I recently got to spend 3 days with a pretty powerful group of entrepreneurs in Tucson, Arizona. 3 years ago, I never would have dreamed that I was capable of creating a life like this, but I thank God every day for the chances I took on myself to get to this point.
At our conference in Tucson, we did all things “dude-ranchy” like riding horses, having cookouts, hiking and mountain biking. And of course we treated ourselves to poolside locations for collaboration sessions, spa treatments and great food.
If you know me even slightly well, you know that this is the setting of my soul….wide open spaces and horses are my jam!
(PS, if you’re looking for a fantastic Arizona experience, check out Tanque Verde Ranch)
While away from my sweet family for this trip, I was able to take the chance to get some perspective on my life and how it has changed so dramatically since jumping into the entrepreneur pond.
Today, I am a better mother, wife, provider, friend, sister and overall human being. I am developing a relentless ability to get up and try again. Daily. In all areas in life. And I am doing, sharing, giving and loving so much more than ever before. The opinions of others effect me less and -possibly most importantly- I am realizing exactly who I am and what I want out of life.
I have learned (and am still learning) that life is a series of growing and stretching exercises designed to form us into the very best versions of ourselves. Life is not about getting what we want or living within our comfort zone. It’s not about doing the coolest things or having the best-appearing life on social media.
Life is about adding value: Valuing ourselves, valuing others and creating value in the world. It is about accepting others even if we don’t understand them. Life is about creating and sharing, respecting and accepting…starting with ourselves.
As women -and especially women in business- it is imperative that we realize just how powerful we are and accept our turn at the controls when offered. Did you know that we CAN have it all?
Growing up, I never really had a plan. There wasn’t some shining career that I lusted after, I didn’t have my heart set on a family right away and there were no role models who’s lives I wanted to emulate in any large way. I knew I loved animals and helping people. But I struggled with that for a long time…feeling like there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t force myself into a career or lifestyle as it seems so many of my peers did flawlessly. I guess the idea of being put into a certain box for my whole life just scared the crap out of me.
So, after college, I wandered my way around the country, working mostly with polo horses (that’s a story in itself!) but also dabbling in bartending and restaurant management followed by a brief career as an Executive Assistant. But none of the labels that came along with those jobs ever felt accurate to me and I felt strongly that none of them were long-term situations for me. I felt like a failure because I wasn’t succeeding according to the playbook I felt like society said I should be playing by. There was so much more out there for me, but where?
Enter entrepreneurship. Now, the story of how I found the business I am in how is long and quite interesting, but I’ll save it for another day. The point is, the universe opened up a door and I jumped through it.
That was 3 years ago. Today, I am no longer asking myself “Why can’t I just be ME?” because that is exactly what I do. Every day. I do me things. I take care of my family. I dig in the dirt with my kids. I play with the pony and go to the gym. I bake, laugh and goof around at the drop of a hat. And I work. I work hard on myself and growing my business. I set huge scary goals and I try hard to reach them. I am CEO, accountant, secretary, sales person and marketing executive. It’s messy, but I’m learning.
And the best part about it just might sound like the worst, but the glory is in the growth: Being an entrepreneur is challenging. It is often uncomfortable. People sometimes judge me and it’s hard not to second guess myself. This all feels out of my wheelhouse some days. But I am growing.
As I sat in the Arizona dusk, listening to the music of a solo guitar player, smelling steaks burning on the grill and watching fellow business women and friends celebrate each other, I realized just how incredible it is that I have gifted myself this journey.
Together and alone, the women I share time with on this trip have overcome challenges, both internal and external, to prove that we really can have and do it all. We are rewriting the definition of what a career is. Private life and professional don’t always have to be separate and, in fact are often better when you can marry them together in the right way. You can lead with your heart and still make a great income. You can be an aggressive businesswoman and still be caring, sensitive and have other’s interests at heart. We can measure each other by the size of the impact we make and not the size of our wallets.
So cheers to you women out there ruling your own fate! I see you, I feel you and I respect you. The struggle is so real some days, but isn’t the reward worth 10 times all the bad combined?