Why Following Your Passion Isn't "Woo-Woo"Jan 31, 2022
Greetings, Mother Plussers! This week we are doing a deep dive with a truly dynamic mother + business coach. Meet Melissa.
Melissa Bauknight is a life and business coach, the founder of The Ripple Connection, and a top leader with Beautycounter. She's committed to helping women come alive on purpose and in purpose while nurturing their WHOLE selves. Melissa spent 15 years working as an award-winning sales rep predominantly in medical device sales. On the outside, she was crushing it, but on the inside, she felt unfulfilled, anxious and knew she was meant for more. Her wake-up call came when she became a new mom and was attempting to "do it all" - working full time while building her side business and getting completely rocked by motherhood. She knew there had to be a better way to live so she retired from her corporate career and learned how to embrace her feminine energy. Now she is deeply passionate about creating an aligned life & business by HER OWN design with ease and flow and guiding other powerhouse solopreneurs to do the same. We learned so much from our conversation with her, and we know you will too.
Curiosity: The Breadcrumbs To Change
After Melissa's son was born, she made a major career pivot. In her words, here's what that monumental change meant to her:
"I've got the thing that I wanted. I had autonomy and financial abundance and all the things. And yet I was not satisfied. And so I started to get curious about what I wanted as like an adult sovereign woman. Like if I wasn't just checking society's boxes and I really thought thoroughly through what do I desire? What kind of life do I want to create? What fills me up"
Pretty major questions, yes? Here's what she landed on: Melissa wanted a community of women; she wanted to be able to be her authentic self at work; she wanted flexibility, autonomy, earning power, and the ability to make a social impact. And ultimately, she wanted to help women step into their own voices. And how did she get there?
"I allowed curiosity to be the breadcrumbs to guide me into my own healing journey."
But she didn't stop there. She continues to use curiosity to look at her daily choices, as a path to creating more intention behind her actions. Melissa says when we get curious about the things we are doing, everything comes from a place of awareness. She doesn't pretend this is an easy process: "At the root of all of it, I said yes to peeling back the layers, to really looking at my own shadows, and I went through some shit."
What Stands In Our Way?
For those of you who have followed our conversations about impostor syndrome, this sound bite from Melissa may sound familiar to you:
"Who am I to . . . ? Who am I to have this kind of a dream? Who am I to think that I could make this kind of difference? Who am I to think I could teach my journey to somebody else?"
Melissa says that sometimes when you make a choice, you think you have to stick it out or force it and power through, but she is proponent of making decisions from a clear internal place to identify your true desires. Part of her work with her coaching clients is to be really thoughtful about what they desire, what they are afraid of, and what's in their way.
Melissa sees a lot of common themes amongst the women she works with about what fears are holding them back: financial fear, what it might mean for their marriage, how it might affect other relationships in their lives that aren't actually working. But then she hit us with this major aha moment, a deep fear that is often at the root of what's holding us back:
"Can I really count on myself to do this thing that I really want to do?"
Let that sink in and see if it resonates for you. Self-doubt can be so deeply ingrained sometimes we don't even notice it at first. Melissa doesn't just pay lip service to this stuff; she really walks her talk.
"I took my own healing and my own journey and I packaged it up and now I liberate other women. And so I do one-on-one coaching and a group hybrid program. So it's group and one-on-one together. And I take women through a curriculum that really helps them see for themselves what they want in their life and to powerfully pivot in their career by really knowing who they are." Powerful stuff, friends!
Step One: Question Your Thoughts, Interrupt The Process, Rewire Your System
We asked Melissa to share one actionable step for mother plussers who aren't sure how to start getting "unstuck" in pursuit of their dreams, passions, or interests. What she told us is super simple, but also super powerful.
Start to become aware of your thoughts and to question them.
She explained that this practice is basically noticing your thoughts and then asking: "Is this the truth?" In order to begin rewiring the negative beliefs that hold us back, we need to interrupt the process by becoming aware of our thoughts.
"Because the fear is the story. I mean, sometimes it lives in the nervous system as like a real fear. And it's a story that we've chosen to believe that it's true. And so if you start to do anything, it's bringing awareness to your thoughts."
While this may seem overwhelming at first, Melissa reassures listeners that it can be as simple as pausing to take a breath, dropping from your mind into your body.
The Power of Embracing Feminine Energy: It Isn't "Woo Woo"
If you're anything like us, you may identify as a little "woo-woo", or maybe a little crunchy, holistic, spiritual. Or maybe you've firmly eschewed any kind of "self-care/self-help/wellness" culture as being total New Age garbage. Either way, hear us out. This is where we took a deep dive with Melissa, who is a major advocate of integrating feminine energy into our careers. Here's how she describes that:
"In our Western culture, we are taught a lot to force, to dominate, to control, to kind of power through produce at whatever cost. Like you're not valuable unless you're constantly winning awards and producing: so exhausting. And that's the toxic masculine, if you will, which is why women are drowning."
Whatever your stance is on wellness or woo, I think it's hard to disagree that modern women, juggling families, their health, and perhaps careers, ambitions, dreams, hobbies, or even coffee dates with pals, are maxed out, exhausted, fried, in a word: drowning.
So what exactly does Melissa mean by feminine energy, and how does one integrate that into her life or career? She talked to us about creating spaciousness, creating trust, sourcing yourself from within, creating allies versus competition, having a deep connection to your body and a willingness to be vulnerable as a strength.
"It's like all the things that are so innate to us as women that we're like, no, no, no, can't do that."
We talked about the power of unlearning all the things that you are not, so you can just be who you've always been. And this is an important part: addressing who we are and how we feel is NOT woo-ey, it's simply baseline to enjoying our lives.
Melissa explains that we've been going about things in a way that never really fit us, and that this unlearning, this remembering who we really are is fundamentally necessary for happiness and joy. Then she gives us this mic drop moment:
"But if you're not dealing like with the beingness of yourself underneath that, then like who gives a shit about the strategy, right?"
You Matter: Start Where You Are
In case you haven't been listening or are still not convinced in our 13 episodes that you get to take care of yourself just because, we're going to give it to you one more time, with a beautiful fresh take from Melissa. This is your new motto:
"Coming from a place of I Matter . . ."
Let's go with it: "Coming from a place of "I matter," do I want to take on this commitment? Coming from a place of I matter, what's possible?" Melissa describes this as a fundamental prerequisite for making choices.
If you're feeling overwhelmed about how to put your needs on the table, Melissa offers this advice: "Start where you are. Build on this. What's the next small step that I can take to show that I matter?" She started with ONE bath all alone, then started taking daily walks. You get the idea. Start where you are, take tiny steps toward change. (And then sing along to Frozen 2's "The Next Right Thing" with us . . . )
Melissa also shared this powerful (and yes, probably controversial) cornerstone value:
"I wholeheartedly believe that mom comes first."
Take a breath, and try that one on. If you can't quite get there, maybe at the very least remind yourself that you shouldn't be at the bottom of the food chain in your family--you at least deserve shared billing.
We're all familiar with the oxygen mask analogy of prioritizing ourselves, but Melissa gives it to us another way. She begins by helping herself, teaching herself. Then she takes it and shares and teaches it to others. But here's the subtle but crucial nuance: She takes care of herself first because she wants to, NOT simply so that she can help others.
See the difference? It's sort of like when we say, "I'm taking care of myself so that I can be a better mom or set a good example for my kids," when really, we need to flip it: Take care of yourself first BECAUSE YOU MATTER, and as an extra benefit, yep, you'll be a better mom, too.
Melissa affirms, "I'm going to help myself also coming from a place of I matter. I help myself and then therefore it gives me the capacity, the tools and the energy and desire to go pay it forward."
Mother Plusser Takeaways:
- Get curious about your thoughts, and follow that curiosity to change.
- Believe in yourself--you can count on yourself to ‘do the thing”
- Question your thoughts and interrupt negative patterns
- Unlearn what doesn’t work and find your feminine energy
- Your new motto; I Matter. Start small, start where you are.
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