Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PIVOT: The Shell of Confidence

I registered to attend a workshop in Boston about a month ago.  A workshop designed specifically for women by women with the aim and objective to help facilitate dreaming and change. 
I was very excited about connecting with other women; intelligent and innovative women who have made major changes or faced abrupt and sometimes unexpected change and come out on top.  I didn't really have a concrete idea of what I expected to gain from the forum, but I know and have great respect for one of the hosts of the event, and then a friend said she wanted to go, and another friend was presenting, so I marked the date on my calendar and planned ahead for a fun night out.  We went!  It was really great.  The goodie bags were AMAZING.

Let me tell you what happened before all the fun was had.

As the day got closer, I began to have some doubts about whether or not I would really fit in with this group.  Without really thinking about it, I began to examine my life and developed serious doubts about "fitting."
I'm not a career woman.  The thought of mingling with awesomely talented Boston women started to feel out of my league and a little bit stifling.
About a week before the meeting, I realized I was having some anxiety about going, and even developed some physical symptoms (sleeplessness, hives, lashing out at loved ones...).  The reminder email came, which mentioned that having business cards would be a good idea, as there would be a drawing for door prizes, and the cards would prove useful as a networking tool.  Hah!

Business Cards?  Me?!?

And that's when the you-know-what hit the fan.  
It was messy.  And Dub was my sounding board.  Lucky man.  There was seemingly no end to my verbalizing self-doubt, throwing around the word STUPID, vocalizing fear, anxiety and an all-out hate fest of self pity and misery.  (BOY were there bags under my eyes the morning after...)  And you know what?  I told Dub in very sarcastic (and angry) tones that I was going to cut business cards out of construction paper and in crayon, write "mom."  Let those fancy women network THAT.  

Except that's when it started to get better.  

He said 
"I think you should."  

"I bet some of those women probably wish they could simplify to the point where being "Mom" was the only thing they had to really worry about."  

And Lucky Me.  Because it started to dawn on me that really, that's my number one job.  And I wouldn't trade it.  I'm glad I don't have to report for duty every weekday morning at a retail establishment, or an office, or the local school or Dunkin' Donuts after putting the kids on the bus.  I can choose to lounge in sweatpants and think about organizing my closet. That's my career.  Could I PIVOT?  Sure.  It's a cloud of reality floating around in the sky of my head, waiting for a really good storm.  But I'm in control of my own weather patterns...


The next day I had to return Gracie, the dog who protected us with fierce loyalty from whatever imaginary beast lived in our laser printer, to my parents.  They were back from their weeks of gallivanting, and they came bearing gifts.  Thank you gifts.  One of them was a necklace, handmade in Hawaii out of braided black silk cording and a beautiful shell.  When my mom handed me the offerings she thanked me so graciously for taking care of her dog.  It meant a lot to her.  Then she told me, like only a mother can, that my worth is great.  And I knew it.

I came home and put it on.  The Shell.  I felt beautiful.  And powerful.  And confident.  My lips formed the phrase "this is my shell of confidence."  I would plan my outfit for the PIVOT experience around that shell.  I called my mom on the drive in to the city and told her about my shell of confidence.  She laughed.  I told my good Mister Dub about it when I returned home with my goodie bag and my stories.  I had carried my business cards with me and dropped one at the door as per the request.  I felt good.  So good, in fact, that this morning when I woke up and dressed for an impromptu trip to the temple, the shell was the first thing on.  And with it, my confidence.
I know that my worth does not hinge on what I do for a career.  I know that I had every right to mingle with those amazing and awesomely talented Boston women.  I am equally amazing and awesome at what I do.  My PIVOT moment happened even before I got to the event.  I felt especially calm and peaceful on my visit to the temple today.  It was the perfect place to land, on a beautiful Fall day, wearing the shell of confidence.


Janssen said...

Jenny, you are such an inspiration to me - the many wonderful things you do, how involved you are with your family, your gardening, reading, friendships. I like you just the way you are!

LL said...

The shell wasn't the only special thing you were wearing =)
I love that shell from Hawaii. Beautiful! And good for you going to that Pivot thing showing them who's Boss. Could I get one of your business cards? I love how you run your company! Its always fun to talk "business" with you.

Darleen said...

Intelligence is not defined by one's job--"status" perhaps but not intelligence! You, my friend, are one of the most intelligent women I know. As Pres. Hinkley once said: "there is an essence of the divine in the improvement of the mind". You really need to write a book (I may have said this once or twice before), as you are a REALLY good writer!!!

Aaron H. said...

Could have taken my cards with you and pimped my firm. Nice.

Christy said...

Jenny! I was mentioning to our "guest" presenter that I wouldn't even dare go if I was still there, MAYBE volunteer to do kitchen duty....
I LOVED your post, it summed up my circle of feelings that I go through. just finished the new RS book, boosted my "shell of confidence" to a 9.
You my friend would be a 10!
I am seriously going to do the mom business card thing if the occasion ever presents itself.

shirlgirl said...

Great post, Jenny. Never ever put yourself down!!! As your friends have said, you are amazing in all that you do. Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. Heavens, just your writing for Segullah is totally amazing to me. And your brother is really funny, as usual!

mckell.b.p.55 said...

Amen! I love this post in so many ways, I can't even find the words! :)

Michael Stokes said...

by far my favorite post.

Rebecca said...

I'm SO glad you made business cards! This conversation could have been heard at my house too. Can I share this with my Laurels? :)

Whitney said...

I love this post Jenny -- and I wouldn't have seen it except that Rebecca Menzie mentioned it to me.

Three cheers for wonderful, fantastic Jenny!

I think I'm going to have to tweet it you know...

Teresa Whitehead said...

Just followed the link to this from Whitney's page, and LOVE it! Can I ever identify...thanks for putting this into words, and glad you went.

As far as business cards go, I flipped out before going to a conference a year ago and actually ordered real business cards. And you know what? I've never given one out. Never. Not one. But I have a couple in my wallet, and somehow they feel like a security blanket. A different type of shell?

Swimmingmom said...

Loved this Jenny!!!! I am always so intrigued and surprised to learn that this conversation goes on in the head of so many. I thought it was just me! So glad you found the courage to go and then you were able to enjoy!!!

Jo Jo said...

This was a beautiful post! I am insecure as well. Love the Mom cards. I love your shell of confidence necklace.

Becky Orton said...

You=PURE AWESOMENESS. I'm proud to call you sister. :) xoxo