When we bring our whole selves to everything we do, the easy and the hard stuff, we are more fulfilled and more effective.
Through mindfulness and social-emotional intelligence, we can learn to bring our authentic selves to the present moment in ways that enrich our communities and our lives.
A few years ago, I basically had what storyteller-researcher Brené Brown might describe as a "spiritual awakening/breakdown.” It began in 2013 when I left my role as a classroom teacher for another job in which I felt alienated, overwhelmed, and ineffective. At the same time, other parts of my life began to unravel. After being married for seven years, my husband and I were struggling, and there were moments we thought our marriage was ending. Then, worst of all, my Grandma Rose, the person who had taken me into her home when I was a single mother in college, began to die from the cancer with which she had lived for over a decade.
For two long years I struggled. Eventually I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Medication, marriage counseling, and therapy were all required, but there was also something more. In the depths of my struggle, I found new meaning in life through practicing mindfulness, being more grateful, trying to make new meaning from my experiences, and (most importantly) reaching out and connecting with others.
Every time I shared a part of my story aloud to someone else, I heard their story back. In my professional role as an instructional coach, teachers told me their heartbreaks: illness, death, broken families, and mental illness among others. I saw so many folks in pain (myself included), and I wanted to help.
I had decided by that point to leave my job and go to school to become a counselor, but before I did, I offered four workshops: mindfulness, gratitude, growth, and connection—basically a description of my own path. The workshops were small, but also impactful for those who participated; my boss suggested I should start a business, and maybe the district could hire me as a contractor to keep offering workshops. I thought it could be a great part-time gig.
A year later, I chose to leave the school I left my job for in order to teach these tools full time. Over the last few years, I have used mindfulness, gratitude, growth, connection, and other qualities that make us human to help professionals in the workplace be a more whole version of who they are, and to shape the culture of organizations to meet the needs of the folks who work in them.
Educators and those in the helping professions are at the heart of my work. We need to sustain ourselves to care well for others, and compassion fatigue is real. However, I have also worked with for-profit organizations and given public talks for diverse audiences. Want to know more about me? Check out my bio or click the button below to be the first to get my book.