I wanted my time back. My job completely ruled my schedule. There was a period of time when I lived downtown St. Louis, a block from the Fox where they put on Broadway shows and a few blocks from the park where there are museums and outdoor theatre. That’s my jam! And I didn’t ever go. I never even when out to restaurants because I was on call all the time, constantly fielding phone calls from work.
Before I started my career, I was very involved in the community and I lead a young adult Bible Study. I had to give all of that up.
I also wanted to be in charge of my life. My health, where I live, how I spend time, and what opportunities my kids can have.
My Glass Ceiling
I had hit a wall a few years ago where I felt completely stuck in my job. I had made moves through my career where I had taken on bigger and bigger projects, more responsibility, but never a significant pay increase. Same job title pretty much.
I knew that I needed to go for something bigger, maybe take up writing again. But I kept finding myself stuck in a loop. Right before I pushed through to make any sort of impact, fear held me back.
Fear of being seen, fear of failure, fear of success and the big one... Imposter Syndrome.
Who was I to write the things I wanted to write? Who would even listen? Would it even matter?
My Ah-ha Moment
The moment I realized that I’d hit some glass ceiling was during what ended up being the last annual review at my former company.
I l o v e d review time. I was always a nerdy type and I looked forward to it. Talking about the business, my performance and contributions, and goals. I remember chatting with my boss and the feeling really uplifted. It was going really well. Then he asked, “How can I support you with your goals this year?”
I loved this question because I saw it as my opportunity to ask for stretch assignments, to develop, and promote myself through the company.
So I launched into my new marketing campaign idea. I was really excited and I proposed putting me in touch with home office to collaborate.
When I finished I could tell he was frustrated. He told me that it wasn’t my job and to stay in my lane. And by the way, stop trying to do things outside my job description.
That was a real splash of cold water.
It hit me that my company was never going to allow me to move as fast as I wanted to. They'd never give me the opportunities I desired.
But why did I need to wait for them to give the green light?
Dabbling and experimenting with other disciples was ok. It was allowed. I just needed to give myself permission and do it myself.
I didn’t need the go-ahead from anyone. I didn’t need to wait until I checked all the boxes at my once-a-year review time. I didn’t need a ton of experience. I just needed to give myself a hall pass.
My plan was to pursue my interests on my own. I would study marketing, social media, writing, design… all the things that I wanted in my career. I’d do it on my own.
And I wanted to start my own brand to house my creativity and passions.
The Road Got Bumpy Fast
As I was building, I was still dealing with this internal struggle. Fear in the form of Imposter Syndrome, mostly.
I wanted to get help but could not afford a therapist or counseling… couldn’t afford a life coach. I have kept a journal since middle school and that had always helped me so I started working through my limiting beliefs and thoughts, plans, and goals.
Before, Fear was taking up so much of my bandwidth. When fear takes it up, there isn’t any more room for self-worth or joy or fulfillment. Fear is kind of all-encompassing.
So through self-coaching, and what I’ve now developed into the Fear Buster Lab, I was able to slowly reduce the amount of fear and anxiety I feel. It shrinks daily.
There are moments in every dreamer's life when you face a big obstacle. You've got to push past it to reach the bigger and better thing. Before I'd look at those obstacles and say the risk was too great, so I'd settle. I'd stop pursuing, stop pushing through.
But the method I'd been refining helped me identify what was actually scaring me and helping me problem-solve around it. Things are way less frightening when you call them out and talk about them.
Now, when there is a big project that I want to accomplish or a difficult conversation I need to have or a self-doubt that is keeping me stuck, I've got this method to guide me through.
If my self from 2 years ago could see how far I’ve come with appreciating and accepting myself, I think she’d be completely blown away.
I feel like anything is possible.
I have trained my brain to be solution-oriented.
I take up the mental and physical space I need.
I am living with more fulfillment and joy than ever.
I’ve poured a strong foundation and now anything is available to me.