2023 recap: how personal challenges have shaped my professional vision

2023 Recap: How Personal Challenges Have Shaped My Professional Vision

leadership life Dec 08, 2023

As we stand on the brink of another year, it feels like the perfect moment to pause and reflect. 

The past year has been a transformative journey, not just for me personally, but for The Daring Fempreneur too. 2023 has been a year marked by deep introspection, unexpected twists, and a journey back to myself and the essence of my brand. 

I feel it’s important to share this with you so you know what’s coming in The Daring Fempreneur, and to share my story in case you find yourself somewhere similar wondering how you’re going to get through it. This blog post is my heart laid bare, a compilation of my story and my healing from the past year and a sneak peek into what's brewing for the future.

The Journey 

This story starts last year, when I turned 39 and found myself in the deepest, darkest depression I’d ever experienced. This wasn't just about aging; it was an existential crisis that shook the very foundations of my identity and touched every single part of me. I remember countless days and nights, curled up under the blankets in a dark, silent room, feeling an overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation. This period of my life was marked by a deep internal struggle, one centered around a decision that had tormented me throughout my 30s – the decision of whether or not to become a mother.

For years I struggled to find clarity through societal expectations and internal dialogues – “what if you regret this decision?” “what’s wrong with you?” “why don’t you want to be a mother?” – I could not find the answers I was looking for, and despite wanting to want it, the longing to become a mother just never happened for me. 

I felt like I was waiting for a revelation that never came. As I inched closer to 40, the pressure to make a decision intensified, leading me to enroll in a motherhood clarity course, which, instead of providing the clarity I thought I wanted, plunged me deeper into depression and internal reflection, forcing me to confront the most painful aspects of my childhood and relationships that I hadn't fully acknowledged before.

Simultaneously, I was dealing with similar hormonal imbalances that I had my whole adult life. I had always managed to stay afloat with the support of my medical team, but during this time my functional medicine doctor actually shut down her practice, and I was left in limbo until I could find someone else to step in. Once I found a new doctor, a new revelation came too – my FSH levels were that of a menopausal woman. Not only was I in premature menopause, but this was also the end of my reproductive choice. The choice to become a mother or not was no longer mine. And while it might seem like this would be somehow comforting, the decision being made for me, it was a really bitter pill to swallow. All of this unleashed a whirlwind of emotions, from the grief of a choice taken away to the fear of what this meant for my health and future.

This news also brought an unexpected realization – for the first time in my life, I felt old. The ticking clock of not only my fertility but also my mortality, which I had managed to ignore for so long, suddenly became deafeningly loud. The sense of urgency, the fear of missed opportunities, and the finality of certain life choices left me feeling like I had somehow failed myself.

Parallel to these personal battles, my business, which had been my life's work and passion, began to feel more like a burden than a source of fulfillment. For years, it had been my 'baby,' my purpose, and my priority. But now, devoid of inspiration and direction, it contributed to my sense of aimlessness. 

I felt trapped in a binary choice: either be a successful entrepreneur OR a devoted mother. Unable to see a worthy path beyond these two options, and feeling disconnected from both of them at the time, my self-worth plummeted, leaving me questioning my value and purpose.

This period of my life was a stark contrast to the 'young, vibrant entrepreneur' image I had always identified with. Facing the reality of life's finite nature, I began to question the very essence of my existence and the choices I had made. What truly mattered? What was the point of it all if the paths I had laid out for myself no longer seemed viable or fulfilling?

This chapter of my life was marked by profound sadness, confusion, and a feeling of being utterly lost. Yet, it was also the beginning of a journey towards rediscovery, healing, and ultimately, transformation. 

I’m not sharing this story for pity or recognition, I’m sharing this because it’s an important part of my journey. I want to share how I overcame it in case you find yourself somewhere similar, and because this is the foundation of the changes I’ll be making in my business in 2024. 

The Healing 

Emerging from this darkness wasn’t an overnight miracle – far from it. It was a gradual, slow process that required constant effort, resilience when I was at my weakest, and a willingness to do the hard work and explore the uncharted territories of my inner psyche. There were three critical components that allowed me to come out on the other side of such a deep depression. 

Medical Support

The first step was seeking medical help. I found a new doctor who introduced me to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. This treatment was a game-changer for me. It was as if someone had suddenly turned on the lights after years of fumbling around in the dark. This therapy brought a profound shift in my physical and emotional well-being, providing a solid foundation for further healing.

Delving into Plant Medicine and Inner Work

Simultaneously, I ventured into the world of plant medicine. This path led me deep into my subconscious, revealing hidden corners of my mind that I never knew existed. It was here that I discovered various aspects of myself that had been subtly influencing my decisions and behaviors all these years. This introspection wasn't about blaming or pointing fingers; it was about understanding and healing. It was about recognizing patterns formed over the past 39 years and learning to let go of those which no longer served me.

This journey also entailed revisiting and healing past relationships that had shaped my worldview. I learned to see these relationships in a new light, understanding their impact without directly confronting or blaming anyone involved. It was a delicate balance, but one that was necessary for my growth.

This year, through this work, I realized that my entire adult life had been a reaction. The way I started and grew my business was so full-on, trying to portray money and success, striving to be a brand that people looked at and thought, “wow, she really has it all!” But this wasn’t me. This was not my truth, and it was time to find a new way. 

Finding Inspiration in Similar Stories

During this period, I came across Dr. Anna Cabeca, whose story mirrored mine. Diagnosed with menopause at 39, she had not only recovered but had also developed a lifestyle protocol that resonated deeply with me. Her KetoGreen 16 plan became a vital part of my healing journey. The clarity, energy, and focus it brought to my life were unparalleled. It was a reminder that sometimes, the right guidance, combined with the right tools can make all the difference. 

The Personal Outcome

Reflecting back on this journey after coming out on the other side feels a little surreal. There was a time I was truly at my rock bottom, feeling directionless and completely stripped of my self worth and confidence, but all of this brought a remarkable transformation into my life (and business). 

Going through this was far from easy. There were countless moments where it seemed like it might be easier to just bury my struggles and move on with life as it was – but, I chose to face it head on. I knew deep down that true growth and healing would only come from facing these challenges, not avoiding them. 

It was through this deep personal work and introspection that I was able to unravel and uncover some of the things in my subconscious that had been running my life without me even knowing it. It allowed me to pinpoint the things I no longer wanted to carry with me, no longer wanted to guide my path. 

Gradually, and then all at once, something shifted. After the darkest year of my life, a new sense of hope and inspiration took root. Looking back, the contrast from where I am today to where I was one year ago is astounding. 

Through the deep inner work, I came to a life-changing realization: my self-worth is not, and should never be, contingent on my achievements, whether in business or in personal decisions like motherhood. My value is inherent in who I am, not what I do.

This realization was completely liberating! It freed me from the pressures of living up to certain roles or expectations that society places on us, that I had placed on myself. 

One of the most beautiful outcomes of this year has been the deepening of my friendships. Despite running a business with a strong community aspect, I had previously felt a sense of loneliness – which had absolutely nothing to do with the incredible women in my community, and everything to do with the walls I built around myself. I believed that being a leader meant maintaining a certain distance. But I've since learned that true leadership and connection come from dissolving barriers, not building them. Now, I am able to enjoy the pure joy of being surrounded by friends who are more like family – people who see and love me through both the joyous and challenging times.

As I continue to grow, I am committed to allowing myself to fully embrace joy, play, and pleasure – these are areas I'm still exploring and nurturing. The sense of peace, contentment, and happiness that now fills my days is a testament to the power of self-reflection, resilience, and the courage to face one's innermost fears and desires. This journey has been a profound reminder of the importance of staying true to oneself and nurturing connections that bring genuine fulfillment and joy. There’s no other way to grow than to find your truth. 

📌⬇︎PIN IT⬇︎📌

The Business Outcome

After about a year of introspection, healing, and doing the hard work, a flicker of inspiration ignited. Through that difficult year, my business had taken a back seat as I navigated through the personal challenges I was experiencing, maintaining only the essentials to keep my business afloat. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, I knew I didn’t want to completely shut it down, but I couldn’t force a decision during that time, so The Daring Fempreneur essentially went into idle mode. 

That initial spark gradually evolved into a blazing fire of creativity and purpose, reigniting the passion I had for my business and showing me a clear path of where I wanted it to go! 

Throughout the past 12+ years of my business, my work has been extensive and varied – from organizing and facilitating live events for women entrepreneurs, to offering done-for-you services in branding and website design. However, I’ve discovered that while I’m good at it, my true passions do not lie in these project management roles, which is why I’ve decided to phase them out of my business. 

Where I’ve decided to focus my attention instead, is in my branding with archetypes work. Brand archetypes have been a tool in my toolbox for many years, but as I looked at the entirety of my business and all its moving parts, this is the one part that got me really excited.  

I’ve always admired frameworks that help us understand the world, ourselves, and each other – think human design, enneagram, astrology, numerology, etc. This is where my inspiration thrives. And archetypes are a similar tool we can use to build brands and businesses that are deeply aligned with our truth and purpose.

With this renewed sense of clarity around my work, I’m now immersed in a sea of creative inspiration. Yet, I’m also conscious of the delicate balance between this surge of inspiration and the potential for overwhelm. 

The excitement of new ideas and the eagerness to bring them to fruition can be intoxicating, but it also poses the risk of overextending myself. This is where the importance of slowing down and creating space becomes evident.

Slow Down Sundays have become a sacred practice for me, a reminder to embrace spaciousness in both my personal and professional life. They are a conscious effort to prevent the descent into the abyss of constant ‘doing’ that leads to burnout and resentment. This practice is a commitment to enjoying the journey, taking each step mindfully, and nurturing my emotional and physical well-being along the way.

The outcome of this tumultuous year is not just a rekindled passion for my work but also a deeper understanding of my own needs and boundaries. It’s a testament to the power of pausing, reflecting, and aligning my actions with my truest self. As I move forward, I carry with me the lessons of this year – to cherish the process, prioritize self-care, and embrace the ebb and flow of inspiration and creativity. This journey has been a profound reminder that the most impactful work stems from a place of balance and true alignment with one’s inner self.

What’s Coming Next?

As I stand at a natural end point of this story, looking back at where I’ve come from and ahead to the unfolding path before me, I feel a clear sense of exhilaration, of purpose. This has by far been the hardest year of my life, but it has led me to clarity on where I’m taking my business. So, here’s a little bit of what’s coming. 

Phasing Out Networking

Throughout the entirety of my business, networking and relationships have been central to everything I’ve done. However, I have made the decision to phase out networking that is happening just for the sake of networking, to make space for something that feels more aligned with my purpose moving forward. I do hope to bring back community gatherings in some form in the future of my business, but I’m not yet clear on what that looks like quite yet.

It’s really important to me that you know, this decision isn’t because I haven’t cherished every moment and every connection – it’s actually the opposite. My community has been my rock, my inspiration, a constant source of inspiration. Even in those moments of my self-imposed isolation, I have always felt the warmth and love of this incredible community. It’s my deepest hope that we get to continue this new journey together. 

Conscious Decision Making

The path forward requires a conscious slowing down, a mindful selection of where to invest my energy and time. Life and business are mazes of endless paths, and it's essential to prioritize those which resonate the most with our souls. For me, now, this means focusing on health, wellness, friends, community, and work that genuinely ignites my spirit.

The decision-making process isn't without its challenges and emotions. Every path chosen means another path left unexplored, and with it, a period of grieving for what might have been. But such is the nature of growth and evolution – it's about embracing the journey, with all its twists, turns, and lessons.

Branding With Archetypes

Looking forward, I'm thrilled to dive deeper into the world of brand archetypes, eventually becoming the go-to person for entrepreneurs when they want to build a brand that isn’t just noticed, but remembered, a brand that deeply resonates with authenticity and truth.  

I plan to weave archetypes even more intricately into everything I do, creating a rich, multifaceted process that truly captures and creates a resonant brand. I’m particularly excited to eventually bring back 1:1 work, retreats, workshops, group coaching, and of course to offer my archetype-based brand bundles which I’ve been passionately creating for the past two years.

While all of this is unfolding, my Impact Tribe membership will still be the best place to work with me … to receive access to my branding courses, group coaching, brand bundles and more.

As I look towards 2024, my heart is brimming with ideas and possibilities. There's so much I'm eager to share and explore with you!

This journey is more than just a professional pivot; it's a celebration of coming home to myself and a mission to help others do the same through the power of brand archetypes. 

I’m so grateful to be experiencing this together, as we create brands that are not just seen but felt, not just recognized but deeply connected with the hearts and souls of the people we want to serve. The future is bright, and I'm so grateful to have you by my side as we step into this exciting new era.

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