Many of you know that I am involved in the Lean In community here in Atlanta.
Lean In is near and dear to my heart.
75% of my current friendships came from the Lean In community. Maybe more.
You guys, these are some awesome women. Smart and caring and hardworking and funny as hell. These are my peeps.
I read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg not too long after it came out in 2013.
At this point in my life, I was being spread wayyyyyy too thin.
- I was a single mom with three kids
- I had a full time demanding career
- I was going to college part time
- I had just started dating my now husband
Many of you know, but I grew up in a church community that did not believe that men should go to traditional college – much less women.
By the time I was 25, I had left this church community, was divorced with three kids, and realized that putting food on the table with very few marketable skills was no small feat.
I started going to college to try to gain skills needed in the workforce.
It was a really busy time and frankly, I was going crazy. I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace, but I didn’t know what could be cut out.
Obviously, I couldn’t do anything about the kiddos.
Obviously, I had to keep my job.
A well meaning friend whose opinion I valued very highly had me convinced that I could not be successful in Corporate America if I did not have a college degree. It was a limiting belief that I believed with all my heart. I felt that if I let go of my measly two classes a semester, I would be a failure. I wouldn’t be able to grow and get promotions and raises.
I didn’t know what to do.
Then I read the book Lean In. I didn’t read this book with any expectations of anything. It just sounded like a cool book to read.
Y’all. THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE. It changed my career trajectory. Mostly – it changed my mindset.
Yes, the book talks about women in business and the statistics of women in the workplace and how much we are being undervalued – not just by Corporate America but also by our own actions and subconscious beliefs. It also talks about “Leaning Into” your life.
I was not leaning into my life. I was fighting it tooth and nail. I was allowing my limiting beliefs to guide my life decisions.
This was all about to change.
I distinctly remember reading the last page of the book. My heart was pounding. I finished the last paragraph. I closed the book. I looked up and said in my heart, “I am quitting school.”
Now – you might not guess that is what I got from the book Lean In. Education is super important to me. We talk a lot of about the importance of education in my household. Sheryl Sandberg herself is highly educated.
I couldn’t be a good mom and a good employee and a good student too. And keep my sanity. Maybe you can. But I certainly couldn’t.
For the first time, I let go and trusted God and the Universe with my future.
If I was going to do well, I wanted to do well at the job I was currently employed at, and I wanted to do well at being a mom.
School could wait.
And it did.
Guys, this was a huge step for me. I was scared. I was scared I would become stagnant at work. I work in technology, y’all. I work with some of the smartest people you will ever meet. It can be intimidating.
I am happy to report that my career continued to take off. I continued to get promotions. I continued to get raises.
I was a good employee. I determined to work hard and improve every single year. And I did.
I have Lean In to thank for this.
Now, this story is from several years ago. I find that every few years, I get into a crazy loop where I am taking on and doing too much. Apparently it is a Cassie thing. At some point, it gets a little too crazy and I have to reign things back in. I have to decide to Lean Into my life – whatever that looks like at the moment.
Last year I had to quit a job that had become toxic for me (without another job lined up). Guys, I am not a quitter. It was one of the hardest and scariest things I have ever done.
Currently we have some things going on at home that is forcing me to take a step back in a couple areas of my life.
Leaning In is a good thing. Recognizing when we are out of balance is GOOD. It is then we can balance out the scales and regain composure.
Are you leaning into your life?
If you are looking to expand your community, I highly recommend you look into visiting a Lean In chapter or community. There are thousands world wide, and there just might be one in your city. And if you are in Atlanta, I can definitely hook you up.