Friday, May 14, 2010

Going to New York for business is not something that I do. Not me, who got married right after college. Not me who got pregnant right after getting married. Not me who moved around the country following first my father's corporate career, and then later my husband's army career. Not me who has always put everyone else's needs, school schedule, and budgetary constraints to take precedence over my own secret wishes. I'm not complaining. I went into marriage and motherhood with my eyes and heart wide open. I love my sons, now both taller, stronger, and thankfully harrier than me. I love my husband dearly, and the fact that he has worked so hard which enabled me to care for them, my dogs, and my home. I am grateful that I have been able to live in my suburban neighborhood of San Ramon outside of San Francisco, where my husband Alex has commuted to the Silicon Valley, no longer in the army, for the past 14 years. Not to say that I haven't worked outside the home. I was a substitute teacher at the elementary school that my sons attended. The thing is, teaching was definitely a job for me, and not a career. It was a job I chose because of my desire to be close to my children and to work my schedule around theirs. When I decided to go back to school to become a "life coach", my husband thought I had lost my marbles. He was craving a second full time paycheck, and thought I should go into the secure career of teaching. " What the hell is a life coach?" he asked, and "how many of them do we know?" "Is this really a risk you want to take? We have 2 kids to put thru college. What do you know about starting your own business?" Well, nothing~ I said. And I know one life coach- Oprah magazine's Martha Beck, who left her career in academia after getting 3 degrees from Harvard, to follow her passion to teach people how to design their lives. When I read her column every month in O magazine, I felt like she was speaking right to me. I then read her books and felt that every cell in my body resonated with her words. When I had the opportunity to see Martha speak at the O You conference in SF, I jumped at it. I had to see this woman! I heard her say that she taught people to be life coaches and my life was forever changed. "I am going to be a life coach" I said to myself. As soon as I acknowledged my heart's desire, I felt light. So light, I felt like I had sprouted wings and begun levitating. This is what freedom feels like, I thought. You see, I always knew I would have my own career. I envisioned a life where my innate talents and God given gifts would be utilized. Where I would feel inspired and inspiring. I just had absolutely no idea what that career might be. And, I certainly had no inkling that living a life just for me would take so damn long. I knew raising kids would be a commitment, I just had no idea how all encompassing it was, and how long I would put my career ambitions on the back burner- the way way way back burner. Flashing forward 18 months, after I became a life coach, after I started my own business, after I began public speaking- to hearing about a party. An anniversary party. An Oprah magazine 10th anniversary party. I would love to be there, I thought. I have read every single one of the 120 issues of that magazine from cover to cover. It was through this magazine that I began reading Martha Beck's columns. It was through her that I found my "calling". It was through the words on those pages that inspired, educated, and gave me the courage to follow my heart. Who better than me to celebrate the success of the magazine that became my monthly manual for life? Booking my ticket to New York, buying the $375 ticket to the conference, making my hotel reservation was a true first for me. It was the outward manifestation that I was practicing what I preached. That I was putting myself at the top of my priority list. That I was worth the investment in my career to go to a professional conference where I would learn and grow, and consequently bring back all that knowledge and wisdom back to my clients, family, and friends. I am so happy that I got out of my own way and committed to myself and my business. Now that you know the story of how I got to the party, my next blog will be about what I learned once I got there. Thank you for being a witness to my personal evolution!