So, what do you do?
What do you tell people you do when you meet them for the first time? Are you able to present yourself with the utmost confidence that what you do and who you are is just right? Do you use the proverbial “elevator speech” in hopes of collecting a new client? Do you tell them you’re a stay at home mom? How about a tight rope walker? Ok, maybe not that one. I used to tell people I was a teacher. I WAS an elementary teacher for 20 years, but had to leave my profession in 2010 when my teenaged son was diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma. Recently, though, something happened in my little noggin and things didn’t go quite as they should have.
Off my A-game!
I attended a women’s wellness workshop and was one of the first to show up, which is never a good thing, right? Isn’t the unwritten rule to show up a bit late and make a fabulously grand entrance? Nobody wants to be first to the party, do they? There was another gal who checked in right before me, thank God, and of course she sat smack dab in the front row (of three). I didn’t want to seem stand-offish, and the comfy chairs were in the front, so I sat next to her and we began to chat. We seemed to hit it off right away, which is cool. I get along with almost everyone I meet (yeah, I’m one of those) so it was easy and fun to get to know someone new. However, for some reason, I was a tad bit off my A-game, and was totally thrown for a loop when she asked me what I do. It’s a perfectly normal question, right? Silence. Aw crap, what do I say? I stumbled for bit, giggled, and said the first thing that came to my mind which was, “Not a whole heck of a lot lately.” She giggled, too.
I tried to explain that I had broken my back a few months prior and was healing, so I’d spent a lot of time doing nothing. Oh my God. Of course, she felt bad and we had another awkward moment of silence while I tried to figure out what I could tell her I “really DO.” I started to tell her that I work very part time at a nearby cookie store frosting cookies, and I am learning how to decorate, which is AWESOME! I went back to teaching for a while, but it just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t passionate about it anymore. I wanted to tell her my life story, but didn’t want her to feel even more uncomfortable.
My gut told me right away that I could trust her, so I thought about telling her that I lost my 17-year old son three years ago. I yearned to tell her that I have struggled to figure out what to do with my life since then. But, I said, “Not a whole heck of a lot,” and giggled. Oh geez. Who DOES that? Me, apparently. I should add that I HAVE been a bit worried about my brain lately. I’m not sure if I have early alzheimers (don’t we all?), I’m going through “the change” (OMG, I’m 48!), or my blonde roots are just getting more blonde (we’ll just leave that one right there).
Not a Whole Heck of A Lot?
Eventually, though, I did manage to remember that I have a really fun, totally cool photo booth business. I am nearly finished writing my first book. I am learning how to do fancy lettering, and practice for hours on end so I can create beautiful things for others. I write a blog to empower others to live positive, happy, minimum stress lives. I listen to webinars about how to market myself on social media platforms and learn everything I can…for FREE! Oh yeah, I ALSO run an incredible foundation that enriches the lives of teens with cancer and other life threatening illnesses, and all I could think of to say is freaking, “NOT A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT!” What the hell?
Confidence is Key!
I believe what happened that night was a total lack of self-confidence and a hefty self-imposed dose of unworthiness. After losing my son I have had to learn to live again. I have reinvented myself so many times I’ve lost count. I have tried a little bit of this and a little bit of that in hopes of finding that perfect thing that makes me happy. I deserve to be happy, right? Damn straight I do! We ALL do! I want to feel like I am doing something worth doing that makes me feel incredibly happy and fulfilled AND make a mortgage payment while doing it. Is that too much to ask? But, when asked what I do, my brain went completely blank. Hello! I have even attended a workshop to learn how to give an incredible, out of the box elevator speech to make people ask questions, and all I had was, “Not a whole heck of a lot.” Sighhh. Color me bummed.
I AM Worthy!
It all worked out in the end. After all, I got a blog post out of it, right? I had a brick to the head moment to remind me that I DO A LOT and do it well, I might add, AND I am WORTHY of good things in my life. This is something I have worked on diligently lately. Affirmation after affirmation helps me to remember how freaking amazing I am. I am learning to rewrite that story of unworthiness that I adopted early on when a special person in my life told me I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor when I grew up. I just had no idea until 30 years later that it was a pretty significant belief written deeply in stone that I needed to rewrite. My family wasn’t in the business of growing money trees when I was young, so I’m used to not having a lot of extra cash on hand either. This, too is a story I am learning to rewrite.
We all get to make choices!
You see, one of the coolest things about life is that we can make choices. We can choose to stay in jobs that burn us out or we don’t enjoy, and bend over backwards to help others with little appreciation, OR we can take control and do something to change our lives. It isn’t always easy, which is a major bummer. I really prefer to push the easy button in life and just have things happen for me, but reinvention IS doable. People reinvent themselves and become successful in new careers all the time. So, next time someone asks me what I do, I will be able to reply with a confident, solid answer. “I am a solopreneur who promotes positivity and empowers others to live happily, AND I run an incredible foundation I started in memory of my son.”
Now, what do YOU do? I’d love to hear all about it!