Tag: how to balance work and motherhood

I am a very lucky person in very many ways. I am aware of that and I thank my lucky stars every single day. Not only was I born into a very loving and large and connected family but I have, in my 40+ years on this earth, gathered up a goodly amount of amazing friends. And believe me when I say this network of family and friends is definitely not something I take for granted. Ever.

And the fact that I continuously meet new people on this life’s journey is one of the biggest surprises of my adult experience. And the very thing I tell teens when asked about life’s great surprises. Really? Amazing people just keep showing up? Yup.

This weekend was a great example of that. A couple of hundred women all gathered in one room to listen, learn and share ideas at the bi-annual MomCom Austin event.  I was invited to share the stage with my dear friend Carrie Contey and together we spoke on the subject of Building Your Tribe. We told the story of how our group of 7 women came together to work, share, learn, inspire and support each other through this thing called life. Though we initially came together to find more ways to stay in our creative flow in the midst of early parenting, what we’ve become to each other over the past 8 years has been more than we could ever have imagined. And though we came together intentionally, with our work as our focus, we had no idea we were forming a group that would still be together this many years later. And  we had no idea we were forming a group that has been and continues to be so instrumental to all of us personally and professionally and that we see now will likely last our whole lives long.

Lucky us for sure.

With hindsight as our guide, Carrie and I prepared for our talk by pondering the things that made the group work. The things that continuously bond and inspire us, not only as a connected group, but, individually, the things that bring us to our very best selves.  Everyday. And the things that make us feel lucky. Everyday. And the things that have made it work and last and be the very essence of goodness that we all have come to count on.

So here in 10 easy steps are some ideas for creating your own Goodness. To inspire you and make your life even luckier than it currently is…

10 Ways to Create Your Own Tribe…

  1. Start small and stay small – too many people and you won’t feel obliged to show up because you’ll feel you won’t be missed if you’re not there. Though it feels strange to keep it tight, if you open it too big, it won’t be sustainable.
  2. Find a couple of women you love and ask them to find one more person – this creates an immediate circle of women who will probably get along.
  3. Find a common thread and work from there – maybe you’re all mamas or artists or marathon runners or some such. A common ground is a great starting point
  4. Start with a clear intention – workshop, retreat, etc. Especially if you start off with something that you pay for which will make you more likely to commit fully to it.
  5. Keep it purposeful – the social is fun but the purposeful intention and commitment to a book or exercise or something definitive gives you reason to show up fully and regularly.
  6. Hire someone every now and again to bring you to a new level – when the group needs a bump up, hire out to reignite the commitment.
  7. Make a regular meeting time – rather than having to discuss it each week or each month, make it the same – Tuesday nights or First Thursday or something to give it it’s rightful place.
  8. Find a sustainable time slot – something that won’t be easily pre-empted by some other meeting or family need.
  9. Name it -by naming it you can call it and by calling it you are acknowledging it’s powerful existence.
  10. Ask your family for support. Even your kids. Ask them to joyfully give you the space and ask them to encourage you to meet up regularly. Remind them of all you get from it, which in turn will mean they too will get something from it.

So go on. Make your own Tribe. Your world will be better off for it. That I guarantee.

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Women and work…

I met with Tina Hambly yesterday morning, the owner and founder and chief designer at Valentina Shoes; hip girls, happy feet. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but when she walked in I felt instantly happy by her presence. Maybe it was her casual and down to earth style? I expected someone more corporate perhaps? Maybe it was her sweet blue sweater with the giant red heart woven into it that seemed the perfect sweater for a woman who had followed her heart to a career.  Whatever it was, I felt quite satisfied sitting outside at a local café with my latte in front of me and Tina across from me – you know that satisfaction that comes from the feeling that you’re about to learn something cool?

Tina worked in the corporate world for nearly two decades as an event coordinator, and still does actually, when she decided to return to her design and fashion roots. With her then 6 year old daughter serving as her muse, she started Valentina Shoes; hip girls, happy feet. (And can I add, on a personal note, the thing that stood out the most to me and that I appreciated almost as much as the styles themselves,  is that there is not a heel in sight on these shoes for young girls!)

On October 24th, Tina will be speaking at the Texas Conference for Women on the subject of pursuing your passions, going big, following your dreams. She’ll be addressing the young women at the conference made up of high school juniors and seniors. She’s excited about meeting with them and hopes to share with them the idea of finding your passion, examining them and then taking active steps to truly follow them in a big, true way. I can only imagine how great it would be to hear that message at so young an age from someone who was living proof that it is the way to happiness and success.

She told me the story of making the leap into her own company and how she called up a man in Houston who had a similar company and she asked him for help. Without hesitation he shared ideas, lessons learned, and insights that were priceless to Tina in the creation of Valentina, “He spent two hours on the phone with me, having never met me before, sharing incredible information.” From that Tina learned that sharing is key. “Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Find the people who can help, find a mentor, and don’t be afraid to ask them for information.” Now when people ask Tina, she is ready, willing and able to share with others what she learned in a sort of Pay-It-Forward method.

Tina makes it a point to slow things down at home with her husband and two children. “We have dinner together just about every night. It’s a sacred time for me, a time when we can all connect with each other and get a glimpse into each other’s day.” She also tries to keep weekends for family and when that doesn’t’ always work out, Tina is super intentional around carving out specific blocks of time rather than having business bleed into family life all weekend long.”

With a growing business and a family to tend to, Tina is also careful to tend to her own proverbial cup – filling it with solo walks and time spent pouring over stacks of design magazines where she not only gets her relaxation but also design ideas for new products. “It’s crucial for me to get some solo time. It’s a time when I can check in with myself and also stir up new ideas.”

Tina is excited about attending the Texas Conference for Women for the first time and excited about sharing ideas with the young women in attendance. She’s also looking forward to listening to the many other amazing speakers and said her only dilemma really is deciding which talks to attend. If you are on the fence about attending the conference, just one glimpse at the list of speakers should spur you on to registering for this day full of insights, inspirations and big beautiful ideas. Whether you already know your passion, or are pondering just what it might be, surely this day surrounded by amazing professional women will be just the thing you need to take it to the next level and an opportunity to follow Tina’s advice to “get active in your passion.”

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