Learning the value of – ME

I am feeling gratitude. I am feeling blessed.

These last few years been rough – but good. I had to throw my plan out the window – the career I was working  for was crumbling under my feet and I had to spread my wings to fly. I took myself across the country to experience the East Coast. I left everything familiar behind. I sold and stored my belongings – packing my life into my car. This experience was priceless.

I met one of my best friends – without her I would be lost.

I met a colleague, with whom I have endless conversations about the demise of our industry and our passions and visions for ourselves. He has been an indispensable resource.

I drove from Wisconsin to New York. Then From New York to Texas. Then Texas to Minnesota. In search of something that I did not know. I ultimately found it in Wisconsin.

Recently, during a discussion with my colleague – who is currently in Ohio, it occurred to me that I was in search of my value. MY value. I had to drive quite a ways, but I found it.

The things I learned

There are countless things that I learned. But there are several that have been ‘life-changing.’ I love how I can look back on my difficult times and see how they are blessings. I can remember dealing with knee pain and surgeries, thinking: why, why, WHY? But today, I am a much better trainer and coach because of that experience. I am much more invested in injury prevention, knowing the struggles of the aftermath. I wouldn’t exchange the years of pain for anything! But, what did my cross-country journey teach me?

I learned how to build and maintain relationships.

I learned to be confident in what I know.

I learned who my true friends are – some of this was very painful.

I learned how to let go.

I learned to enjoy downtime – something that otherwise had made me anxious.

I learned to be slow to talk (ok, so I am still working on this one).

I learned to stand up for what I believe in – this was moreso solidified.

I learned what my dietary needs were – and that I had fine-tuned my body far better than I had realized.

I learned that you can call yourself an expert, and very few will no whether you are or not.

I learned that the people in Texas really ARE the friendliest people you will ever meet.

I learned that I have a strong Wisconsin accent – although most of those telling me this had never met a true midwesterner – so they may be in for a shocker someday.

I learned how to say when enough is enough.

I learned MY VALUE.

The bottomline

I was called back to my home state. The former clients who have been displaced. I could not turn my back to the plethora of opportunities: writing, training, coaching, business development, corporate wellness, and MORE!

What is my value? I cannot quite put it into words. But I know that I offer something that very few do. When asked who my local competition is, I can confidently say: NO ONE. No one else does what I do, how I do it.

And that feels good.

Packing up life and shoving it into a car

Packing. It can be an art. Or it can be haphazard. And it can definitely be a skill. And this skill, is definitely one I acquired from my mother – who had to pack 7 people into a station wagon for trips to our grandparents’ house.

This past May I decided to pack up my life and shove it into my car. I was leaving Wisconsin and headed to New York for 3 months, but prepared to perhaps never return to Wisconsin. Sure, that big picture is a little scary, but let’s focus on the packing my life in my car temporarily and for current purposes. And why the word shove? Because I shoved as much as possible into the trunk to be out of sight during travel.

I allowed myself 2 suitcases for clothes – one of which became half shoes. I also had a bag with a weekend’s worth of clothes for the road trip. That part of the packing was EASY!! Books – now packing books was hard. I have a library of resources and a queue of 20+ books that I have yet to read. Which would I need and want? (Every time that I move my brother jokes with me that I have too many boxes of rocks labeled ‘books’ and I ought to do something with them.) I spent days packing and sorting, changing my mind on books and repacking, finally settling the chosen books (including 3 Bibles) into a plastic container and placing it in the trunk. I also created a box of ‘runnerups’ for storage labeled “Books Most Wanted” in case I decided I needed them shipped to me.

I had great difficulty leaving my stuff behind. I might want my photo albums, my sewing box, my lamps, or my food scale. I might want my markers for a project. My Post-It notes, highlighters, binders…oh what if?And my hats, one green, brown, white, black… It goes on and on. And when it came down to it, I wound up with a lot of stuff in my car, but I put a lot more of it into storage and I haven’t been left for want.

I look at some of what I did make room for in my car. My personal label maker. Don’t leave home without it! This is symbolic of my need for organization and structure. My memory box, with running medals and old journals. This gives me something from which to draw positive energy. I packed my pillows, a soft blanket, and a stuffed hippo – indicative of my need for comfort and warmth. Three travel coffee mugs. Perhaps I’m an addict? I packed a back up cell phone, a spare car key, and petty cash. Do I have to say that I am a proactive thinker who is prepared for the worst? I also packed a ton of starfish – I always have starfish on hand in case I need one…

Now…let’s look a little at what I don’t have. I didn’t make a list of emergency contacts – numbers are in my phone or no where at all. I didn’t pack my diplomas or certifications. I didn’t pack any photos or frames. I didn’t pack any pumps – or closed-toe shoes of any kind for that matter. And a bunch of THINGS that I don’t remember that I have.

What would you pack if you had to pack your entire life into a car? What, if anything, does this say about you?