You. Rising! Reclaim Your Life. Live Your Purpose.
A quick read for smart, savvy women who feel torn between the realities of their lives and the dreams they ache to create. This little book brings a year’s worth of certified life coaching support and guidance into the palm of your hand. Filled with simple and inspiring stories, ideas and journaling prompts this life-map is broken down into an effective, fun, and transformative experience. Readers get to explore what truly motivates them and how to shift their lives from chaotic to clear, depressing to joyful, and from empty to meaningful. As an added bonus, this book also includes a book group discussion guide so that readers can experience this journey with support and friendship. So, invite a few friends over, get some chocolate, and curl up with “You. Rising!”
From the Author
I’m an author, a student, and a coach. I’m a mom, a daughter, and an aunt. I’m a lover, a partner and a friend. Some days I’m a success and some days I’m a failure. I am a woman doing the best she can to find her way through life, just like you.
When it happened, I was 27 years old, married and had two beautiful kids. My son was 3 years old at the time, and my daughter was just 12 days old. I was supposed to be on maternity leave, resting, recovering and re-orienting my life around a new bundle of joy, goo, and sleepless nights.
Then the phone rang. It was 6:30am on June 2, 2003. My mom never called that early.
“I think I need to go to the hospital,” she said.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
She was about one month shy of her 50th birthday, in the middle of a divorce and living on her own for the first time in her life. She was articulate and finally beginning to enjoy the independence she’d found. Yet, that morning she couldn’t tell me what was wrong. I literally saw red flags in my head.
We would find out that it was a ruptured brain aneurysm. She’d spend the next month fighting for her life in the I.C.U., eventually winning, but life would never be the same for any of us.
The very next day we received a call from my mother-in-law and real estate partner. Actually, it was three calls. The first two she hung up before we could answer. By the third call, we simply answered too quickly for her to hang up. She felt guilty asking for help knowing that my mom was in the hospital, but we lived across the street from her, it was 10:00pm, and she was lying at the bottom of her stairs unable to move. My husband followed the ambulance to the hospital, and I found myself back at work much sooner than any of us planned.
That was Tuesday and Wednesday of the same week. On Thursday, my husband’s father showed up after a 20 year absence. On Friday I remember waking up and thinking, “I don’t want to know what else could happen in one week.” I was afraid to get out of bed.
It would take me three years to fully understand all the ways in which these events had actually happened for me instead of to me, but at the time, they sent me reeling. I was lost, afraid, and felt very much alone. I tried to take care of everyone, but kept feeling as if I was failing miserably. Although there were people around me, somehow it felt as if they couldn’t help me. Eventually it would bring me face-to-face with the one person who could save me, and the one person I knew and trusted the least: me.
I didn’t know who I was and it became painfully clear that I hadn’t known for years. I remembered having dreams of my own once, but they’d been packed away and forgotten. I remembered having plans for my adult years, but they’d gradually slipped out of reach. As I looked in the mirror one day I wondered, “If I didn’t come home tonight, would I be proud of the life I’d lived?” A resounding “no” filled my thoughts and the weight of that awareness pushed me to change.
I decided to start taking one step each day toward a “yes”. I had no idea what direction to go or how I’d get there, but I’d try. Some days that one step was the simple act of getting out of bed to face the day. Other days it was a deliberate step toward understanding why I did the things I did, and what really mattered to me.
I came to see how I’d been acting out all the “shoulds” my parents had taught me. I should go to college; I should get a job that pays the bills; I should put my children before everything else in my life (even acts of self-care); I should feel good about it all whether I actually liked any of it or not; I should never complain; I should…. But it wasn’t working for me. It didn’t reflect who I was or what I wanted in my life.
So, I began to ask new questions:
What if I could peel away the layers of “shoulds” to uncover what was true for me?
What if I could dig deep enough to reconnect with that part of me that still believed in the dreams I had as a child?
What if I could go even deeper to articulate the why behind those dreams to discover my purpose and passion; the thing that would enliven every facet of my life?
What if I could articulate all of this in such a way that I could evaluate each new situation or opportunity quickly and easily and know – really know – that it’s right for me or it’s not?
What if I lived by that list so that every part of my life reflected the truth of me as accurately, honestly and compassionately as possible?
What if I could finally, for the first time in my life, truly know who I am, claim it, and live on purpose?
The story of that journey I will save for another time, another book perhaps. For now, suffice it to say that I took that journey. It was challenging, sometimes painful, but ultimately it has been and continues to be absolutely worth it every day.
Admittedly, I did it the hard way. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I didn’t have a language yet for what I did know. It took time, energy and effort. It took a lot of fumbling forward, tears, and do-overs. It took a lot of celebrating the little things, and learning how to let go of who I believed I was so that I could become who I’m meant to be.
There are days when I realize that learning is never complete. We can always become more. Yet, I continue to return to these same tools each time. They are the corner-stone of how I keep reclaiming my life and living my purpose.
While it took me years of walking through uncharted territory, I’ve distilled it into a map for others to follow.
You’re experience will be unique because the ways in which you respond to what is offered here will be your own, but this will give you everything you need reclaim your life and live your purpose.
Enjoy the journey!
Who Am I? The 3 Things You Absolutely Must Have In Order to Answer the Questions You're Asking.
Lauren was 27 when life took an unexpected turn. Her marriage was falling apart already, and then she was laid off from her job. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if she only had herself to worry about, but she also had two young children to clothe, feed and take care of. So far, her adult years had gone as her parents had told her they would: she’d finished college, gotten married, had children within a couple of years, and found a job that paid the bills. She didn’t mind that she wasn’t excited about going to work each day. She’d bought into the belief that if you just work hard enough long enough, everything else will work itself out.
Well, she’d worked plenty hard, and now she was financially broke and facing divorce. That wasn’t how it was supposed to work. It was time to find her own way, but two questions kept coming up: “Where do I start?” and “How do I know what’s really right for me?” She didn’t want to make the same mistakes again.
Life is far more fragile than we care to admit sometimes. We can be going along thinking everything is exactly the way it should be. Then one day… poof… a whole new reality plants itself in the middle of our carefully laid plans and we are left with questions, but no answers.
Maybe you’re like Lauren. Maybe you’re experiencing the end of something you’ve assumed would always be there for you, like the break up of a marriage or the sudden end to what you thought would be a life-long career. What is the foundation upon which you begin again?
Or maybe it’s a seemingly average, ordinary occurrence that has you stuck in a moral dilemma, like having to stand up for something you believe in against the tide of everyone else’s opinions or having to choose between the dream of world-travel you’ve planned for more than 10 years and the most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever experienced. How do you know what the “right” choice is for you?
Or maybe it’s even more subtle. Maybe there is no one thing you can point to, but a growing sense of something “not right” in your life; something missing; a desire for something “more” that you can’t articulate or explain. You know you don’t want to stay where you are, but you don’t know where you want to go either. On what do you base your choices in order to move forward?
When having to make tough choices, like which job to take or which city to move to, we are often given the advice to make a list of all the pros and cons for each option. This is supposed to give us a clear idea of what we’re really thinking and provide us an easy way to decide. But these choices assume that we already know who we are, and it’s just a matter of what step to take next.
But what do you do if the questions you’re having are fundamentally asking, “Who am I?” The next step can’t be looked at until we know who we are, because if we decide we are one person, we may choose to go to Boston for a fresh start. If we decide we are someone else, taking that world trip may be more fulfilling.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could articulate a list of some kind that outlined who we are and allowed us to look at a decision and say without a doubt, “Yes, this is the right and best choice for me” or “No, I can’t do this because it’s not who I am” – no matter what the pros and cons might look like?
What if we could build a list that was unique to ourselves, that honored who we are, and that guided even the most difficult choices and situations in our lives?
What might we need in order to do that?
First, we’d need a way to articulate it. We’d need a language we could use and understand. We would need one that could be both specific and general, allowing us room to refine our understanding of it as we learned more about it.
Second, we’d need a way to know that it was working. An identifiable measurement to let us know when we were “right” or “wrong” or even “close” in our articulation and understanding. We’d need a feedback system that both teaches us and supports us as we learn our new language.
Third, we’d need a way to learn it; make it inherent in our approach to life. Like learning a second language, you know you have it when you begin to think in it, rather than having to stop and translate back and forth between languages before responding to a question. We’d want a method of practicing that allows this language to become natural and easy, and maybe even fun.
In the following pages, you’ll learn each of these things. You’ll discover that the language you need is already at the tip of your tongue and available to you. In fact, you’re probably already using it without realizing it. As you read, you’ll become aware of your personal language, as well as how to develop the deep sense of knowing when your choices are “right” for you. Also provided is an easy to follow, step-by-step guide that walks you through the process of not only articulating who you are, but integrating it into your everyday acts and simple choices so that when the harder decisions come along, you’re already prepared.
As a result, you’ll learn to think and respond to life from the core of who you really are. You’ll reclaim your life from the expectations of your parents, siblings, spouse, or other well-meaning people in your life. Ultimately, you’ll discover how to build a life of meaning and passion; a life in which circumstances may change, but you still have a solid foundation upon which to stand and meet those challenges. You’ll find abundance and joy in the simplest things of each day.
But first, you have to reclaim your life by getting to know who you really are.