I am a mother of two and also a woman who appreciates the sense of victory in climbing the corporate ladder. From the time that my first child was born through the growth of our second child, I overcame seizures, speech delays and asthma while climbing the corporate ladder. But despite the competitor hidden within, my children relying and depending on my presence for each possible moment was important to me. So, I juggled my schedule to make doctor appointments, parent-teacher meetings, sports practice, games, school trips, late-night baking for in school birthday parties, planning extravagant kids birthday parties and having a strict family schedule at home (cooking meals, family night, date night with my husband). In addition to the juggling my two roles as competitor and mother, I had a two-hour commute, worked 10 to 12 hours each day and was pursuing my MBA.
I was not willing to give up on my dream to move up the corporate ladder because it meant having a better lifestyle for us as a family. Even if it meant being burnt out. I was willing to keep burning the candle at both ends. What I did not anticipate was the challenges that came with life and how much they would impact me -- so much so that a shift would come. And when this shift came, it literally knocked me down. I knew that I had to live and I could not miss another moment of life.
Driven by my dream and ambition, I continued to pursue my goal of climbing up the ladder. I operated under the idea that I was invincible and that I could overcome everything and keep going towards this goal. Then, it happened. The foundation under me was broken and I was left trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to rebuild it after my son was hit by a car and his femur (thigh bone) was shattered into pieces. Since there was no bone left, metal rods were inserted into his leg. Due to the shock, his blood pressure steadily stayed high and we were told that not only he had to take pain medication, he also had to take medication to lower his blood pressure. There were the scary moments in the hospital during the surgeries where we wondered if he would survive due to his blood pressure. Thankfully, he survived, and today, he is able to participate in any sport and is 6'4".
I was not ready to lose my son, who was only 11 years old at the time. And when you are faced with the possibility of losing the child you carried, nursed, watched grow, kissed away the "boo boos" and dreamed about his possibilities, it changes things. Your whole view of life changes.
There was a financial toll due to the time off I had to take to make sure my son got better. It also affected my health, as I didn't think of taking care of myself at the time. It wasn't until after the accident and my son had recovered that I realized something was wrong. Apparently, working all of those years with long hours and a two-hour commute had a toll on my health. My vision started to get blurry, I started having migraines and fainted almost daily. Of course, because I was a workaholic, I didn't take this too seriously. I finally visited the emergency room one day and found out that my blood pressure was dangerously high and that I had been having mini-strokes. Even then I tried to rationalize that I could keep going with the same routine but when I started to have a stroke right in the hospital bed, I realized that this was it. No matter how much I wanted to continue climbing up the corporate ladder, it came with severe consequences. I had to make a decision then. Do I want to die trying to reach the next rung, or do I want to live? At that moment, I chose life.
Having a new lease on life, working with doctors and nutritionists, I completely changed my diet, started a daily exercise routine and cut down on my hours at work. I was told that I would have hypertension (high blood pressure) for the rest of my life and would have to take medication. After one year on this strict routine, I recovered.
What kept me going was perseverance. When you hear your inner voice crying for you to stop because it's too hard, ignore it and keep moving. I discovered that I had been living a life according to what other's believed was the norm. I learned that every experience is part of the journey and realized that my journey was my life's purpose.
There are some beautiful souls out there created to encourage and empower. They spend a lot of time limiting their self-expression because of their circumstances.They seek validation at times in fear of being wronged or hurt. I realized after spending time meditating and reevaluating my life that I wanted to help women bring their courage to surface. I wanted to help them to stop seeking validation and allow themselves to be authentic. After going through my experiences, I have come to realize the importance of listening to your inner voice, speaking your truth, and what it means to stop letting your situation define who you are. What I know for sure is that you must give yourself the permission to emerge and thrive to make life beautiful for you.