When you were a kid, did you ever try to squeeze yourself into cardboard boxes? Just to see if you’d fit?
I was always tall (and had some...uh...“baby fat”…) so I would do this, and just as I’d get my last elbow wedged in - the cardboard box would rip, and I’d spill out. I’d laugh and laugh and laugh and move on with my day and giggle anytime I thought about trying to fit into a cardboard box.
That little peek into my childhood antics serves as a pretty darn accurate picture of what I’ve been doing with my life.
I would search and search, “find my path” and start trekking down the road. I’d think to myself, “Yes! This is it. I’ve checked all my boxes, I’ve done all the right things. THIS is how I’m going to live my purpose, be completely fulfilled and find nirvana. (Did you think my goal would be anything short of supremely dramatic? Do you know who I am?)
I’d get all tucked in to my cardboard box and then WHAM!
The side would rip open and my foot would pop out.
And back to square one I would go, trying to figure out what. The. HECK. I. Should. Do. With. My. Life.
I was never meant to fit inside the box. Anyone who knows me, knows this.
I, however, am just finding out.
Despite complete support and encouragement from my parents to be whoever and whatever I wanted to be (thank you mom and dad!), I had nothing to base a non-traditional lifestyle off of. No “north star” to guide my way. And I needed that! Or I thought I did.
It turns out, sometimes you have to be your own compass.
I spent years dreaming big in my cardboard box (with one foot sticking out), making plans and watching them fall to pieces. Always at a loss of understanding just how to achieve the life Eric and I dreamed of.
But here’s the thing, there was a reason for all those seasons. No matter how difficult or heart breaking they were. Every experience I had prepared me and pushed me to become the person I needed to be, to make a change.
And the people along the way, boy did they shape me. They taught me to believe in my creativity, they taught me what it meant to be a dedicated student - to never stop learning. They taught me how to know and fight for my worth and gave me the desire to give back in everything I do. They taught me that honesty goes so much further than anything else. They showed me what good, and not so good, leadership looked like. And most importantly, they showed me that I can survive without a cardboard box. Through all the trials and tribulations, the struggles and successes - I learned how to believe in myself.
It wasn’t until I started truly gaining confidence in my skills and creativity that I felt ready.
And by ready, I mean ready to make the change but still so terrified.
But then, I did it.
I took an Olympic style ski jump off a giant cliff of security and into the arms of complete and utter self-reliance.
And well, here I am. It feels like I’m soaring. I’m with my husband, our dog and our company and we are LIVING our dream. LIVING IT. Popeye, we are not in Kansas anymore...
At this moment, for the first time, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. Exactly what I want. I feel completely energized by every aspect of my role in our company. I’m doing things I hated doing for someone else, and I’m doing them with a smile on my face. Because it’s for us, and I love it all. Will it stay this way? From what I hear - probably not. But right now it is oh. so. good.
Not to take a hard right into Heavy-town, but I've experienced a decent amount of loss over the past few years. And I've learned that there is just no time to waste, folks. We only get one go-round here, so we better start living our dreams. Or at least giving ourselves the chance to try.
Not only will we be better for it, but so will the rest of the world. And if you don’t know what your dream is, if you're confused like I was for so long - start small. Do something that brings you joy, and let that grow.
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It is why you were born and how you become most truly alive”
Fall or fly, it’s worth a try.
LTD (Livin' The Dream) - Christina