I remember the exact day I knew turning back was no longer an option.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and my extended family was gathered for dinner. The camaraderie was flowing, the down-home food was delicious, and the kids’ laughter in the next room sweetened the space even further. Everything was perfect – except me.
I kept trying to drop into the discussion. It was like watching an 80’s sitcom episode where a pimply-faced teenage boy tries to ask out a popular cheerleader who was too nice to say “no” directly. No matter what I said, I was only adjacent to the discussed topics or was reduced to nodding my agreement on whatever point was made.
It was uncomfortable and awkward to say the least. Even as I reflected on the gathering the next day, I still felt a distance I couldn’t quite attribute to anything. However, the truth came screaming at me in a dream later that night.
About 18-24 months ago, I prayed a late night, one-line request to God:
“I feel the tug, and I don’t know how to do it, but – God, help me to become the entrepreneur I think You want me to be.”
Now, those weren’t my exact words, but they were very close. More importantly, the heart of my request was to be who I felt God was calling me to be. I’d had so many opportunities in standard employment that turn into either dead ends or worst nightmares, and I was hungry to live out my dreams, but I hadn’t a clue how to do it.
That prayer set off a chain reaction in my life. I’d love to say I marched straight into one phenomenal connection after another, but that’s when chaos erupted. A dream job ended abruptly, and our household income declined. My blood pressure rose to levels I hadn’t seen since being in labor with my first child. Finally, my mother became hospitalized with complications due to a decades-long illness, and she died last October. Until then, I didn’t know pain could wound you that deeply.
As the late Dr. Maya Angelou would say, there was still a rainbow in the clouds for me. My prayer – complete with knocking knees and a shaky voice – helped me learn how to stand on my own. I didn’t make it to every family event. What we earned went to the most important expenses for home management, business building, and traveling to see my mother in my hometown. All the bells and whistles I preferred went away. I missed the fun photos, the wine toasts, and many moments of celebration during that time.
In exchange, I began learning who I really was.
I studied how to coach others effectively and connect on a personal level.
I took every free or low-cost seminar related to honing my natural gifts and talents that I could find.
The journey led me to finally opening my coaching business and preparing to release my first book later this year.
When my dream reminded me of all of this, I understood perfectly why I couldn’t relate to the topics during that family get-together: some of the topics were no longer mine to discuss. There comes a time in everyone’s life when you can’t relate to what’s being discussed around you if your circle of influence hasn’t changed. Sometimes, it’s because you’re gone more often that you’re present. Other times, the talk turns to office-related woes to which you can no longer relate. The kicker? Having those around you discuss limitations and barriers in or around their lives that you have abandoned in your own.
If or when this occurs, don’t be bitter – be grateful. This is the power of disruption at work.
When disruption enters, it often holds a full-length, three-way mirror up to every aspect of your life and demands you make a change. It can be a painful process, but this is part of the separation that comes with deciding that abundance in all forms will be yours.
As a matter of fact, it already is yours. You just have to choose it boldly.
So, yes, there may be more uncomfortable dinners in my future.
There could even be times where I doubt the path I’ve chosen.
That’s all okay.
Turning back is truly not an option, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.