-John C. Maxwell
Let me start by saying I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends after announcing my new passion project, iMoveU. It’s nerve-racking to put yourself out there, and I wasn’t sure what would happen after I shared the idea publicly. I was scared and nervous to share. What if people think it’s stupid? What if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m crazy? What if it fails?
For most of my professional career, I’ve been self conscious and scared to share. I only speak up if I feel comfortable, or if I’m 100% sure everyone will think my idea is brilliant. I’ve been afraid to fail. While I’ve witnessed many of my co-workers have no problems voicing their opinions or ideas, I often times sat in silence with my thoughts hoping no one would call on me.
This self doubt and fear began when I was in college. I remember calling my mom crying the semester before student teaching. I was so nervous, and I didn’t think I could do it. I had a horrible experience with my practicum teacher and she didn’t give me very good reviews. My first (and only) lesson she observed was awful. As I attempted to teach her 9th grade class, I was so nervous my voice trembled, I began to sweat, and I nearly fainted. I’m not sure what I said or did, but I’m pretty sure those 9th graders thought it was awful.
Luckily, my student teaching experience was much better. I was paired with a compassionate and veteran teacher. He let me lead from the first day of school, and by my last day there I was crying as I said goodbye to my 7th graders.
After graduating college, I began my teaching career in Atlanta, GA. I wasn’t a great teacher. I had no idea how to manage my classroom, and I was too scared to ask for help. So I sat in my room and cried almost every day after my students left.
This fear of failure, self doubt and low self-esteem has followed me my entire professional career. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I’ve been comfortable enough to share and show my true colors thanks to a few compassionate leaders. But for most of the past 15 years, I’ve let my fear get in the way. I listened to my inner voice when it told me to stay quiet, that my ideas were dumb, and that I didn’t belong there.
In my personal life, however, I’m fearless. I’m the lone nut, dancing on the dance floor like Elaine from Seinfeld. I don’t care who sees me and I don’t care what they think. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I know who I am. My family and friends love me crazy and all, and laugh with (and at) me.
So for the first time in my professional career, I’m going to be brave. If I want to lead others, I first have to lead myself. For the first time ever, I believe in myself and the impact iMoveU will have on those I love.
As much as I want to take off running full speed ahead with iMoveU, I have a far more important title: Mother. So I’m going to crawl, walk, and then run. I’m going to take the summer slow and spend time with my kids. I’m going to cherish every moment with them and give thanks for this precious gift of time. I’m going to kick some old habits that developed as a result of my fear and self-doubt. (Bad habit #1- comparing myself to other women.) I’m going to look in the mirror when I’m scared and tell myself “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gonnit, people like me!“.
Mark Your Calendar!!
On Sunday, May 11 (Mother’s Day) I will be launching iMoveU with a free 1-hour workshop for families. It will be called “The Gift of Time” and will include a mix of discussion, presentation and a scavenger hunt through downtown Arlington Heights. (Location and time information coming soon!) Any donations will be given to Our Lady of Wayside School, a community that has welcomed me and my family with open arms this past year. I invite you and your families to join me as we celebrate Mother’s Day with the ones we love.
iMoveU isn’t just about exercise and learning. It’s about helping individuals live their best life.
This past week I sketched out my tagline and logo for iMoveU (see image above). I’ll share more background on why I designed it the way I did, but for now I’ll share this: The apple core in the hand of the “i” is in memory of my late cousin Andrew who lost his battle with leukemia as a child. He was first diagnosed with cancer in kindergarten, the same age as my oldest son. I hope the work I do with iMoveU puts a smile on his face as he watches from above. While I can’t heal the hurt and the pain that my family has experienced as a result of this loss, I take comfort knowing that I grew up in the most compassionate, caring, loving, fun, loud, goofy and faithful family because we knew first hand how precious life is. Each moment we spend together as a family is a gift. My hope is that iMoveU will create opportunities for my friends and family to spend more time with the ones they love the most.
Be Brave. Be Better. BE HAPPY.