The Year of Elevation
I entered 2018 with a goal of elevation. I left the goal loose because honestly, I found that sometimes when I set goals, I place unintentional limits on myself. I still chuckle when I recall a conversation with a very close friend. At the time, I set a goal to make a salary and felt that once I reached that salary, I would be content. How limiting! With inflation, another child, and untapped potential, I’m not sure why I was so quick to make such a proclamation. I’m thankful for great friends because my friend said to me, “why would you limit yourself?” From that moment on I decided to set goals as stepping stones and not as my final outcome.
To reach my goal of elevation, I would need to focus on speaking up, loosening up, and moving up. I wasn’t sure when the opportunities would present themselves, but I wanted to make sure I was ready when the time came.
I had taken the right steps in pursuit of my career goals, yet I still felt I was unintentionally, holding myself back. I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up. I needed to "lean in," seek challenges, and continue to pursue my career goals without fear. In a meeting one day, my opportunity finally arose. I worked on a project for days. When it was time to present my work to the team, one of the group members challenged my idea. “We can change it,” my boss piped in while I collected my thoughts. I had worked countless hours on this project and believed in my idea. I also knew that if I didn’t speak up, I would be the only one investing additional hours on the project and I would miss an event at my son’s school. On the call with the senior leadership team, I said no, represented the idea, and justified why I believed in it. I don’t know how it came through to those listening to me, but it was a terrifying moment for me. The outcome: I attended my son’s event (carefree), respect, increased responsibilities, and a seat at the table.
I constantly felt overwhelmed. I wanted to climb the career ladder and help my then 3rd grader achieve A+ status. He is a great student, so I thought I was signing up for another smooth year. Third-grade math frustrated me more than any of my undergrad or MBA classes. I would try to multitask between doing my corporate job and momin’ and couldn’t understand why things weren’t falling into place. The more I coached, the less my son connected with his school work. We both found ourselves frustrated. He finished 3rd grade with good grades but the journey there was painful. I would find myself working all times of night to make up for the time I was spending with him on his homework. After a “mom life" conference, I received a message with my name on it. My son had proven he was an excellent student, and we had reached the point (for my sanity) that I needed to step back and let him be great. When I removed myself from his homework and study routine, he flourished. The first semester of fourth grade has been so much more pleasant for both of us. Once I loosened up, he felt less pressure, and he continues to bring home good grades.
I finally had an opportunity to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Although the author is currently under scrutiny, her message of thriving as a working mom was not lost on me. Rather than focusing on what you can't do or on the barriers to your advancement, she urges women to focus on the positive, to look for possibilities and to seize the day. For me, 2018 has been a tremendous year of self-discovery and accomplishment. I have no regrets in 2018. I started a blog, words designed for friends and family have been read by thousands, including receiving pick-ups on other blogs and national television. I raised my voice and was rewarded. I received a promotion at work and went from being an individual contributor to a leader of a team of five.
As I look back at 2018, my success was not met without challenges, failures, disappointments, sadness, heartbreak, and obstacles. My personal commitment toward elevation helped me sidestep all of the roadblocks. In 2019, my word of the year is flourish.
Cheers to 2019.