It has been nearly 18 months since I made a drastic career change, leaving the television business after 16 years to go off on my own. It’s been a crazy, scary, and exciting year and a half, but one that lacked a real focus when I first began.
A few months ago, I started to take stock in what it was I was doing with my platform, and the different ways I was choosing to show up in the world. What I realized is that I was playing it safe. Throughout my entire TV career, I guarded my privacy fiercely. I resisted social media because I wanted to be a journalist, not a reality personality. I thought I could only be one or the other.
Why did I flat out refuse to reveal my true self? Because I was scared. Scared I would be judged, looked down upon, or laughed at. But a funny thing happened as I slowly started getting real about my experiences, those experiences connected with people in a way I could not have imagined.
When I hit “publish” on my first Love Lessons article I was sweating. Did I really want to do this? Would admitting I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 35 make people think I must be crazy or weird or unlovable? Was I ready to be that vulnerable in an open forum?
Then I got an email from a woman who admitted she was my age and had never had a boyfriend either. A couple hours later a similar email, this from a woman in her early 30s. Their message to me: “I had thought I was alone”.
You know what? So had I. That’s why I never told anyone except really close friends about my lack of a love life. I prayed no one at work would ever find out, and I certainly never wanted the viewers to know.
But what would have happened if I had read or heard another woman’s story of similar struggles when I was still going through mine? Would I have still felt so alone and ashamed? Absolutely not.
And that’s when I began to see what it was I really wanted to do, and the message I really wanted to share. I knew I didn’t have all the answers, not even close (still don’t). But I did have a few decades worth of experiences that just might resonate with other women who were feeling just as alone as I had felt.
What I also began to realize is that it isn’t just our love lives that are making so many of us feel inadequate or ashamed. There are so many different ways in which we may think we’re failing since we aren’t falling into the “normal” life track we imagined when we were much younger. Maybe it’s about love and marriage, maybe it’s about having kids or the struggle to conceive, maybe it’s the direction or lack thereof in our careers. Or maybe it’s something entirely unique.
The point is, we hold ourselves to these societal standards of how our lives should be lived. But many of those standards are outdated. And many of them are making us feel like crap.
So, for the last couple of months I have been working on a change and a new direction in which I am taking my business. It involves a name change (I’ll always love you, First and Trend, but you aren’t able to evolve with me), a completely new website, and a more focused purpose and vision.
In a few weeks we plan to launch it all and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m also scared out of my mind because this means I am fully jumping off the edge into a sea of vulnerability. But it feels so right. As my new ideas began to take focus, I finally had a passion for what I was doing that I hadn’t experienced in about a decade.
So, here I am, just six months away from turning 40, and perhaps finally finding what it was I am meant to do. I also just celebrated my one-year anniversary which was also not “supposed” to happen at this age. But I needed every step along the way and every year those steps took in order to get here.
This is my unique timeline and I am finally owning it. And now I want to encourage and empower you all to do the same with yours.