Let me paint you a picture of the beginning…
I was at a networking event in Seattle back in 2009, nervously peddling my “Lifestyle Design” workshop and my “Conquering your Quarterlife Crisis” blog.
Pretty damn broke, working for my boyfriend’s email marketing business part-time, and going through some bumpy times in my relationship —
I was feeling a bit like an impostor.
Luckily, I had done a lot of work visioning my life in the future and that vision was driving me through the discomfort of putting myself out there.
The dreams were there. The visions were clear.
And my job was to allow/fight for/manifest them into reality.
Though I didn’t know it as I sipped my red wine and nervously shifted from heel to heel that night,
I was about to get a lesson in protecting my dreams from skeptics.
I visioned myself doing my good work in the world with women just like you — teaching, inspiring, and challenging you to make your life and career joyful expressions on your own terms. To embrace happiness as a priority, to be courageous with your choices, to release expectations and definitions of success that were not yours, to be honest about what was and wasn’t working in your life. To honor your strengths and practice self-compassion. To be here. Do good. Choose joy.
I knew I would be changing lives.
I visioned a family that played together, that created imaginary worlds in the woods at their cabin, that spent a summer sailing around the Mediterranean, that jammed in a family band, that had projector movie nights in the backyard and invited all the neighbors. I imagined a loving and connected relationship with my husband — still traveling and adventuring, still desiring each other, still taking time for tiny moments of kindness.
I knew I would be a mama and a wife.
I visioned 250K profit through a sustainable and energizing business model with freedom to live and travel where we wanted, when we wanted. I imagined a modern green home in a beautiful place, with a little cottage out back with enough space for an employee or two. I imagined leading retreats with awesome women around the world, having a talk show one day, and founding a soulful summer camp for girls.
I knew I would be a successful entrepreneur.
In my dreams, my family, my marriage and my connection to myself would be thriving because I had made deliberate decisions about the life I was creating, understood the sacrifices I was willing to make and followed through with my vision.
I would be working sane hours and available for midnight shooting star spying and weekend camping trips on the coast and soccer game cheering. I would be practicing self-care and continuing to explore my self-expression. I wouldn’t be commuting, stressed by asshole bosses, or obsessed with keeping up with the Jones. I would be setting an example of doing work that you loved on your own terms, work that made a positive impact in the lives of others.
That would be my version of balance — one centered around connection with myself, connection with my legacy work and connection with my loved ones.
Back to the networking event…
In the midst of waxing on about my vision for Stratejoy and my life to a very successful business owner, she interrupted me with cackle of disbelief.
“Kids? You want to run your business and have kids? Hahaha! Good luck with that! God, achieving any sort of success requires so much god damn time and work that I can’t even imagine having kids. I barely see my husband some weeks… There are so many nights I stay up until 2 or 3 am working my ass off in order to make something happen and I still feel like I’m not doing enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but there’s honestly not room in my life for anything else. Work/life balance is the biggest joke of all time.”
This rude but honest outburst could have gone two ways for me.
Thought Option One
My imaginary life bubble could have been popped by her cynicism. Honestly, who was I to know what the reality of my dreams meant?
My business was nothing more than a blog and wish at that point. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids, and I wasn’t making any money, nor any real difference.
She was a success in Seattle. She seemed to have it together in her life and her business. If someone I admired was telling me it wouldn’t be possible, maybe I should pay attention to her skepticism and adjust my expectations.
Maybe I was completely off base with my imaginary world.
Maybe she was right.
Thought Option Two
(Good thing I’m a stubborn, rose-colored-glasses-wearing idealist, who has enough confidence to consider myself a rebel ’cause Option One didn’t happen.)
As I wanly smiled at her, I distinctly remember thinking,
“Holy shit. I definitely don’t want the kind of business she’s running. And her life doesn’t sound fun at all. Mother fucker! That sounds horrible! Seriously. There has got to be another way. I’m not signing up for that.”
I’m sure I mumbled something polite and went to get another drink as I pondered her response to my dream.
Call it faith or naive optimism, but there is a solid core in me that has always believed my vision, that still believes in my vision.
As it slowly starts becoming my truth — a growing family, a thriving business, a beautiful life — I understand that I’m unfurling into my dreams.
I know it’s not going to be easy and that doubt and melancholy will visit from time to time, but I also know that a life full of joy and impact and love is possible for me.
I know that it will continue to require hard work and sacrifice. That life will get messy. That things won’t always go as planned.
And I know that there will always be critics and naysayers and realists who will scoff at my fanciful dreams.
But here’s the thing.
My visions are mine to dream, mine to build, mine to protect.
Just as your visions are yours to dream, yours to build, yours to protect.
Skeptics have no chance against us.
Let’s keep it that way, eh?
p.s. I’m opening a new small group later this month for 8 of you! As I’ve been totally wrapped up in the experience of being a mama, wife, business owner, and a (separate, yet interconnected) Molly these last 15 months — I realize it’s time to launch the “New Mamas” Group.
I’m really excited/scared/fucking thrilled to have some honest discussions (whether you’re pregnant or a newish mom) with other women who are “doing it all.” Or at least trying, right? Can’t wait to gather together for two months for some lively and soulful connecting. Email me at molly @ stratejoy . com if you want to be on the short list for this one – I imagine it will sell out fast!