Why I'm Bringing Trauma Informed to Business

Let's be real here for a second - we didn't really expect that at 12:01am on January 1, the entire system would shut-down and then reboot itself did we? I know I didn't. But on the other hand, it wasn't bad to try to imagine that it could, a little bit.

Now December and January have always been really powerful and energetic for me. Big things usually happen in my life during this period of time. One could say it's because I'm a Capricorn and it's all in the planets and I would be inclined to go along with that. It could be because we all love patterns and some degree of structure so at endings and beginnings, such as a calendar year, we are all apt to say "Fuck it" a little more and make choices or decisions that maybe we'd been putting off throughout the year. I may be guilty of that too.

But here we are, three weeks into a new year and my personal cruise ship is still on its new course after it's sweeping and painful turn it's taken since, well, December of 2017. Already I've had my birthday and I found out that my position I'd had for two years at a nursing agency is another victim of the pandemic. Yes, my steady income that I used to ground myself while going along this journey of re-discovery and healing is gone. Did I mention big things happen for me in January?

So, what do I do with news like that? Well, I freak out a little because I'm a human. I worry about backsliding financially after having made epic life changes that put me in a place where 2020 was the year I paid off tens and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Debt that was a carryover of poor self-esteem and spending more than I had to support a person who had even less than me and hoping that one day they'd love me for it. Debt that crushed my credit and my spirit and constantly reminded me, shamefully, that smart people can make bad choices.

I also vacillate between security and dreams - do I try to be an employee somewhere or is this the birthday gift the Universe knows I need to take this journey one step further? I still have kids to think about and no back-up income from a spouse or partner. However, my faith in myself and my story so far tells me it's the latter. The boats are burning on the shore - it's time to finally take the fucking island. And this is where I thrive.

Thankfully, I anticipated this change to happen regardless. I just hoped - or rather - planned it to be all on my terms. Isn't that cute? How we think we have that much control that we can accurately predict every move and every step along the way, especially when other humans are involved? But again I always say, "The Universe hasn't let me down yet." And that's true. I've come to see over the years that I might not have liked what happened, but I'll be damned if the results weren't usually better than I had imagined. So, I've learned to lean into the turns instead of away from them.

As this turn has been gently arcing away from the course I had been on for the last couple of years, I was wondering where I was going. As I have mentioned before in emails and conversations, I have felt like I've been having an identity crises. It's a hazard, I suppose, of having so many experiences under your belt that you are unsure of what to do with them all. Making sense of some of the senseless things is maddening some days. I've been asking myself a lot lately: Who am I now? What label should I put on my chest? What do I fill in under the "Job Description?"

Am I the childhood trauma survivor? Am I the "small business and entrepreneurship expert?" Am I the "branding & marketing expert?" Am the "wedding venue expert?" The problem is I am those things and others. But I am also uncertain, a bit scared at times and fearless at other times. Sometimes I move slowly and other times I'm quick, but at all times I am unstoppable.

However, as the turn on this minor course adjustment continued on, I started to make lists and plans and then stopped. There wasn't a spark coming from any of the words I committed to paper. And one thing I've learned is that I have to trust my spark. Sure, there were "things" I could do or expertise I could try to squeeze a few dollars out of so that I made sure that my family and I were taken care of but some of the ideas just made me sink further into my couch and melancholy. I am the woman who tells other women to put that big reason "Why" out there in front of you and never let it go, no matter what - especially when the boats are burning on the shore.

The other morning I woke up and decided that what I needed to do was meditate first, even before I got out of bed. Yes, I know that sounds like code for sleeping in but I promise you that was not what happened. I put on my guided meditation app on my phone and cleared my mental space. And then my spark ignited. And with that spark came illumination and with the light, I could see clearly where I was and where I had been going this whole time.

I was heading in the direction already but lacked the words to describe it, which is funny now considered they had been there the whole time in front of me: trauma informed. But more specifically, trauma informed leadership in business and entrepreneurship.

That's it. That's the job description. Showing people how to be courageous, authentic, and unstoppable professionals means to be trauma informed and to understand how this impacts our successes and the story we tell ourselves. It was how I deciphered my own story. Being trauma informed is like having a Rosetta Stone for understanding one another. And as we adults painfully learn as soon as we get our first jobs, the people we work with are those people we spend the most time with usually in our lives. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those relationships were healthy too?

So, I'm back at it again - rewriting websites, LinkedIn pages, and finally coalescing everything I love and am passionate about into a simple container that holds a powerful mission. And getting myself ready to continue to advocate and teach other business leaders and entrepreneurs the value in validating our pasts so that we can unlock the full potential of our futures.

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