Reflections and Learnings on My Five-Year Menttium Anniversary
My kids have one of those Magic 8 Balls. They ask questions about their future and wait anxiously to see the response: “it is certain,” “don’t count on it,” and “outlook does not look good.” As an adult, I often wonder what it would be like if we could know the future before it happens and look backwards rather than forward. Almost six years ago, I took a leap of faith. I left my corporate job and took a pause (well, as much of a pause as one can take with a newborn and 5-year-old). I decided to take a break and be intentional about my purpose, my goals, and the life I wanted to design. How I would have loved a Magic 8 Ball at that moment to let me know what the future would hold and that it would all be ok. And yet here I sit on my five-year anniversary with Menttium, reflecting on the journey and what I have learned.
It was serendipity that brought me to Menttium five years ago. A vision, a hope, a purpose, a networking coffee, a connection to Menttium CEO, Lynn Sontag, many discussions, and the rest is history. It’s amazing how when we open ourselves up to possibility, doors open. In the Art of Possibility, Benjamin Zander writes, “In the measurement world, we set a goal and try to achieve it. In the universe of possibility, we set the context and let life unfold.” That really summarizes my journey with Menttium and on my five-year anniversary, I would like to share a few reflections.
1) You have just ONE life
One of my mentors told me many years ago when I was struggling with an antiquated definition and impossible goal to achieve the lucrative “work-life balance” that we all get just ONE life. She looked me in the eyes and said, “You have just one life; how do you want to live it?” That simple statement and simple question reframed my entire notion of work and motherhood as I vacillated between achieving career goals and having the time and space to be a mom. I began to imagine the possibility of designing a life that would allow me to both fulfill my career aspirations and have a full life in so many other areas like motherhood and family. Design your lives with intention and as the protagonist in your own story.
2) Believe in YOURSELF
From a very young age, I put a lot of pressure on myself. “Achiever” is my #1 strength according to Strengths Finder. A relentless drive to “succeed” manifested very early on for me. With that drive and high expectations of myself came anxiety and worry. This worry would stay with me into high school, college, and my adult life. There are particular high points and low points I can recall in my career, and some of those low points were a result of losing confidence and belief in myself. Feeling like I wasn’t smart enough, capable enough, qualified enough…you get the point. Going through some of those tough moments, along with support and love from family, friends, colleagues, and mentors I realized some very important lessons: Don’t seek external validation to define your success, surround yourself with people who want to lift you up and see you succeed, and be unapologetic about your choices.
3) The world is filled with really PHENOMENAL people
With all the negativity in the world and horrible tragedies that have occurred in the last two years alone, it’s easy to fall into a trap of pessimism. Yet when I come to work every day, I see the good in people – my team, our clients, our mentors + mentees. Every single day I am humbled and inspired by people all around me investing in people, building people up to help them thrive. Every day I have colleagues who make me laugh, have my back, and genuinely want to help me be successful and happy. I connect with mentors from our incredible mentor network who genuinely commit their time and energy to develop others, and I hear stories regularly from our mentees about how “life-changing” their mentoring experiences are personally and professionally. Find the good in people and surround yourself with positivity.
While some days I still would really appreciate having a Magic 8 Ball to help me see the future, I try to live in the present each day and live with intention. Don’t ever let a company, a person, a circumstance decide your fate. I am so grateful my unknown path led me to Menttium and the incredible opportunity to pursue my passions, live into my potential, connect with inspiring people, and share my talents to help make a difference in peoples’ lives. As Brene Brown said, “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” I decided to walk inside my story, and I encourage everyone to pause and reflect on what it will take to walk inside yours!