So, I’m reading a new book called Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown.
One of my business bestie recommended it during our check in.
We were both talking about the pivots we were making in our businesses and I shared a recent shift I was making in mine.
My business, Truly POC has almost exclusively served educators with leadership support and culturally responsive teacher training and DEI workshops.
However, I’d be shifting to include coaching other kinds of change-makers to navigate their life’s purpose— whatever that purpose may be.
Although I could feel myself light up at this idea, it also felt new and a bit uncomfortable to share.
I felt some fear.
What was on my mind?
I wondered if I’d be abandoning my passion for equity in education, by making the shift to coaching women and change-makers to navigate their purpose.
I also wondered if those closets to me would think I was having a mid-life crisis (yup, I’ll be 40 in a few months) for wanting to move on from my superintendent identity.
Clearly, comfort leads to conditioning— not a good thing.
But, let’s go back in time.
I’ve been a covert career coach since 2001.
Back in college, I would advise new education students who didn’t want to wait in line for their counselors, with much needed insight on the classes to take and when.
My advising was so on point that once faculty got wind this, they gave me a quiet nod of appreciation and let me continue.
Not to mention, even today, my friends often come to me for help navigating career moves, work conflicts, and life changes.
I’ve even coached my husband through at least 3 career leaps. A huge perk to marrying me!
But here’s a another interesting Ah-Ha Moment…
Last summer, I accidentally met a medium/pastor.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking— what in the oxymoron is that!?
Well, this medium/pastor offered me a free reading because of the unique way that we met (which is story for another time).
Instead of running for the hills, I said— Sure! (Don’t be judgy!)
I had growing curiosity about my new and successful business, and if I’m being honest, I wasn’t talking to God as regularly as I am now.
So I said yes… and then dropped to my knees for forgiveness, just in case this was NOT a divine intervention.
The medium/pastor was really kind and graceful, but did hit me with the realness about a few minutes into her reading.
She said that she understood my fears and frustrations about shifts and changes I was feeling in my heart. She said that these feelings of misalignment was because of a higher calling on my life, and that my work would be shifting from education to career and life coaching.
BINGO! Miss Cleo confirmed my discomfort!
Ok— now, I'm being silly.
RIP Miss Cleo.
However, the medium/pastor was right on, and you could only imagine my shock.
Although I was helping educators implement culturally responsive teaching practices, I was easily much more than that while working with them.
I was a safe space. I was clarity and direction.
There was so much more that these teachers and school leaders were dealing with— depression, sorrow, complete burnout, grief, fear, loss— personal loss, loss of passion, and stress of horrible bosses.
I mean, they were dealing with their own “Covid slide” and much like the Covid learning loss we see in our students, this was not fixing itself in a summer, either.
But for sure, this medium/pastor was hitting a cord with me. She was right on the money with how I was feeling.
I had to trust that God was leading me to a new pathway.
My call with the medium/pastor lasted no more than 30 minutes. Afterwards, I sat in the car and thought, was I just on the phone with a crazy person?
So, What Happened Next?
I just tucked that conversation away and let it go.
I decided to get into my own conversation with God so that I can could hear from Him, myself.
God and I got to talking much more regularly, but that relationship grew even stronger during 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
I also lost 10 pounds— Look At God!
Those deep conversations led to an inner shift.
During this time, I was sent two career coaching clients. I helped them completely transform and both are now in new careers with more purpose! It felt wonderful!
Even after I was tested with helping two women find work and life success, I could still feel a twinge of fear for the unknown lingering throughout my body.
Why do we fear the unknown so much?
Is it because it’s something new— and we can’t see how all the different parts will work together as a system?
As I put my systems leader hat on— one that I wore often transforming schools— I’m reminded of the research on how systems work.
Margret Wheatley, author, scientist, and expert on change and transformational, says that the strength of a system is measured by the strength of the relationships between those operating the system.
In other words, systems work best when the relationship between those working the system is also strong, tight, and bonded well together.
It works, not because the process is flawless; and not because there are zero kinks in the system; and not because there are no flubs from human error.
The reason why systems work best when those working the system are well connected, is because of trust.
Trust is always at the center of a strong relationship, and therefore at the center of a working system.
When there’s trust and admiration for our partners— there’s also an unstated expectation that we’re in this together, and that we’ll make it work, regardless.
The trust we have in our system partners and the trust we have in ourselves becomes critical to how well the system works.
How does this relate to oneself.
To move past my fear and discomfort, I had to check in with my systems partner.
My systems partner in this work is GOD.
I had to get in deeper connection with Him because he and I were co-creation, and as long as I was trusting Him, I would be led in the right direction no matter what happened.
Remember, if we fear the unknown because we don’t know how things will work. We simply need check in with our systems partners (no matter what that system may be) and make sure our systems are being ran alongside those we trust.
I do trust God, and because I trust God, I can trust myself.
So, I poured into readings on emergent strategies.
This book quickly reminded me of the work I already know how to do— which is transform schools!
To transform a large district with 10,000+ students, I had to make small, important, intentional, and replicable leadership actions— over and over again with consistency— until those actions become the glue for real, sticky and momentous change across many.
The book helped me realize that the passion I have for equity and better belonging— the passion I was fearful of abandoning— will live within my work now and forever.
I am still transforming the world, and that matters to me.
My mission for equity and better belonging will still be happening, well after I shift to coaching women entrepreneurs to unlock their greatest potential and life’s purpose!
Now I’ll be able to help more people!
You will have access to working with me and I’ll be able to engage in group coaching sessions with you! That’s something that only schools had access to before.
You now have someone in your corner who knows what it feels like to pivot.
I’ve been in your shoes, and heck— I even talked to a medium/pastor in the midst of it all.
I’ve had to grieve an old vision of myself. It was a long process.
However, grieving has revealed a greater purpose in my life.
You can do this too. I’ll walk right alongside you.
Cheers to you pivot, girl!