Turning 40 messes with you. And yet, that dreaded day came and went, and my fears of losing a huge part of my identity associated with being a “young, up and comer” were suddenly no longer my concern. Wait…what? Not only did I not care, but suddenly I began looking at everything through the lens of “why”? Why am I spending my time the way I do, exerting energy (and worse – stress) on things that have no value, why am I making decisions out of fear and getting no closer to what I want. And worse…why am I so self-absorbed? This uncomfortable line of thinking forces the dreadful “Man, if I had only asked this question earlier in my life” moment when the real question becomes “What do I want out of my life…really?” What story do I want to tell, or do I want my children, my family, or my friends to tell? While I believe the answer to this question warrants continued digging, I can’t ignore this constant nagging of a different question – what if part of my story is to play a small but meaningful part in other people’s amazing stories?
This milestone led me to spend some time examining and evaluating my life in relation to my strong held values. I have always been ambitious and aggressively sought to grow my career. I questioned the likelihood or even desire for motherhood until I gazed deeply into those big brown eyes of my first child. Boy, will that change your priorities! I am now the single mom of two rambunctious boys. I want to be an engaged mother, and I still want other things too. I still want a thriving career. I want to attend to my health. I want to serve and give back. For me this all led to my life experiment…to try to live my days according to my values and what I really want? Can I be a beacon for others to do the same?
I also realized that all my life I have had a profound heart for the underdog, the hurting, the underrepresented or the underprivileged. Perhaps that came from my own childhood challenges of growing up very poor in a mountain cabin with no electricity or running water, or being painfully homely, bullied, and deeply hurt. Or it could have been the influence of an incredibly strong mother that fought through incredible odds and became someone who has had tremendous impact on the lives of hundreds of children and others around her. Or it simply could have been born of my deep faith and the resulting longing for love, light, fairness, compassion and equality in the world. I don’t know.
Early in my own career, this heart for change turned to women. I could intrinsically feel the deep strength, compassion, fierceness, kindness, and empathy found when listening to the heart and looking into the eyes of a woman. I knew without a doubt that if women had a more prominent voice and influence, that the world could experience even greater change and accomplish even greater things. Not because men don’t do wonderful things, they absolutely do. I’m moved everyday by the wildly compassionate and generous actions that I see and experience men doing. Not only that, this journey will only be successful if we stand shoulder to shoulder with the countless men that believe that we all can do better.
Why women and why now for me is obvious, and I hope it is for anyone else reading this too. If not, lets grab tea and we can talk about it. But why entrepreneurship? I believe that business, technology and entrepreneurship play an absolutely critical role in addressing some of our deepest societal issues. I know this may feel uncomfortable for a woman to say but let’s face it…money and power in the right hands and with the right heart changes things. There are many men and women that prove this out every day. Yet I continue to believe there is significant opportunity in continuing to bring that female voice and perspective to the decision making table, as we make world changing choices about how to spend time, resources, innovation, and creativity.
At the end of the day, life is short. I want my story to be that I lived it well, with intention, with purpose, and with love, and according to my values. That’s my why. What’s yours?
If you are a woman looking to explore starting her own business and are seeking mentorship, access to expertise and a bit of seed money – reach out to us now and let us be your fiercest champions!