I remember the day I spoke with Lindsay, my former higher ed colleague/soon-to-be supervisor/forever friend, about this remote HR role at the fundraising consulting firm where she was the COO. I was finishing a shift at the women’s boutique and sat in the break room, doodling on a piece of paper as we discussed the job and what it could entail.

Side note: only in this very moment, did I connect this parallel experience I had in 2010. I was in the break room of Nordstrom when I learned from my sister that my dad was declining rapidly from his year-long battle with cancer, and I needed to get back to Texas as soon as I could. Clearly break rooms hold space for some transformative information to come through!

So it was the end of 2018, I hadn’t yet launched MFD Style, and I needed to figure out some kind of income source that could sustain me. Enter Lindsay’s offer where I could work from home and help build essential HR systems and offerings for our colleagues. It may not have been the job I would have imagined for myself, but it was exactly the job I needed at the moment I needed it. That would be a consistent theme in my life, over and over again.

I worked remotely from 2019 until the end of 2021. In those 3 years, I finally had no excuse but to confront that inner dialogue that had prevented me from launching MFD Style. I was pretty wounded leaving higher ed, and my beliefs reflected it. I had taken some big hits to my self-esteem, and Lindsay, my now supervisor, became instrumental in helping me hear the stories I was telling myself. I can remember one performance related conversation where she told me NOT to stay in my lane and embrace the opportunity to create something at the firm. It was a strange moment for me because I had never seen myself as someone who cowered from an invitation to create, and yet here I was needing the permission to do something with little parameters. Funny how that freedom to create was a key reason I wanted to leave higher ed, and here I was being given the opportunity to do it, but my mind had convinced me that I couldn’t.

My ego was wildly out of control, telling me to stay small, safe, and quiet.

I have MANY stories like this over these 3 years where I finally could HEAR the words I was telling myself. Most of us likely believe everything we think without too much conscious awareness. It took a consistent person like Lindsay to reflect back to me what she heard and pose the question: Is that even true? And when I answered her, I had to admit that it was all a story in my own head.

I think I was annoyed at the fact that I was creating my own suffering by believing these stories. I had allowed this inside voice to be the guidepost for my decisions and actions. Ironically, I could quote Brene Brown’s line, “the story I’m telling myself is…” and somehow not apply the lesson to myself. The thing about the ego is once you let it run the show, it won’t hesitate to take the reins. I allowed the stories of I’m not good enough, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t have anything meaningful to offer become truth. Maybe you can relate to these beliefs. How they control our behaviors. How they influence our decisions. How they keep us small.

So the next question I had to confront: Now what? I knew I needed something to rewire my brain and bring my heart back online.


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