The Story Behind the Story

A couple weeks ago I was interviewed by Working Motherhood, and our interview went live this past week. I have to admit I was nervous as I prepared for this conversation. I was going to open up and discuss being a mother and business woman, a topic that I’ve always loved to talk about and have a lot of experience in. However, I knew the interviewer’s questions would demanded answers that were so different from my past answers!

The simplest question, “Tell us about your children?” broke me out into a cold sweat.

Since Hank’s death just two months ago, I have had three distinct opportunities to answer that question with various people. As any proud momma would do, I told them all about what my two girls were doing as well as my son, who was a successful businessman in Austin, Texas. Ha, yes, to those people Hank is still alive and well. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them about Hank’s death in those social or business settings. It was just easier to continue my same happy ending story about three successful and healthy children.

I knew my interview with Working Motherhood would be a defining time to deal with how I answer those questions about work and motherhood without creating downer atmosphere. So, I went for it. (If you’d like to hear my Working Motherhood interview you can listen to it here.)

Like any challenging situation, I learned a few things from my experience.

First, I did it! It was a giant step forward for me. Weird enough, my team and I agreed to this interview just a few weeks after Hank’s death. I didn’t agree immediately, but after a few days passed I realized at some point I was going to need to tell my story. It’s how I teach and help others, through adversity. So why wait? If God presented this opportunity to me, then I should take that step. So, I committed to the interview in faith that I’d have the right words to say when the time came.

Vulnerability is something I teach and something I value so much in leaders. Yet, being vulnerable about what I’ve lost has not been easy. I put pressure on myself to be the tough one. Isn’t that what we do as mothers? Our kids skin their knees. We fix it. They get sick. We fix it. They get their feelings hurt. We fix it. They get in trouble. We fix it. When something happens, mom can fix it! Being vulnerable to others about something I can’t fix is awkward.

Who do I need to be for others? As a business leader I know I must lead to the conditions: the conditions of the business, the market, the team, and the individual leaders I coach. It should be no different at home. Our conditions have changed, and as parents, Keven and I have to figure out how to lead to these conditions. On a personal note, I want to send a shout out to our two amazing daughters, Katie and Jeri, who are living up to these conditions. They have adapted and changed when they sense their parents are in need of being led differently.

I’m still figuring this out. At this stage in my growth as a grieving mom and business woman, I’m still learning how to balance my responsibilities and manage my emotions. But I am intent on learning through the process so I can help others like those who have come alongside our family and used their pain to bring wisdom, hope and encouragement to us.

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