I had a decent job and I was doing just fine. I didn’t feel particularly stressed, I had time for friends and family and found myself in a generally very supportive environment. For a while I felt I was able to balance work and family.
Being pregnant with my second child things started to change. Telling my boss that I will not return after my maternity leave was a major decision for me. And it wasn’t only about my job, but also other projects. I quit them all. It just did not feel right anymore.
Family is my first priority. But having a career – a meaningful, fun and fulfilling position, that lets me grow and challenges me on a healthy level – is very important for me, too.
Leaving the kids behind for an “ok” job was just not right anymore.
This was where my journey started. I decided to take any steps needed to live a fuller, happier and exciting life and embrace all lessons I needed to learn. This is when I joined DrivenWoman, a women’s only network where women support each other to create the life they want.
Lesson 1. Cut all strings, close all chapters. Let everything go that holds you back.
First I wanted to make sure that my family supports my decision and that we would be safe even if I do not generate a second income. This is where things started to feel weird. Depending fully on my husband’s income with no money on the side was a very new situation and apparently, we are not overly good with money.
(Shame on me, a little bit of pre-planning in financial terms would have been wise. We just went on as usual having unconditional trust in our future. I am not sure if this was naïve, risky or just irresponsible.)
After around 8 months after my son’s birth, I felt the first urge to get out there, to start this journey and discover a new “Me”. A ´me´ that would combine motherhood, a meaningful career, a happy family life, hobbies at its best with as less concessions as possible.
Lesson 2. If you feel the slightest urge that you are ready to go, then GO.
I started looking for Facebook groups to find support on my journey, because I soon figured out, that I can´t do this all on my own; and because my life journey up until now left me with no experience on how to create a functioning career and family life balance. On Facebook I found DrivenWoman and was immediately touched by their actions, their goals, their mission.
It looked like it was the right network that would help me set and achieve my goals. Due to my sub-optimal (or let’s just say awful!) financial management I had zero money to afford the membership so I had to borrow money from my mother! How embarrassing at my age! I was so embarrassed to talk about it. However, I was pretty sure this would be worth it. Turned out it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Lesson 3. Face doubt, embrace shame. It’s all part of the game.
Now, half a year after the first Driven Woman Introduction meeting in Zurich my life has changed dramatically. I have worked intensely on creating a charter for my personal work-life balance, being clearer on my talents, aligning work, parenting, hobbies – all important parts of my life – to my values.
I started reading books that inspire me and gave practical advice that would help me on my mission to create a new me. DrivenWoman was a catalyst and smoothly reinforced my will to reinvent myself: a woman, aware of her needs and values, who takes deliberate decisions and is not satisfied with an average life living within her comfort zone. A woman who wants to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, who wants to dream big and achieve her goals – step by step!
I have found a great job in research now and many other projects and ideas have come up meanwhile. It was like a domino-effect: As soon as I made the first decision, things started to roll from there. Things were falling into place almost magically, and I see myself attracting cool stuff I haven´t encountered before, like co-authoring a book.
Now I am at the point where I even have to stop, to not overload my life. So in the midst of this overflowing abundance of opportunities I keep on reconsidering or reflecting consciously whether I am still on track.
Lesson 4. If you make a right decision, then good things will follow. It’s like magic.
It took me half a year to get where I am now – on the springboard of a new adventure. I do not feel it were the big decisions, but rather the small ones that had the greatest effect on my life, like emptying the dishwasher every morning after breakfast or trying to wear jeans instead of leggings.
But all in all, it was constantly asking questions about my life, my purpose, my structures and habits that kept me committed towards my goal. Through being a member of the DrivenWoman network I started to live a “bigger life” just because I am more present.
Of course, I am just at the very beginning of my journey and I have absolutely no idea what the future looks like; but the big difference is that I am now able to dream about my own future; I can envision a purposeful life that is full of all the things I simply love doing.
And after all, I have found that joy is my highest purpose.
Marisa Tschopp is a DrivenWoman member in Switzerland.