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5 Steps to Help Women Find Their Path of Vitality

Author Virginia Woolf said, "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman."

Not anymore.  

In honor of International Women’s Day, the global medical technology company BD (Becton Dickinson), invited my older sister Karen, my younger sister Jill, and me to speak about being an entrepreneur to a workplace full of diverse, curious and compassionate people. One of my professional and personal mentors, Gary Cohen, led the charge (in between changing people’s lives and making a difference in this world) and he moderated our panel with his usual warmth and humor.  


As working mothers, we spoke about seeing work and life as something to blend, rather than fighting the natural tension in the struggle for “balance."  As business owners, we spoke about filling the gap we saw in our respective fields -- taking risks and overcoming the challenges that inevitably get in the way when creating something new. 

Making a pivot in your life, particularly in your career, is no easy feat. But I talk to too many people who don’t seem satisfied in their jobs, don’t spend enough time with their kids, or don’t focus on caring for themselves. Somehow, this is especially true for women. We get busy and in the blur of it all, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes us really happy.  

The path to your authentic self is not linear. But if you slow down, your inner voices will insist you listen until you ultimately make the changes that lead you to your true vitality.

This process is clearer for me when I break it down into 5 steps to help follow your authentic path, either professionally or personally. 

First, you have to do the work. Listen quietly. Don’t ignore the nudge inside. What pulls at you in the spaces of things? What did you want to do when you grew up? Who did you want to be? Are you doing any of it?  Once you uncover that true passion — personal or professional - write it down. Commit to trying it now. 

Second, know your responsibilities. Just because you finally uncovered what you really want to do doesn’t mean you just up and do it. I want to climb mountains so that I can handstand on a summit every weekend, but I have three kids and a quickly growing franchise business…that passion serves no one but me. Understand how your own personal desires or new professional goals fit into your current life, and then align them with those responsibilities.  

Third, find your allies. The naysayers will be the first to show up. They will tell you you’re crazy or they will doubt any attempt to quit your job or write your book or run that marathon. Ignore them. Keep moving until you find the friends and family that support your goals, and who are willing to talk through those opportunities with you. You want to spend your time with people who build you up, not tear you down. 

Fourth, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. It’s easier to wait until you get it exactly right, than it is to take a risk. I find that my women friends all too often strive for perfection or wait until the “perfect moment” to write that book or start their business idea or resurface a favorite hobby. We are waiting for the perfect time and the perfect place and the perfect manifestation of what it is we want to do. But good enough works too. And it’s a start. We forget that if it’s messy, you can go back and try again and again and again….until it works. 

Fifth and finally, develop the resiliency tool kit you will need in order to help you keep going when you begin to doubt the path you finally found. Now that you’re on your way to fulfilling your personal passion or your professional goal, you will inevitably come up against all kinds of stopping blocks. Self doubt. Doubt from your spouse. Doubt from your friends or colleagues at work. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough energy.

Building resilience take introspection. Whenever I doubt my often crazy (fun) path, I envision myself as a older woman in the final days of my life. Did I live the life I wanted to live? Did I live with passion and purpose? Did I prioritize the things that filled me up - like my kids, my passions, my true self? What was the story I wanted to tell with my life? Did I tell it?  

Each time you ask yourself these questions, it will help to realign you right back into your most vital space and your authentic self naturally emerges - at home, at work, and in all aspects of your life. 

I speak to so many new mothers who have a baby and then want to make a change. There is a common thread between these and our current songs for seeds franchise owners.  They want flexibility of their time, they want to work hard but with meaning, they want to blend that work with their children and they want to make an impact in their communities. I am grateful every day that I get to do this kind of work and meet so many women on this same path.  I find that once they begin to work for themselves and take that risk, they uncover a new way of being, and they are filled up with the satisfaction of being in charge of their own time and spending more time with their kids. 

My sisters and I started three very different businesses. Yet what we have in common was our desire to go to bed at night satisfied with who we are as people and to be in control of our own time. We all agree that living with purpose and pursuing your passion is paramount to everything. We all three somehow know that when we are happy, our kids are happy. We all three have strong business partners to help us stay on the path when we begin to doubt. And we all three know that we have each other when we need it.  

When thinking about making a change - personal or professional - the most difficult decision is to ACT. But if you’re on the path to happiness, you’ll know it. And when you find it, I promise the world conspires to meet you. 

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