The way I see it, there are two reasons we women travel through life losing sight of ourselves. Our diffuse awareness and our other-focused prioritizing. We aren’t likely to change, but when we get conscious and intentional, we make huge shifts in the balance of our priorities.
Generalizing wildly, we women have one beautiful pair of traits that opens the door for these huge shifts: we dream and we implement. We see the big picture and then we go about pinching the devil out of the details.
Before I give you the 7 Actions that will aid you in collaborating and delegating those details, I want to tell you a little story about Jane Doe the CEO (you, that is).
You were born with an inny.
Your parents swaddled and adored you and gave you nicknames like princess and honey love pot and sweetness.
They gave you Barbie dolls and you liked them. Mostly. Your mom told you that the world was your playground and that you could be and do anything you imagined. You built sand castles and mud pies with daisy frosting, and you punched Joey for cutting in front of you in the lunch line on pizza day.
You got straight As in math even thought you couldn’t imagine how it was relevant to, well, anything.
And then you were eleven.
E-leven. The boys were stronger, but you could still hold your own on the flag football team because you were a foot taller and ran like a cheetah. Boys were noisy and loud and gross, demanding the teacher’s attention and wiping their noses on the inside of their elbows, and life was way better when you circled up with the girls in solidarity and sniped out stiletto barbs that could cleave a life in two.
And then you were 15 and nothing made sense.
A yearning something yanked you into imperfect friendships and furtive dalliances. You excelled and failed in equal measure, wished people expected more of you and loathed yourself when they asked for more than you could give.
At 17 the yearning something transformed into direction, flanked equally by doubt and desire. You found your activism and your g-spot almost simultaneously, and for a moment, one excruciating moment, you considered raising chickens, throwing pottery, writing like Jane Austen and birthing babies like you might flip pancakes.
Somewhere in your late 20s, after the B.A. and the Master’s and the year in Costa Rica counting turtles and the job coup of a lifetime, you ran into yourself at an intersection. You had your feet on the ladder, a ring of promise on your finger and endless eggs cueing up to nest in your belly. The light turned green and you gunned it.
You knew you could do it all.
You’d been doing it all since you learned to walk. Promotion lead to partnership, and partnership lead to authority and in between the meetings and the diapers and the arguments and the invitations and the accolades, you realized your weekends with loved ones were spent shopping for cake mixes and power tools and suddenly you’re 43 and just like 15, not one thing makes sense, and your Jane Austen self sits on the curb where you left her, waving at you.
“Who am I?” You Ask
You’re Jane Doe, the CEO of everything, and nothing’s wrong. You’re in the right place at the right time for the right reason. And babe, it’s time to get your life back.
It’s no wonder we women find ourselves here. Even if we were blessed with parents and mentors who helped us discover and navigate the sweet waters of purpose-filled living, we have been aided and abetted by our culture. A culture that doesn’t much understand pause and reflection and stepping away from the madding crowd. A culture that still struggles to come to grips with equality and feminine leadership; a culture that is still fearful of the power of women. And sometimes we’re the last to know.