The common cocktail question “What do you do?” is always an interesting one for me to answer.
I wear so many hats that I sometimes struggle with the summary! In truth,
- I run a consulting business focused on business building for the financial services industry, which I co-founded after walking out of a lucrative corporate job many years ago.
- I’m a certified hypnotherapist, certified behavioral analyst, certified values analyst.
- I teach several courses at a local private university, the same school where I received my Bachelor’s and MBA degrees.
- I volunteer at the local dog rescue and clean cages every Monday morning; I also foster dogs throughout the week who need a place to stay.
- I run all marketing activities for the local cat rescue and foster cats in my home.
- I have 11 pets of my own.
- I am raising three children whom I had later in life.
- I travel for work several times a month.
- I write a blog for Psychology Today twice a month, and an article called “Ask Bev” for a newsletter once per week.
- I have written seven books and do promotion for them via interviews and other writing.
- I do motivational speaking all over the country.
- I box at the gym three times a week.
So you can see, that question is a loaded one. There is no straight forward answer. I come from an alcoholic family that had extremely limited resources in many ways.
I had no idea when I was growing up, that a woman could be powerful and successful. I had no idea that if I wanted to do something, I could just do it.
I will admit that when Helen Reddy wrote and performed her hit “I Am Woman,” released in 1971, I listened to it as much as the record player would allow. I still have these poignant words as my ring tone to this day:
“Oh, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can face anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman”
Think you can’t do what you want to do? You don’t have enough money. Your kids are little. You haven’t met the right person. You don’t have the talent, the education, the energy, the knowledge you need? I love my life, but I have lived through one painful divorce, having a best friend for a business partner who stole from me, experiencing financial ruin more than once, dealing with a daughter fighting a debilitating disease for many years, and many more difficult life circumstances.
I have been on top of the world and then down in the gutter. What I have learned is that everything that happens, is simply an experience. There is no “end game” where you toil and dangle waiting for the delightful moment to come that you can sit back and breathe. Yes, those moments will come along the way, but the most important lesson in life is to know that you are on a journey. There is no rule book and no one way to get from point A to point B.
There is no one way that you, as a woman, should live your life. You need to define what’s meaningful for you. You need to pursue a path that gives you pleasure and fulfillment.
Life is hard. We get thrown curve balls and disappointments all of the time. Things might not work out the way we plan or we want them to. But if we know what we care about, and we aim for the things that matter, and we work diligently toward what we care about and believe in, the sky really is the limit.
If you are reading this and thinking there is something you want to do, some place you want to go or some change that is meaningful to you, there is no time like the present:
1. Define what success looks like to you.
Be specific in quantitative and qualitative terms. I knew I wanted to run my own business, but I didn’t want the business to run my life, so I had many other success criteria to meet.
2. Understand your obstacles to success.
I wanted so badly to be involved in animal rescue but with a busy life, it didn’t seem possible. I identified my obstacles and then managed to find two organizations that allowed me to overcome them and get involved.
3. Know your strengths and areas for improvement.
Yes, you are a powerful woman but how so? What things do you do particularly well? What things are not your strong suits? I am not very good with attention to detail, so when I started writing, I realized I needed a professional proofreader. Rather than me getting “better” at detail, I found an amazing person to complement my weakness!
4. Be open to alternatives.
You might know where you want to go, and you might also believe you know exactly how to get there. However, the Universe might have other ideas for you that are even better than the ones you had planned. I never wanted to have children, but then decided to give it a try and on my 10-year wedding anniversary my daughter was born.
Later in life, when having children wasn’t even (seemingly) an option, I found out I was pregnant with my third. My three kids are the passion of my life, but I would never have known how much joy they could bring if I had stuck to my original plan for success!
5. Take baby steps.
The journey really is as interesting as the end goal if you open your eyes and look around to find out what you see and learn along the way. Life changes every single minute, and being open to these changes is what brings joy. You don’t have to do it all or get everything you desire in one fell swoop. Just do one small thing, and then another, to move you closer to your goals.