I’m BAAAACK!!!

I’m BAAAACK!!  Do I need to point out the obvious? Ok, I will… my first (and last) post was over 2 years ago when I softly launched she dreams big and shared the news of my pregnancy.  I wrote my launch post a few weeks before my due date and committed to returning to my work after six months of maternity leave.    Weeeeelllllll, that never happened, but the most extraordinary thing DID happen: I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, whom I affectionately call Toots (not his real name, duh).  Suddenly, my coaching biz and anything pertaining to the professional world faded to beige, and all I wanted to experience was the Technicolor world of my lil Toots.  Just him, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  He rocked my world, to say the least.

After more than 2 years of complete Toots immersion, I am still on “maternity leave.”   Actually, I no longer call it that- I have accepted the title of “mostly full time mommy to a very active toddler.”  The mostly part refers to the fact that I coach a few clients on the side (read: when Toots is sleeping), and recently resumed my coaching education to maintain my hard-earned credentials.  As I updated my website, my outstanding to-do was to write a new blog post, but I really struggled with what to say. Should I keep it uber-professional or make it deeply personal?  Either way, I wanted to prove to the world that my brain had not turned into mushy peas over the last few years.  My head kept telling myself to write a profound post about how women leaders can take the world by storm, but my heart nagged at me to pick up where I left off with my unique story of following my dreams.  Guess which part of me won?

To reach the point of writing this post, I first had to let go of the mental gunk which muddled my ability to share my heart.  I let go of the expectations I have about writing and the silly notions that I will only be taken seriously as a women’s leadership coach if I write about business-y topics. I let go my desire to prove the sanity of my post-partum brain to the world and appease anyone who stumbles across my blog.  I let go of worrying about those of who will critique my grammar, how often I use commas (old school style!), and my vocabulary.  I let go of my fear of being vulnerable, and of being seen for the sensitive, tender-hearted soul that I am.   I even let go of the “write a new blog post” action of my list of to-do’s. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Oh no, my work was hardly complete… I finally had to let go of whatever was stopping me from seeing myself as a leader in the here and now.

Good Lord what it took just to write this post!!  But the journey of letting go was MUCH greater than the simple act of writing, and this experience led me to where I am today as I let my heart do the typing.

So, here’s what I discovered as I let go, my lovelies…  When we let go of our perceptions of what a leader is, and how she is supposed to behave, talk, act, look, etc., we give way for our own style of leadership to emerge.  We no longer need a title, a salary, an org chart, or a snazzy suit to affirm our status as a leader.  We see opportunities to lead regardless of our profession, education, social status, or history.  (Do I hear a hallelujah??? Sure do!)

Stripping away all of this baggage, we LEAD when follow our heart’s desire, dreams, visions, and goals.  Yep, that’s right– we LEAD when we FOLLOW, letting the unseen, and sometimes unexplainable, serve as our compass.  We LEAD when we live our truth.  We’re at our best as leaders when the whispers of our soul guide our thoughts and actions.  Whether we succeed or fail isn’t the point, the point is that we lead by listening, following, and living our truth.

When I walked away from corporate life, I raised my leadership game up a few notches.  Perhaps others wouldn’t see my decision this way— I went from earning a six figure salary to ZERO-ZIP-ZILCH!!!  But, I was finally listening to that inner voice which urged me to follow my dreams of empowering women and becoming a mother.  When I made my initial leap of faith, that voice grew a bit louder, a bit more directive—she knew the way, I just needed to trust her and stay patient.  So, I did, and what unfolded, both personally and professionally, was transformational.  This being said, I couldn’t acknowledge myself as a leader until I recently let go of my limiting beliefs and realized I’m more of a leader now than I ever was.

And then I was FINALLY able to write this bloody post!!!!  (Let’s hope future posts come with greater ease or you won’t hear from me often.)

You, me, the gal on the commuter train, the mom driving the hybrid, the school girls in Pakistan, the farmer’s wife in Tanzania… we all have dreams, and we all hear the whispers of our soul urging us to follow those dreams.   We all have the ability to lead in this very moment by honoring those whispers.  Start simple, make it easy- choose whatever feels closest to your truth.  Keep listening, keep letting go of whatever limits you.  Keep practicing and celebrate the leader you are right here, right now.  Keep expecting miracles.  Above all, keep dreaming, my beloved soul sisters!!

Damn it feels good to be back….

Love and blessings,

Christina

 

Dreams Do Come True!

For many years, I dreamed of leaving corporate life behind to become an entrepreneur. I longed for more meaningful work that aligned with my passions and satisfied my soul. I imagined what life would be like outside of the corporate walls—how I’d define not only the “basics,” like work location and hours of operation, but, more significantly, how I’d choose the people with whom I collaborate and the way in which we work together.  I spent nearly 14 years dreaming about the future and wondering if I’d ever find the courage to walk away from my steady paycheck.. and then one day, I did it.  And I’ve never looked back…

Since leaving behind corporate life in early 2011, I’ve been on a path of self-discovery and self-actualization.   The first few months after I left IBM, I continued operating like I was still in the corporate environment- I threw myself into my role as founder and leader of the Qatar Professional Women’s Network and began taking steps to design my new business model, research coaching programmes, deliver workshops, etc.   What stopped me in my tracks was learning that I was pregnant, and, subsequently, miscarrying our little angel whom I named Gabriel.

I can’t begin to describe the heartache that followed the miscarriage—only those of you who’ve gone through a similar experience will understand the heaviness of my grief and the feelings of hopelessness.  All I wanted was to feel that life growing inside of me again.  If anything, losing Gabriel prompted me to reflect on what I really wanted in life, and, eventually, focus on the steps needed to create what I wanted.  My dreams became even clearer, and my desire to realize them even stronger.

Fast forward a year later, and my biggest dreams are coming true. I’ve re-trained as a professional coach, and started coaching amazing women in different parts of the world in pursuit of their own dreams.   I can finally say that I truly LOVE what I do and know that I’m making a difference in the world around me by coaching these women and investing in their development.   Concurrent to my coach training and business start-up, I’ve been “baking” another little miracle—and this one’s a keeper.   So, this summer,  I’m giving birth to two babies: my new business, she dreams big, and my “rainbow” baby (yet to be named).

she dreams big is truly a manifestation of my own dreams—a business which aligns with my values and  my passion for empowering women, plays to my strengths and experience, and makes a difference in this world.  Through she dreams big, I hope to inspire other women to pursue their dreams, whether they dream of owning their own business, starting a non-profit, achieving a leadership position within an organization, becoming a mom, or whatever their dreams may be.  she dreams big is aptly named after my clients and me:  big dreamin’, trail-blazin’, game changin’ women who are bold enough to be the change they want to see in this world!

So, here’s to you, my fellow big dreamers- may your every dream come true!

Love & blessings, Christina

(Note, I’m on maternity leave from July-December 2012, so look out for new blog posts and my return to coaching and consulting in 2013. In the meantime, you can reach me at christina@shedreamsbig.com)