This morning, as I got to work, I reached into my coat pocket and found a tiny acorn. Every time I reach in and find the little acorn, it surprises me, even though it’s been in my pocket for five years.
Five years ago, I was on a business trip to Monnett, Missouri to configure a banking core product (I know, so exciting, such is the world of financial services). I joked that it was the second business trip I’d ever been on, and both had been to uneventful places; first Salt Lake City, and now Monnet, Missouri. When I look back, though, both places and both trips were life-changing for me. Sometimes business trips can be very routine and boring, however, there are some instances where a business trip can be exciting and thrilling. There are companies out there that will reward their employees for their hard work by sending them on a trip that provides them with luxury and relaxation through resources like corporate incentive travel planners so they are able to have a well-deserved break. Not bad for a business trip right! Mine may have not been that great, but they did give me moments of reflection.
It was December, and it was COLD, and crisp, and the company we were visiting had a lovely park-like campus out on the middle of a vast wide prairie (and in all honesty, I love the prairie, have had a fascination with it since I was five.). I strolled around the campus, missing my very young son, missing my home, wondering what the hell I was doing in the Southwest corner of Missouri, what I was doing configuring a banking core … why? what the heck? was this what my life was supposed to be? trips with bad food, lumpy beds, not much sleep and doing work I didn’t really care about?
I picked up a tiny acorn and I put it in my pocket, knowing that it would remind me of this cold, windy day, far away from home, looking out over a small lake, it would remind me that there was a time when I had a good job, a stable job, where I was valued, but I dreamed of something else. More time with my family. Work that mattered to me. I did not know what that thing was, what I was searching for, but I knew I had to go in search of it. This was the beginning, the commitment, the start, the figurative planting of the seed on my heart.
On that same trip, I got a call from a colleague, looking to hire a marketing manager on her team, and it seemed like work that I might enjoy. I took that job, and then a total of 3 more jobs over 2 years because nothing felt right, felt like home, felt like I was following my purpose. In the midst of that job jumping, the acorn remained. It went to New York with me (my only ‘exciting’ business trip), it’s traveled, it’s continued to remind me of a promise I made to myself, urging me on each time my hand finds it in my left coat pocket.
And yet that commitment still surprises me, still. Much as I am surprised by the acorn, I amaze myself when I stay up late, when I push through the hard stuff to get to what matters, when I change everything because Plan A didn’t work, and Plan B didn’t do much better. Plan C still has a chance. I am surprised when other people start to see my dream, and show or tell me they believe it in, too. When they say yes to Plan C because they have an acorn of their own they’re growing, and they hope with all their hearts we can grow a forest of dream trees together. This is connection, community.
That’s what happens when you commit, when you go all in, when you start to fight for that purpose that was welling up inside, refusing to be ignored, even on the coldest and windiest days, in the most improbable of places.
When you say yes, when you pick up that acorn, your whole life changes.
And if you know about that yearning, about that searching, and you’re ready for that change, I’m here. I know 9 other women who believe in you and the transformation you want to make, and we all want to help you with the first step on your journey. Let us help you surprise yourself, and bring your dream to life.