We all have a story. It’s what we do with the story, how we see it, how we tell it, and how it informs our reality, that matters. Here is mine (a very short version):

I was born into a home full of love…and addiction. A home full of fun and dysfunction. A home that felt safe…and at times unsafe. A home of freedom and of bondage. A home of fear and of freedom. A home full of human-ness and lessons. My lessons and theirs.

I became a highly motivated and very angry 20-something. I learned that was “normal” for a child of an alcoholic mom. I learned that I had much to learn. I was strong and I was weak. I was loving and I was controlling. I was Fearful and I was courageous. I had a tough exterior and a soft, heartbroken, wounded interior. I had a shield of steel and was a warrior in life’s battle. (And, many of those remain, lurking in the shadows, but with much less power)

My strength and willingness to do “whatever it took” to change my life took me far. I went to college and received a Bachelor’s in Finance, the first and only one in my immediate family to get a college degree. I also, later, received a Master’s Degree, just because it was on my list of things to do. Remember, I was a highly motivated, overachiever (I am still working on that piece of me ?)

I then moved into my initial career as a Financial Analyst. A career that required no emotion, just logic and analytical thinking. My professional experience began in the corporate world with me working my way up the proverbial ladder, intent on reaching into the ceiling, that was made from concrete at that time, and breaking it down.

I was willing to play the game to move up – to do “whatever it took”. I was willing to step on the hands of those below me, if necessary, because, that is what I learned was necessary to make it to the top. And, the top, for the top’s sake was my goal. And, so I fought and clawed. I was outspoken and abrasive, mostly ignoring my true nature of openness, kindness and generosity. You can imagine the impact I was having; the mixed messages, the passive-aggressive management style. But, I was good at what I did, so at times my poor behavior was rewarded.

So up I went. I moved…onward and upward. With each new position making more and more money. Success, in my eyes. Although, I was great at the mechanics of my career, I wasn’t good at the “politics” of corporate life and I figured out quickly, I needed those hands I was stepping on, to propel me forward.

I eventually recognized that I was not content. My outside experience of success left my inside wanting more. I was deeply unhappy and my gut told me there was something more than what I could “see”. I was restless, resentful, and seeking. Always “seeking” the next job, the next relationship, the next conversation that would bring me peace and happiness.

I didn’t understand it at the time, but I grew to learn that my goals, my choices, and the life I was leading were not aligned with my true purpose and values.

And, on this journey, one of my greatest lessons, was that my actions had an equal and swift reaction, in the same energy of my intentions. So, in the spirit of “stepping on hands”, my hands were being stepped on. In the spirit of “anything it takes”, I was being pushed aside by those willing to do anything it takes and more. And, the discontentment, resentment, disappointment grew. There was a battle going on…

Eventually, I grew tired of the battle. The inside was battling the outside. The battle between who I was (my true nature) and who I was being.

I figured out, around 30 years old, that who I was being and how I was showing up in the world (angry, self-righteous, controlling) was not who I was meant to be and I was having the extreme opposite impact on the world of what I knew I wanted to be in the world. I “felt” something was off and needed to be changed, for the sake of me. For my being-ness.

And, at the time, I had no idea how much of that responsibility for change was mine! The responsibility I had for the life I said I wanted, for my impact in the world. I knew, on some level, that I could not have the life I wanted from my present “state”. My present way of being. My present mindset, thoughts, beliefs. I didn’t know what it would take…but I understood that something needed to change.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS:

Although my journey began at birth, my walk through my journey began the moment I realized that my life was not as I wanted it and that somehow my life didn’t “happen to me”, but that I had CREATED it. That I had control over not only what was happening around me, but all that landed me where I was – to the life I was living today.

That is when the real, deep, painful work began. That was when I began to take a long walk. A walk through it all – through the trash, the pain, the lies, my creations, and my reality. After all, the only way to the other side of pain, is through it. And, so I began. The search. The lessons. The journey.

And, I quickly learned, that I could not create the world I wanted from the same mindset that created the world I was seeing and living. And, I knew for sure, that I could not make these shifts alone.

There was work to be done and there were amazing people along the way that brought me the insight I needed. There were teachers, retreats, mentors, coaches, therapists, down-on-my-knees prayer, meditation, and a ton of difficult, revealing, and healing looks in the mirror.

And, through the work I discovered my truth. My purpose. My intuition. My desires. My choices. My outcomes. My life.

also led to the realization that my life could be redefined by me – at any time, either unconsciously or consciously.

And what I learned through the deep work, completed by me, often led by coaches and mentors in my life, was that my life could be defined with complete abandon or with conscious intention from my deeper knowing and purpose. And, that at any time, I could redefine the life I was living, based on new choices and a new mindset.

The ultimate understanding, my greatest learning is that my life is of my choosing and of my design; defined by me and my choices, my actions, my mindset, my reactions, my truth.

And, I learned that the work required would be difficult, even painful, and deep, and very meaningful.

And that all my resistance was creating more of the same and I could only make meaningful change in acceptance and acknowledgement and a willingness to work from my light and my God-given gifts, strength, resilience, and knowing.

And that it would take courage to let go of the past pains to move forward in my own, authentic greatness and power.

It would take courage to recognize my ego and fears were driving the bus instead of my love and acceptance.

It would take even greater courage to acknowledge my own destruction, forgive myself and others, and take the leap into designing and OWNING my creations, my life as defined by me.

And, that is when, my life began to evolve, into MY life, defined and designed, by me. And, this is where SheDefined, was created. From my personal choice to live my authentically defined life – from purpose, passion, possibility, and from ultimate acceptance of the only place where I could make impactful change – from the inside, out!

This learning moved me to understand that the world around me was of my creation. My view was from my thoughts and beliefs, which created my behaviors and actions.

And, if I wanted to change my view, I needed to change my mindset.

And, that I always, in every situation, have the POWER of choice.

And, that I create the life I see. No one else. And, so, if I wanted a different life, I had to write a new chapter…and that is how each day begins! From possibility, by letting go, to consciously writing my story and living it from possibility, in gratitude, while continuing to learn (and forgive), and to bring light to others, who continue to seek for that something more.

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