First of all, I miss you, and I hope that throughout the past year you have fared well. I also miss writing and sharing the consulting lifestyle with you – though that lifestyle has changed quite drastically over the past 12 months.
This year has been immeasurably difficult for so many reasons, and I want to acknowledge and sympathize with all the pain and difficulty the world has faced, which is why I have refrained from posting this last year.
As we begin to heal and look towards the future, I would like to take a moment to comment briefly in a non-corporate focused post (since we are not all back in offices yet… though I did just sign a contract for a new office space yesterday!!).
*Note: Images taken January 2020 prior to COVID-19 pandemic and were planned for a St. Patrick’s Day post last year.
What a difference a year (or three) makes. On March 17th, 2020, the whole world was entering lockdowns, and I wrote my last post focusing on work from home attire. Little did we know just how irrelevant professional clothing would become, or how critical our comfortable athleisure would be (though I had some suspicions as one of my clients is a healthcare organization in Manhattan and I was hearing the sobering news daily). Nor did we realize just how much isolation we had in store.
In reality though, I have been in a semi-state of hibernation for the last three years since March 17th, 2018 when I learned my husband of 6 months was having an affair with his also married co-worker. While St. Patrick is supposed to be the saint associated with blessings and good fortune, it is easy to obscure that luck amidst so much global and personal sadness. Yet, if we remember that everything that happens to us, is actually happening for us, to help us learn and become our best selves, then it becomes much easier to look for the lesson, and ultimately the good. It is ironic that what we think is lucky and what we want, is not always in our best interest, and that some of the most profound sadness can actually become the most fortunate of occurrences over time.
In search of the good, I vividly remember staring at my haggard self in the mirror, 2 days after I learned the life shattering news, in a dismal hotel bathroom on the side of the highway in Kentucky (very close to where I had spent a ton of time on my first consulting project – life comes full circle!), after quickly escaping from my home as I knew it. And in that moment, I actually looked into my eyes – not something I ever really did previously; acknowledging my soul and I vowed (it was a Scarlett O’Hara moment for sure), that I’d never have financial interdependence with a man again such that it would threaten my stability, that I’d never be in a position to be a less than version of my self to make a relationship work, that I’d never sacrifice my confidence or career to appease an insecure person. I also acknowledged that I knew I had a really awful and long road to traverse, but that when I came out the other side I would be so damn proud.
~1,095 days (and much financial, career, and personal success) later, I am proud, and I am so grateful for my Irish (and German) immigrant genes and the numerous strong women in my family lineage that forged such inner strength in me. It is that unflappable strength that makes giving up not an option despite how the cards are stacked, you just keep going. And once you are far enough away from those events, you take time to actually address your emotions, to confront how you feel, and to allow yourself to heal from all the trauma. But healing, cannot take place until you are somewhere safe, and getting somewhere safe takes survival skills.
A few of my top ‘survival’ skills include (From my recent talk w/WIN Park City):
- Rest when you need to; respect your fatigue.
- Focus only on the positives.
- Keep your eyes trained on your next step or two. Do not try to forecast what is ahead, because you do not know. What you do know is that your steps will add up and eventually they will get you to your destination so that you remain in existence.
- Pay attention to the signposts to make sure you are on the right path (for me, that’s 11:11, it is my lucky number and I get it just about every day in every format – and always right when I need it most).
- Take a moment to take stock of what you have accomplished and appreciate how far you have come. It is so easy to get caught up in where we want to go, that we forget where we have already been.
- Go climb a mountain…. Ok, it does not have to be a mountain, but go do something physically demanding – finding physical accomplishments you can tackle in the midst of much global and personal instability and uncertainty helps provide a sense of calm grounding.
And when you are ready to start healing:
A few of my favorite mantras (along with a Stoic mindset, and several great insta accounts – Moon Omens, The Holistic Psychologist to name a few) that have helped immensely during exceptionally trying times:
- Trust that what is meant to be, will be.
- Let go of all expectations.
- Ask (the universe) for direction.
- Seek to understand your emotions, ask why you feel the things you feel, do not judge how you feel. Sit with them, they are meant to help, not be repressed (something I was very good at doing for a long time).
My hope for you all is that this year has taught you how to survive, how to focus on what matters most in order to keep moving forward. I also hope that this year has been a period of personal growth, that it helped illuminate what is really important, while letting all that is superficial and unnecessary fall away.
For me, this year, and really the past three years, has taught me that I am tough beyond measure, but that being tough, and surviving is only part of the equation towards a fortunate life. I also have to acknowledge my emotions – that by spending most of my life suppressing them, I had lost out on creativity, joy, and total self-expression. In search of what matters, I have established a simple, but powerful vision: I want to utilize my professional skills and personal capabilities to the greatest extent possible to make a profound difference in the world and the individual lives of others, while also pursuing my personal interests and passions in order to live a full life.
Now that we are not just surviving, but beginning to come to a state of healing – it is time to ask, what lessons has this year taught you, what has it shown you about yourself, and how you want to grow? What irony is going to become your fortune in the future?
All my best, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day