A Case Study in Kindness: Rachel, Tara, Marianne, Jac and Julie
I have written this post in my head, a million times. Because there are a million ways to write this and none of them have felt sufficient.
So… I’ll just write.
My dear friend Rachel Cole buzzed me and asked if I could jump onto Skype. Have you ever seen a film of a shattered mirror coming back together? What she was about to tell me was kind of like that for my heart and for my soul.
I had been in a post-partum fog for some time. A glorious little boy with a sleep disorder and a mama who only works when he can sleep is a tricky combination. And my work. Dang, I love my work. It is a manifestation of my soul. But it wasn’t happening. Perhaps in part due to the demands I’d put on myself but the sound of crickets is a siren song of despair.
I was devastated that I would have to leave this work and my dream. It was clear to me that despite my passion for and confidence in my work (and affirming if not epic client feedback), my coaching practice couldn’t sustain me or support my family in the way I’d hoped it would. My despair had transcended my work and was affecting my every waking moment. Beyond the financial aspect of this (huge) and my plan of how I would raise my new baby (I was gutted with guilt and sadness), I was devastated to not be able to do this work anymore. It is what I was born to do.
When your soul can’t breathe you have to amputate that which is suffocating it.
I knew I had to say goodbye to coaching. The business side of the house couldn’t sustain me.
In a stupor of postpartum-sleep-deprivation-induced-depression, I shared my thoughts with dear colleagues and the loving and honest feedback was by and large the same (and I paraphrase, rather roughly too) "your work is epic but your online presence doesn't just suck, it repels those who deeply need your support". That and, "you started writing.... holy cats, keep writing". It was true and there was nothing I felt I could do about it.
Then I Skyped with Rachel. I was floored. Once I could see past my tears, I saw myself again in the mirror, once shattered, that was coming back together. What came next is what I have since and will always refer to as the Case Study for Kindness.
I was being given a website.
Something that would reflect back to the world a better sense of who I am, what I do, and the way I do it. I was being given headshots, too. Time to buck up a face my dread of the camera, moving beyond cell phone pictures to represent myself online.
Given a website. Given without expectation, without anything in return, without sympathy. A gift. A gift of belief in me and belief that the world needs my work. A personal and unsolicited Kickstarter Team of my own. Given.
My friends saw something in me that I couldn’t see for myself. Fog has a way of disorienting and disconnecting us. My dear friends Rachel Cole, Tara Mohr, Marianne Elliot, Jac McNeil and Julie Daley became a lighthouse. Their kindness was an oxygen mask for my soul. Their gift, warm sunlight cutting through the clouds. All bringing me back to me.
Their gift was buoyed by the gorgeous work of web designer Krista Smith (She designs through a coaching process- WOW! Brilliant woman, designer and coach. And now, friend.) and Nicole Rejwan (the first and ONLY photographer who has ever put me at ease with being photographed, while still produces gorgeous pictures). The energy was kinetic and these women rallied around me.
I am deeply fortunate to have a family who has always believed in me and friends who are a foundation of love and kindness in my life. (You know who you are, takk.) But perhaps it takes a village in our work, too. Perhaps beyond competition, old paradigms and everyone-for-themselves, there too is a field. It is here you will find me joining my colleagues in believing in others, supporting our growth and cheering each other on when we think there is nothing left to cheer for.
Gently blowing the air of kindness into deflated lungs.
Thank you Rachel, Marianne, Tara, Julie, and Jac. Thank you Krista and Nicole. Thank you to my luscious mastermind sisters, The Sacred Society of PPI. To my colleagues who all wrote such generous words about me, thank you. To my dear clients, past and present, thank you.
My website copy is in my hands now and will continue to evolve, as will my work and my reach. Much like me, and I suspect much like you. But here I am. I’m back. And back in a big way. My new model and offerings keep me awake at night- I am so excited. It’s big. It’s me.
From this new (gorgeous) platform I begin a new chapter of writing, service, coaching and much more. And it is all rooted in kindness. May I carry that forth.