This weekend, I made the decision to attend Beautycounter’s Annual Leadership Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I did not think Minnesota was going to be my first travel destination post-baby. I truly pictured myself beach side, doing a whole lotta nothing.
I also did not think I’d be traveling solo post-baby, without said baby or my husband. Not that I don’t like traveling alone, it’s just that, well, Cora and I have been attached at the hip since her birth.
I was really, really scared.
I was scared that this would make me a bad mother.
I was scared that it would make me a lousy wife.
I was scared that my milk would dry up (traveling, pumping, and saving all the milk is no easy task).
I was scared that Cora would no longer want to breastfeed.
I was scared Cora would forget me, or worse, one day hold this over my head as child abandonment.
I was scared that my team members, who I’ve been chatting with for a few months and was so excited to meet, wouldn’t like me back.
I was scared that even after careful shopping and planning, I’d still hate all my outfits, and my social anxiety would leave me incapable of actually leaving my hotel room without my husband there to push me out the door.
I was scared that people would judge my lingering baby pudge.
I was scared that I wouldn’t belong, that I’d hate every second and want to come home.
I was scared that this was just an unnecessary item on my already very full plate.
I was scared that I wouldn’t recover from this pretty big investment in a job that, again, who said I had time for?
I was scared. Just plain old SCARED.
But, my motto of late (like seriously, just the past couple months…I’m traditionally a pretty big wuss) reminded me: “Feel the fear. Do it anyway.”
Maria Shriver closed summit this weekend as the keynote speaker. Before I had to tiptoe out of my seat, I was so humbled to hear her speak. She is a champion of not only women, but of humility, compassion, and strength. Her words left me truly inspired.
As Gregg Renfrew interviewed her, she quoted a page from Maria’s book about making decisions:
“…if you’re faced with an impending decision, you may find yourself thinking, ‘I don’t know what to do! I’m confused!’ and then get stuck there, paralyzed. But when you become aware that you’re doing that to yourself, turn it around to say to yourself, ‘That’s not true. I’m smart. I do know what I’m doing. Yes, I have a decision to make, but I’ve made a many good decisions in my life, and I’m going to make another one.’”
I don’t make decisions easily. In fact, it’s often painful. I weigh out all of the options, still to waver in the end. I often try to wait for the best possible moment to make a decision, in fear that if I do it too soon, or without sufficient preparation, I’ll have made a truly horrible mistake.
Well, that’s just silly. I thought Maria’s Shriver’s words were so powerful because I have felt that exact paralyzing fear before. It clutches me in the chest and I literally cannot move forward or backward, but am stuck in one moment in time while the rest of life moves unforgivingly forward.
I didn’t really think through this Beautycounter decision. I didn’t come up with a great plan about how I would run this business, formulate spreadsheets and business tactics, and weigh all the pros and cons. Something inside me said, “if you don’t do this RIGHT NOW, you probably won’t.” And if there is a feeling I hate, it’s regret.
I was having similar feelings about this blog. The logical side of me said that there was no possible way I could write a blog, maintain a blog, raise a baby, run a side business, and teach a class of kindergartners (and maintain a social life, marriage, household…) all at the same time.
Again, that was the logical side. My heart though, again, said “Do this right now, and stop thinking about it.”
So I did! I bought my domain name and enrolled as a Beautycounter consultant. All in the same week.
At that point, the decision was made. And if I’m going to do something, I’m going to REALLY do it.
So here I am, on the flight back from the most selfishly unselfish weekend I’ve had in a long time.
Selfish because I took this weekend for me, away from my family who I love more than anything else in this world.
Selfless because I’m doing this for them.
I’m still scared that I might royally mess up, or that people will think its bizarre. But at this point, I’m all in. I probably will mess up, and I can’t help what other people say whether I do it or not, so why let it stop me?
I was scared that this would make me a bad mom. Honestly though, I’m doing this for Cora. One day, I want her to look back and say how cool it was that I put myself completely out of my comfort zone, took a chance on myself, and did something that convicted me even though all the voices in my head and those around me said that it made no sense. I want her to know that despite feeling unsure, I didn’t let that slight hesitation paralyze me. Instead, I let it propel me forward to make a decision, a decision that would be one of the best I’ve made in a long time. I know that every day, I’m working to ensure everybody (and we mean everybody) has access to safer products.
I was scared that this would make me a lousy wife. Well, Zach, I’m doing this for you, too. He knows that already. That’s why he pushed me to do this. Family and love are my reasons for doing most things in life – those who I love deserve to feel safe in their own skin. Also, I’m feeling pretty good about the contribution I can make to our nest egg.
My milk has not dried up (and if it did, we’d find a solution).
Cora still loves to breastfeed (and if she didn’t, we’d find a solution).
Cora, obviously, did not forget me (and if she did, she’d remember me pretty quickly).
I’m pretty sure that I my team members and I all feel pretty strongly about the fact that we rock. I like them a lot, am so grateful to have met them, and I’m thinking that feeling is mutual (and if it isn’t, oh well. I can only be the best version of myself, and if that isn’t your cup of tea…I’m sorry!)
Ok, so my hotel room looked as if it had been torn apart by a dozen unruly and highly caffeinated toddlers before I left for each event as I sifted through my suitcase for the perfect outfit – but I went anyway.
No one judged my baby fat (oh well, if they did…it’s a mark of my own strength and ability to grow human life).
I LOVED every second (except for those moments where I really, truly missed my daughter and husband) and feel so proud of myself for just doing it in spite of all my fears listed above and more.
Maybe this is a lot on my plate. I hear you. But seriously, there is never a perfect time to go for the things you want in life. Life is messy and imperfect and we need to make hard decisions in order to move forward.
Every time I make a hard decision, the taller I stand and the broader my shoulders.
I can honestly say that I’m not the person I was a few years ago. And I’m glad. I’m still really insecure at times, and that’s something I’m dealing with. But that’s the point. I’m dealing with it, head on.
I feel the fear, and it’s exciting.
Go do something that scares you. What will it be?
To watch the entire interview, click here: