I was blazing my own, brand new trail as a brand new CEO. Up until that point, I didn’t know of a time where I felt more alive! It was exciting and invigorating to show up every single day, help this start up company grow and support the amazing people under the roof.
The days were filled with learning opportunities, meetings and growth moments. I thrived in this environment. I finally felt like I found my place in this world.
At night I would go home to my kids, and continue my working day. After bedtime, I would pull a night shift putting in more hours and prepping for the next day. There was a lot to do. It was in those moments alone that I realized how lost and out of place I felt, while also feeling so great about my career.
It took me some time to identify what was going on. Imposter syndrome was rampant BIG time in the dark hours of the night however during the day, I was receiving affirming words of praise and high fives from the company owners and people that I worked closely with then doubt and fear at night.
It felt like false success.
No one knew what I was struggling with internally. No one knew the dialogue that was playing out inside my own head. All they saw was a confident woman, leading the charge and making some exciting moves.
One day, I decided to drive to work without the music playing so I could hear my own thoughts in the light of day. That’s when I realized… I lacked an outside community.
I didn’t have a roadmap, community or coach to help me on my path as a brand new CEO and as a start up company, there was no CEO before me to show me how it’s done. I felt the big lack of connection with other women on their journey as well.
I sought out the local area networking groups to find these women. Meeting after meeting, I would show up eager and ready to meet other women and would leave feeling so disconnected and disappointed.
There were a couple of communities that I tried to make fit, like the stepsisters in Cinderella when they were forcing their feet into the tiny glass slipper. I wanted it so bad! Maybe if I just conform myself this way or that way, this community will be the right one for me!
We all know how the story ends… it’s not your shoe sister. I felt like I lost something I didn’t have. Why was it so hard for me to feel like this is it? This community works well for so many others, why doesn’t it work for me? I felt shame and guilt that a specific group that “should” have been the right fit wasn’t. What is wrong with me?! Why am I being so picky? Why am I ashamed to say “it wasn’t a good fit”?
All anyone wanted was my business card and the chance to pitch me their business.
Nope. Not the community I was looking for.
I don’t fault these communities for it. That is their mission and it works well for them. They are there to sell to each other and make it rain with business cards. It took me a while to figure it out and then be able to speak it but now I can confidently say that is not the type of environment that I want to be in. And guess what? That’s okay.
When I was able to identify what I was looking for… women who want to connect with the person first before the business, it was game on. I traveled out of my area, I drove, I flew, I met, I chatted. It eventually paid off when I found the one! The community that I was looking for and I needed.
That is when everything changed for me.
I was able to have conversations with other women, figuring out their next power play like I was. We were able to share about struggles, celebrate wins, and talk about how they were investing their money.
This community, the one that was a right fit for me, gave me the support system I didn’t realize I was missing. It helped me thrive not only in my career, but in my personal life as well.
It was this experience that helped me realize just how important and life changing having a community is for our success and growth as women; women leading companies, women leading households, women leading businesses, and overall… Women Leading.
It became part of my mission to bring a more accessible community to women out there looking for what I was… connection.
This is one part of the journey you can’t skip ladies. Community will change everything for you on your journey.
What does community mean to you? What has the right (or wrong) community contributed to your life? I’d truly love to know.
Leave us a comment, send us an email, or a message on Instagram. We look forward to having this conversation and building community with you as well.