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Gotta give it to keep it

Before he died, Richard used to say to me, “you gotta give it to keep it”. It’s why he was so committed to AA and believed in sponsors. It was his way of staying on track with his own journey of recovery.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day fighting through tears. A lot of reasons why. Reasons we can talk about another time in ways that are constructive to others in their path. Nonetheless, this should have been an amazing week. PTO, R&R, space and energy to do some self-compassion and the self-work I really wanted to do, along with an energy boost from an award that I am still scratching my head a little bit about receiving. I knew I needed the time off, so I scheduled and planned it. Everything was in line to be perfect. Yet it didn’t turn out to be that week, in fact not at all. Instead, it was stress filled from very real external factors (some of which I allowed and caused, I am in no way innocent, some of which I didn’t). Issues escalating internally because that’s what happens when we delay our self-care, resulting in me calling what my team has coined, "pumpernickel", our stress level safe word which means stop everything and breathe. We all have these moments from time to time. They key is to call it early enough.

Yesterday, I woke up hearing Liz’s voice saying, “I can do all the EMDR in the world, but unless X changes, the effects of EMDR won't last very long”. Aka, if you continue to put yourself in a situation that is X, it will continue to have X effects on you. It seems like such an obvious concept, right? Like of course! This is not rocket surgery. Unfortunately, navigating that in work, home, and life is not so easy. Not when you’ve had a lifetime of certain experiences, not when you see things so clearly others can’t see, and not when you are on your own internal journey of recovery and growth.

So, what do you do? How do you navigate when you are exposed to those things that you can't do anything to stop? How do you keep yourself together? Stop, intervene with self-care, process through with trusted friends, tap, breathe, repeat.

Today I woke up and had a conversation with a young budding HR leader. She was seeking advice about interviewing for a role she is super excited about. She is so far advanced from the people around her that she questions her own thinking because no one, “gets it”. She is new and learning. All I knew about her was what her father told me in about 2 texts, we had never met or spoken before today.

So I wake up, brew my 3 cups of black coffee, smack my face a little, and prepare to talk to this young women whom I very much want to help. I like her dad and I dig talking to people early in their career. There is so much insight from their mindset that it helps me do my job, and it’s usually fun.

Today was different. I don’t know if it was because of the energy I could hear in her from simply talking to someone who understands and validates her, or if it was the fun we had talking HR stories as only HR people can. Whatever it was, it was what I needed. In that moment, when I could feel that energy shift in her, and the empowerment I knew was coming next, that right there, is it. And instantly I'm grounded right back to purpose.

I was powerfully reminded how sharing experiences, challenges, vulnerabilities, successes can be. How meaningful it is to show confidence and believe in someone who does not fully believe in themselves. The energy that comes from knowing that you never thought you'd be that person who was changing lives in the ways people changed yours. And by doing so, you hold onto your own journey of recovery, enlightenment, and success, however it is personally defined.

That is my true north. Doing that for the people in my life, first and foremost, my kids. Being capable of and in a position to do so, and then helping others to do the same. As I reflect on Women’s History Month, and all the people who have invested that kind of time, energy, and compassion into me throughout my life, I am grateful. And to the young woman with whom I spoke to this morning, thank you. You gave much more to me in that conversation than you realize. And you my friend, are going to crush it.

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