It’s time to start unfolding the story of this exciting new part of our business! As I thought about how to share all of this, I quickly realized this is more than one blog post! I’ve got to break this up in parts as a written account of what has transpired behind the scenes and as a milestone–a symbolic marker, if you will–as Brian and I and all those that make up our brand and mission walk forward into this new season. This is the story behind the new season we are about to embark on. I’m a firm believer in the power of hearing others stories, especially the honest and transparent ones. They help me gleam courage and companionship as I work out my own. I hope these next few days do that for you in some small, intimate way. For those of you who like the longer posts–the inside behind how it all came to be–this week is for you especially.
Last November, almost a full year ago, I felt a pull inside of me. A pull to go inside. To pause in our work, our passions, and listen. I had no idea where this listening would take me or what I would find or what I was “supposed” to find. I just knew I needed to pause. So I packed the car, kissed Brian and the kids, and set off on a short road trip–unplugged–alone–with hopes of quieting my inner creative self.
I did this personal retreat not once but a few times between November 2011 and February 2012. Every time I went, I had a hint of more clarity. And in the end, I experienced a deep conviction. My passion has been around being a leader to women, especially moms. For the last fifteen years, I’ve had the honor of doing this in several ways but there is one piece that I’ve never done. I’ve never invited a handful of women to be mentored by me and Brian on a long term basis with the goal to raise them up as strong leaders underneath us. I was reading this powerful book on leadership and at one point the author challenged the reader by asking if your mission, your vision, has been written down–flushed out with absolute clarity–and given to those you’ve raised up under you so that if you were gone tomorrow the vision would still be carried out. I felt a heart conviction that this was missing–that to be a true leader…this piece was deeply necessary. What good would it be if all that I’ve fought for and built since I left the halls of that psychiatric ward, some twenty years ago, was limited to me? What good would all the publicity or exposure of a TV show be, if it ended with me?
But I was afraid. For months I reasoned with myself that I had done many things “like this” through blogging, speaking engagements, books I had written, even our SOAR! Scholarship. The spirit of all these things was to empower women–to give all that we had away. And yet, it was as if this quiet voice kept nudging me to look again…had I really given it all away? Was there something more that could be given away?
I didn’t have to look far to know why I was afraid. Fear of disappointing people is always there. It is that old place of hurt that is always being healed since I was a young girl. I realized that I had inspired many women over the years, but only let them come so close. And then I realized how easy it was to push this conviction aside–after all, wasn’t I open with people already? It’s funny how one day we can find ourselves looking at a new stage that we never knew existed. It’s not necessarily a stage of becoming better but rather becoming more known to ourselves–seeing with new eyes what we’ve looked at so many times but just now seeing the missing piece we never saw before. These single moments are rare and far between. When they happen to me, I feel the rumble in my spirit–a rumble that feels afraid to take the next step…unsure if I have what it takes…
And then came love. I felt this overwhelming love being poured over me in those personal retreats. This new season, this new challenge wasn’t about me doing any thing wrong in the past. This was about me maturing as a leader–finding more confidence for myself to continue to give confidence to others–turning over one more rock that I had unexpectedly discovered the need to turn.
So I began writing this new vision as it came to me in bits and pieces. I was writing at a furious pace, as I was also writing my next book. I always give a new journal a title of what I think will be the topic of the next few months. I was due for a new journal and titled it “Not what “should” be done, but possibilities of what “could” be done!” Underneath the title I wrote, “February 17th 2012, On the other side of my 20 year milestone”.
My heart wanted to search out through writing, brainstorming and prayer the idea of what I could imagine life to be–to look like–to live like–now that I was officially on the other side of my 20 year anniversary from being date raped–a milestone I had thought about for twenty years. (If you are new to this blog, I invite you to read my About page or this post.)
So much writing with passion fueling it all. And then a single question started to form: ‘If I were to hand a group of women our mission, what the Me Ra Koh brand stood for, would there be crystal clear clarity AND sustainability for them to grab hold of the vision and carry it out?’
All the writing in that new journal was transferred into a 125 pg. training manual for a select group of women to become our ambassadors.
Tomorrow comes the next step I took on June 3rd 2012.