We All Fly-Including Me

Posted: October 29, 2015 in Leadership
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Almost a year ago my dad had a heart attack and died. Our family and community lost a wonderful man who thoroughly enjoyed living, working, and loving. His celebrated life sparked something that has inspired me to make a few changes. After primarily staying at home with my family for the last twenty years and working part-time in the Family and Human Development field and secretary of my church (which I plan to continue), I made the decision to move into a marketing/real estate career. I began to stay up late pouring over business leadership books and quizzing my husband (to his dismay) when he would come home from work about sales and marketing strategies.

Late one night, my husband asked me about continuing in the Human Science field and maybe working for a government agency that I had previously wanted to work. I said, “no, I want to own the whole government!” Ha! Well, I know that’s a little absurd, but I realized that my expectations for the future in terms of employment, enjoyment, and fulfillment had shifted significantly. Four months ago, I started working as the marketing director for a real estate agent. Joy! Just recently, I finished the prerequisite sixty-hours of real estate school in order to take the Tennessee state licensing examination. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve always had these dreams of pursuing a career in business, but due to my own “gender restrictions” I never felt like it was a place for a mother with children. (Please, no rotten eggs!) Recently I read a book called, Lean In: Women, Work, and a Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I began to see the future with fresh eyes and a new mindset. I love taking care of my family. I’ll never stop, but I will do it with the mind-set that we all fly–including me. It doesn’t mean that we won’t gather back in the nest to trade flight stories and bandage each other’s wings. We will. And, we will laugh and play and love. I will teach, encourage, and share as much as my children need. I wouldn’t trade anything for the last twenty years of being home with my kids. They have been my life and focus. But, I’m not doing anyone any favors by sitting on my wings and holding tightly to theirs. As painful as it is, we all need to fly.

I joined Toastmasters in June which has helped me bridge this season of change. Toastmasters is helping me develop and polish leadership and communication skills. It gives me a place to practice new skills and baby step my way forward. It’s loads of fun! I’m thirsty for this part of my life! But–what about all my work with children and families? Is that still a passion? YES! Human Science is a great background for business. I mean–guess who my clientele will be? Humans!! But, seriously, I want to contribute to public policies and economic efforts to improve the lives of children and families (particularly those with disabilities) by working with others in providing opportunities for growth and development. Michael Maher speaks about the “generosity generation” in the book Seven Levels of Communication. It’s a beautiful story written primarily for real estate agents regarding giving and relationships. It pairs perfectly with human development theories of needs and desires. I feel like I have arrived at “my spot”–whatever that means. 🙂

The new season makes my heart race. Everyday I wake up and have to talk myself into “leaning in” to this new place. Maybe it will feel normal one day. And Daddy–he would be happy and proud. He thought everyone needed to work doing something they loved. He taught me to “lean in” a long time ago–I just didn’t know it.

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