The seed for my transformation was planted when I was in Darfur, Sudan.
I was trying to be perfect, while everyone around me was just trying to get the job done. I wanted to be the best but liked by others. I adapted to my surroundings, trying to do it all.
Early into my mission in Darfur, my boss told me: “I wasn’t going to make it”.
I was outraged.
Who was he to say that I couldn't work in a dangerous environment under pressure? What did he know about my experience?
And then I started to doubt myself and shut down. I internalized his comment out of shame. I worked to prove him wrong. I was serving in the boldest ways but losing myself in the process.
My work felt hard, my relationships felt like work, and I was working for my life—my life was not working for me.
I was headed toward burnout and needed to leave Darfur before it was too late.
On a satellite phone in a remote compound, I called a crisis counselor desperately searching for answers. “How am I expected to manage thirty people in the middle of nowhere, when I am only twenty-six?”
I was doing everything I possibly could to be the best, but it wasn’t enough. I was exhausted. “Doing it all” was pushing me away from the career I loved. I no longer knew my deepest desires, pleasures, and joys. I no longer had a vision for me.
I knew I was worth more.
I realized that sacrificing myself started when I was a little girl, not in this job. I grew up with divorced parents, a middle child, and was always known as the one who was doing well. My childhood was dedicated to gymnastics and later a collegiate life in track and field, which involved perpetually overachieving.
When I accomplished something, everyone immediately asked, “What’s next?” There again, it was never enough.
But something deeper was pulling at my heart. I wanted a gentler path forward. So, I sought out mentors—women in my field who were living differently. Women who had a profound sense of self and confidence. Women who were loud and had found their voice. And, women who knew how to form boundaries and lovingly communicate them to others.
This change took years—a Coaching for Transformation Associate certification, a 200-hour yoga teacher training, and in-depth study of Nonviolent Communication, neuroscience, and empathy—to relearn how to peacefully move through the world.
Now, I have a sharp vision for women’s equality that includes taking care of myself and staying strong in a softer way.
As a mother of two under two, my self-care comes in small doses.
It’s asking my husband to take the kids to the playground so I can sip my morning coffee in peace. It’s playing my favorite song in the car on the way to daycare. It’s meeting a girlfriend on my lunch break and asking her to listen so I can share my thoughts. It’s consciously taking five breaths before a difficult conversation with my boss. It’s meditating on the toilet at work or even in my house! It’s saying no to gatherings so I can say yes to my favorite yoga class. It’s riding my bike to my appointments or splurging for that afternoon cookie. It’s forgiving myself when I fall short of unrealistic expectations or allowing myself to fail and be human. It’s “leaving” my work phone in my purse and going to sleep by 10:00pm.
I practice this care all day, every single day.
I started Healing In Service for women just like me—and you—who are showing up big in the world but want to love themselves wholly and fiercely through it all. The core of my work is that your well-being is a non-negotiable aspect of your activism.
Are you ready to love yourself so you can fiercely as you serve the world? Let’s connect on a complimentary discovery call!