Slowing down – or even getting off the treadmill entirely – was never in the cards for me. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 16, and I have always loved the thrill of the deal. I also loved the work I was able to do as a marketer. But as we all know, life happens. And in 2019, life hit me really hard and very close to home. I started the year in what I can now define as a pretty dark depression. I didn’t really know what I was so depressed about, but I just knew I was grieving something very difficult, very painful, and very personal. Only my very best friends knew about this, and their advice was always the same: you need a break.
But I couldn’t really afford to take a break and by the spring, I was (I thought) back to normal. By the summer, I was in my busiest season, teaching at Wharton and running our agency projects. My entire family was planning a trip to Florida to celebrate my sister’s 35th birthday when we were hit with really sobering news. My dad was in heart failure, and we’d have some pretty serious decisions to make as a family.
By this point, my friends had convinced me to take a sabbatical. It really was the perfect time. I was able to spend time with my dad during his surgery and recovery, and I got to travel. When I was in Yellowstone National Park, I made a life-defining decision. I was going to close my agency and pursue content creation full-time. I was known for being an entrepreneur, but my real passion has always been writing for tween girls and my book series Mackenzie Blue. With my Audible deal finalized (all of the books launch on Audible on 1/28), I could spend some time focusing on a complete reboot of that brand, and bring to life several others.
I am just halfway through, but here’s what I’ve learned:
- Listen to your body. It sounds simple, but my body was telling me something in my darkest days, early in 2019. I was no longer in alignment with my life’s purpose and while my body recognized that, I mentally wasn’t there yet.
- You can do so much more by doing less. When I cleared the calendar, time opened up for so much more. I could have deeper conversations, be fully present, indulge in a book…spend an entire day tracking a grizzly bear. Every conversation with a friend inspired me and I was able to pursue things that really mattered to me.
- When you get clear about what you want, the Universe conspires to bring it to you. This is an absolute fact. As my dad would say, “without vision, there is no provision.” I am amazed at the doors that have opened up as I explore a more creative career. It is really scary to communicate our desires because we’re not always sure they’ll be met. But it’s something we have to find the courage to do. I can tell you that there is a lot of freedom on the other side.
I’ve gained a lot of clarity on my future since I took a step back, and I am really grateful for it. I’m grateful for this tribe of amazing women, and this year I am focused on creating ways for us to meet, build, and engage more often. My vision for Elevation Tribe has always been to create content, community, and experience for women of color who want to launch, grow and lead companies. My team has done an amazing job with the content, and this year we are focused on creating community and experiences. Post-sabbatical, it’s one of the things I will be focused on bringing to life.
What are you focused on in 2020? Reply to this note. I can’t wait to hear from you.