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How a Chaotic Year Helped Me Find Myself

The COVID-19 pandemic threw everyone for a loop—but there’s a silver lining for those that look within to find it.

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I spent a good amount of last weekend painting two accent walls in my house.

To make the activity more enjoyable, I was blasting music and singing along in typical fashion—with passion and questionable skill.

Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” came on.

I’ve always loved this song and believed it only applies to me in times of crisis. But while I painted away, I realized a few things.

I felt pretty lost during this pandemic. Like everyone else, my life got turned upside down.

Most of the routine that used to make me feel comfortable and safe is gone. The routine I have, I determine and regulate myself. I’m okay at it, but it takes a lot more willpower.

My business suffered at the onset of the pandemic. We lost about 40% of our clients, partially furloughed our team (something I never thought I’d have to do), and had to claw our way back to where we started.

We’re going to come out of this, but not without some scrapes and bruises.

On top of that, I moved, got married, and my husband and I merged our families all in the middle of a crazy year. These are very happy changes; at the same time, they add more layers to a season full of change.

One of the biggest changes I’ve experienced in the last four months is how I view and spend time. For me, time was always something to be filled to the brim. See an opening, add an activity or responsibility. I built a world full of accomplishments that look great.

People always used to ask, “How do you do it all?”

I often responded that I didn’t know. It seemed like my life expanded every time I took on a new challenge.

I’ve always wanted to show my girls and show women everywhere that we CAN have it all. For most of my adult life, I’ve been on a mission to prove it. But at what price?

Always and without fail, the world I built eventually breaks me down.

This pandemic has presented many blessings disguised as challenges, and one of them is being home 24/7.

It gave me time to just be. Time to think.

It turns out that “just being” is harder than I thought. And thinking can be downright scary.

It turns out that time to think can result in asking yourself big questions, and sometimes you won’t like the answers.

Questions like:

  • Do I really like being busy?
  • What am I putting myself out there on LinkedIn? What am I trying to prove?
  • Is my sarcasm funny or just a defense mechanism?
  • Why is my inner voice so critical?
  • Eight years in, am I still passionate about what I do?
  • Am I happy?

I don’t have all of the answers to these questions. I suspect I never will. But damn am I proud that I’ve given myself the space to ask them.

I arrived at the conclusion that everything in life is a season. In some seasons, I love sharing what I’ve learned as a thought leader in my industry and inspiring people. In some seasons, I feel like an unmotivated fraud with nothing of substance to share.

In some seasons, I’m obsessed with my company. And in some seasons, the challenges feel too great to overcome. (I am happy to report that the challenges presented by this pandemic were an opportunity to grow—not a reason to throw in the towel.)

In some seasons, I consistently wake up feeling happy. And in some seasons… I don’t.

One of my biggest fears is realizing one day that I built a life that doesn’t make me happy. It’s taken me many years to learn that happiness is a journey, not something you arrive at. It’s something I have the absolute privilege to work on every day.

It turns out that I was lost well before this pandemic started.

And now I get to rebuild a life that gives me space. Space to think. Space to follow my passions. Space to breathe. Space to just be.

And I think the chance to start again is the greatest gift anyone can receive.

“All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.” –Avicii 

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