She was two weeks late, and we handed her an eviction notice. Six weeks later, she handed me her own kind of notice. I looked at her and got a wordless but clear message, “Don’t walk a path that you know you don’t want to travel.” I turned in my resignation notice.
My husband and I decided I had a year to turn the wobbly legs of my freelance career solid. I learned to walk alongside my daughter; because of her.
I was reminded of the fiercest parts of me– the independence, the desire to go my own way, the love and drive I have for the art of writing, the craving for the craft of thinking strategically. Where before I saw self-employment as a stop-gap that would allow me to enjoy my children’s first years, I now saw much more– a lifestyle, a career that truly fit, and limitless possibility.
He was so cuddly, and would sleep on my chest while I wrote. I was fueled by both the warmth of his tiny body and the knowing that I was done having kids, that from this point on I would be moving forward into a different part of motherhood, one that wasn’t necessarily “easier”, but that would require less drain on my body and mind. I was moving ahead into the years where they would go to school, where my career would have more space to burst into bloom.
I was motivated by the idea that I could begin to lay that foundation now. I had started to surround myself with more amazing mamapreneurs, and the whole idea of a community of women blazing a different trail lit me up. I was motivated by the idea that we were doing this together, and not just for us but for our daughters and sons and what would be possible for their careers and families, someday.
I am motivated by a vision of the life that I want. I see something better, something completely in alignment with who I am, and that’s where I find the strength to take the leaps to get where I want to go.
I have tried many things along the way, and have realized that my success or failure is not as dependent on how hard I work, but more on how much what I’m working for is aligned with who I truly am and what I really want.
I used to think those two desires conflicted, even that my longing for the old-fashioned simplicity of days spent mothering detracted from my professional motivations. Over time I’ve learned to let them live in delicate balance, side-by-side, back-and-forth, one fueling the other.
I’ve amended my notions about what role motivation plays in my life and career, and how it all fits together. Have you ever done a balance pose in yoga, wobbling as you hold it? When it’s challenging, you can feel the tiny bones in your feet compensating for the minute shifts your body is making in your effort to stay upright, and you feel like it’s a wonder you don’t come crashing down.
A drishti is a focal point that helps you find your balance as you push your boundaries. When you focus on something that’s steady, you stabilize your balance. That big vision I have — even though it’s often vague and unnameable — is steady, and it serves as my drishti off of the yoga mat. It stabilizes me, and it’s my motivation. As long as I’m walking toward it, it doesn’t matter as much if I’m taking teeny little baby steps or giant, legs-stretched leaps.
I think that drishti-esque, big-picture motivation is essential: in motherhood, in business, and in life. It gives us fuel and purpose and keeps us on the path that’s right for us.
Sometimes, the yearning for motivation holds us back. We wait to be motivated to start a project, or go to the gym, or get up earlier, or try something new. Waiting for that kind of motivation, the kind that needs to spark each day and reignite in little moments, can be like waiting for a bus that isn’t coming. We would get to our destination faster if we just started walking.
It reminds me of who I am, and who I want to be. It reminds me that the tender, budding phase has to come before full bloom. It steadies me as I stretch myself into who I only imagined I could be.
MotherHustle panelist Stacy Firth is a writer and content strategist who helps moms who are small business owners and solopreneurs create online content that keeps it real. She also leads workshops that help mamas lead a lit-up life, and is mama to two. You can find her on her website or on Instagram at @stacyrfirth.
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