to the East Coast - I wouldn’t be the first person in my family to finish college. I would probably have been miserable in California (my dream place) and ended up moving back "home" either way.
Brave Moment #3: If I were to listen to my mom when she said it was less stable to move to California - I would have been miserable and wouldn’t have met the love of my life or have my beautiful son. I would have settled, I would have likely married and just when through the motions, always feeling like I wasn't really myself.
Brave Moment #4: If I did not leave my "dream job" I wouldn't have realized that I was meant to help other moms. I wouldn't have been able to share my passion for helping ambitious moms work through the mom guilt they face when achieving their goals while remaining present for their families.
What does each of the above say about #beingbrave? The ultimate brave move for me changing my mindset to remember:
👉🏻Never let someone else’s opinion stop me
👉🏻Never, ever giving up on my dreams
👉🏻Never let doubt or stop you from trying
What has been the #bravest thing you’ve ever done?