One year ago, I was working in a depressing, mismanaged counseling center where I constantly worried about my effectiveness with clients, and felt like I was just passing time until I could start my own practice. I relied on reassurance from my supervisors and peers, and constantly compared myself to the other counselors I knew. When I felt good about the work I was doing, it was always accompanied by a little voice in my head that whispered, “They’ll eventually figure out that you don’t know what you’re doing….”
Then, I joined a women’s group.
Only a few months after joining, I left the job that depressed me. I opened a private practice. I stopped feeling as though other professionals were my competition. I started taking bigger steps to complete my licensure as a Marriage & Family Therapist. I updated my website and created my own branding materials. I got a parenting class proposal approved by a local organization. I hosted a documentary screening. And by the end of the year, I was running two of my own women’s groups – a dream I’d had for years.
Not only were there professional leaps, but I took some personal ones as well. I began the practice of speaking up for myself in difficult relationships. I started learning more about my family dynamics, and how they had helped, and hindered, me along the way. I learned to be my own advocate. I stopped giving power to my inner critic, and started recognizing the innate power that ALL women – myself included – possess. Some of these things were things I’d known for years – especially since doing graduate work in a counseling program – but which I still had trouble implementing in my own life. It’s always easy to give advice to a friend, right? It’s a little harder to listen to the same advice when talking about ourselves.
The catalyst for my professional and personal growth was joining with a group of women who were feeling the same way – frustrated with themselves and/or life, stuck in a rut, unsure of what to do, maybe even a little lost – and who desperately wanted something to change. Initially, I thought that the change would come from our group leader, the assignments, the readings… all the “stuff” we were going to do. And while those things certainly helped, I realized at the end of the year that the changes in my life had come from a surprising place. Those things weren’t the agent of change in my life. The agent of change was me.
I invested in myself. I gave time, attention, and money, to my own needs. And once I made that decision, all the other things I surrounded myself with – that group of women, that coach, those materials – supported me.
Those women became close friends. We shared our struggles, set-backs, and successes with each other, and even though the group closed in December, we continue to check in with each other to see how we’re all doing. Those women taught me how to have meaningful, authentic, supportive relationships again after the many times in my life where I thought other women were my competition.
You deserve it.
You deserve time, money, and attention. We all do. That’s why I will join another women’s group someday, and why I’m offering the same opportunity to women in Chattanooga. When you make the conscious decision to support yourself – to be the agent of change in your own life – the Universe brings together all the resources you’ll need to make things happen.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” – The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
YOU are the thing you have been waiting for.
“Wherever you’ve been, and whatever you’ve done so far, your entire life was building up to this moment. Now is the time to burst forth into your greatness, a greatness you could never have achieved without going through exactly the things you’ve gone through to get here.” – Marianne Williamson
Join The Collective, beginning mid-March 2017, and surround yourself with women who want to be active participants in their lives, who want to support other women, and who want to learn new tools that will help them embrace and utilize the power that is already within them.