Summer Sabbatical. Hit the Reset.

If there is one thing that makes me think I need to pack my bags and head to San Diego, it’s the summer. The minute I feel 65+ degrees, I’m windows open, music up, and water bound. Maybe I’d get bored after a few months of it… but that is a big maybe.IMG_3371

This summer came at a time when I needed it most. It’s been a year of hard work, all leading up to a time of confusion. For the Millennial Mom, it’s usually go, go, go until you literally hit rock bottom, forget who you are, and start to fall apart. This can come at the expense of relationships, your ability to get promoted, your role as a mom, daughter, sister, friend. But mostly at the expense of yourself.

I read a lot – sometimes middle of the night to make myself feel better about others going through similar situations, other times to learn how to navigate often tricky situations in the workplace, and I stumbled across some of my favorite writers and mentors from past years, well, 10 years ago. Nicole William’s was everything to me as a senior in college. I went to meet her, I read her books, I believed them to be all I knew about business, especially coming from a family in medicine, far from the business world.

I will never forget when she took a sabbatical from her career, I was devastated but also intrigued. How can someone so powerful, with so much to share take a step back? But she did. She decided to have a baby – on her own – and after a couple months, came back with a vengeance.

Her books spoke to me – Girl on Top (dating advice + career). Wildly Sophisticated. Earn What You’re Worth. Now, as P&G’s Confidence Coach, a regular Huff Post columnist, segments on the Today Show, and so much more – I continue to watch her thrive. One of her posts that resonated most with me was the idea of reinvention. Some of us do it often. Others need to. Here’s what I’m doing this summer to make certain I don’t crash and burn in my career:

  1. Write more. I get to start contributing to a website next month – aimed at profiling successful women – despite their trials/tribulations in work, marriage, life and showing the perspective of 40 year olds, and what they wish they had known at 20. Will share more soon.
  2. Work less. As in 45 hours. I travel enough. Worked A LOT in the fall and winter, albeit, fireside and with Colectivo at my side, I still worked A LOT. I simply can’t keep going at that pace without losing my mind. I bet come fall, I will be ready to fiercely get back to business – topping out at 55 hours a week instead of what had become the norm. If workload permitIMG_3563s, I refuse to work past 1pm on Friday. I start this Friday – doing something I’ve never done.
  3. Work out more. Happiest I’ve ever been? When I look back – it’s always been at a time when I did whatever the hell I wanted and was slightly selfish ( lovely, I know). Senior year at Marquette I traveled downtown to the MKE gym every day at 6am (in college), sometimes twice a day – because I was in a zone. With music. Alone. Any kind of confusion/pain/worries faded away with the obnoxious sweating and fro of a hair do. I walked home blissfully unaware feeling the best kind of pain.
  4. Get outside. Although painfully afraid of sun after this difficult year for my sister, I live for the sun.history-slide I also love the rain. But one thing is for sure – I need to be outside just as much as a four year old does – summer nights were meant to be outside. I’ve made it happen. I dont know where I will always live – but I know that for as long as I live in this town, Cedarburg, WI – I need to fucking embrace every bit of beauty that is here. I’m 5 minutes from some of the most beautiful sites, often on my running path, and I need to run this town. And push a god damn 100 lb stroller along for laughs.1450784_629142787129238_821328487_n
  5. Feel the music. Again, if you go back to what makes people tick – concerts have always been my jam. The one thing that can make a stuffy Ann Taylor wardrobe fade away into Anthropologie on the weekends – tall boys, tailgates, and summer sounds. My goal is one show a week – even if it’s in our town and Tubby Love (which, I sort of loved).
  6. Just go. Weekends book out – but between the weddings and family celebrations – I’m going to combine three of my favorites – driving, music, and boys – and just get the hell out. Where to? Who knows. I have a list of 17 places I want to get to this summer – and it’s going to happen.IMG_3352

The beauty of all of this… is that come Sunday. I’m ready for work. I’m ready to focus again, and ready to keep going for whatever tomorrow brings, especially when each tomorrow leads me back to Friday night and summer sounds.

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I don’t know.

I recently read a Harvard Business Review article that shared an important piece of advice for leaders. That piece of advice is the idea that there is sometimes something very powerful in simply saying ‘I don’t know’ when it’s the reality of a situation. It’s not possible to always have the answers, and in many situations, personal and professional – sometimes it’s just not possible to predict and forecast.

Growing up, I passionately and purposefully chose to go the alternative route and I never quite knew why. When I was told to ‘sit down at the table’ and asked ‘why’ – I distinctly remember saying with so much conviction – ‘I don’t know.’ Now, looking back, I know damn well why.

I butted heads with those that loved me, I know that if you needed an 85 to get into the National Honor Society, I would purposely keep my GPA at an 84.3. If no girl ever ran for president in high school, I sure as fuck would. Skip a cruise for spring break, build houses in Appalachia. Yup. Drive for hours the night I got my license and was supposed to go 10 minutes. Ticket to prove it. Get fired from retail in two days, and work landscaping. Take drug tests for my coworkers. Study on school nights – at House of Blues. I took a lot of risks, never fearful, and never once felt I paid a price despite the sometimes painful consequences.

I didn’t know why. And I didn’t know what. Or who I was on a mission to be. Partially because I’m confident that I could be anything to anyone and in any situation. And growing up the way I did, albeit superbly blessed and fortunate, there was a path to acceptance and normalcy. The path was college prep, university, grad school, marriage, kids, and happiness. At the ripe mature age of 21, I felt I was there. Going to make it happen. After feeling lost in my directionless world, I made a decision and stood with it, something stubborn people that like to prove a point, can do oh so well.

What I did at that time was give up on allowing myself to say ‘I don’t know’ and I sold myself short on ‘who I would be next?’ I never explored it. I never made the mistakes I should have. If I could go back, I’d offer to anyone trying to figure out what or who they will be next – is to not conform. And not to figure it out.

And if you made the choice to force a wrong decision right – don’t feel you have nowhere to go. I know now, that the only true fear I have in life is feeling stuck. I will always have a fight in my eyes. I will always want to explore what else is out there. Haters will say that it’s a matter of never being satisfied, and maybe they are right, but I think it’s so much more, and I’m not ready to concede.

Relationships fail. Careers peak and valley. Somedays you say fuck 456 times. But the reality of life is that we are really only stuck if we allow it to be.

 

 

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