I was discussing college with my eldest last week and mentioned that I had considered going to law school at one point. He was surprised and it led to a lot of questions about careers and choices. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career path since leaving the hallowed halls of Southern Methodist University over 20 years ago. The beauty of hindsight is that it brings clarity and understanding. It’s a gift that you receive after taking the time to reflect.
I keep using the term, Nibal 5.0 (N5.0). It refers to how I look back on my path and see the different iterations and seasons of my life. It’s a reminder to me that our purpose isn’t tied to any one thing we do but more about the way we encounter life and how we use our gifts.
I started my career (N1.0) in the nonprofit sector. I worked with several organizations focused on training and development, marketing and communications, and fundraising. After five years in the nonprofit world, I made the decision to jump into the corporate world to see if I could swim in that big ocean. N2.0 took me to the technology sector where I managed web and software development projects.
And then I got pregnant! I had all intentions of returning to work at a company and position that I loved. But then I held my little baby in my arms and just could not do it. And that’s how N3.0 happened. I call it the accidental homemaker phase as I had no clue that this was in me. I have spent the last 13 years raising three children and making a home for our family.
N4.0 was the biggest surprise of all. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would work in direct sales and network marketing. As I prepared to send our youngest off to Kindergarten three years ago, I began to look around for a job. As I networked with friends and scoured the job boards, one thing became glaringly apparent to me – I could not give someone outside our family the power to decide our priorities. I had to be my own boss.
A fellow preschool mom shared Arbonne with me and I’m forever thankful to her for introducing me to this amazing company. Not only do I love all their products (yes, ALL!) but I have grown so much in the past three years. What most people don’t know about being in a network marketing/direct sales company is that you can earn a lot of money working when you want and how you want. And even better than the financial compensation is all the personal development that you receive along the way.
And this brings us to Nibal 5.0. In case you haven’t heard that story, you can read all about it here in my first blog post.
So why am I telling you all this? There really is an important point that I’d like to make and it came to me as I read this scripture passage a while ago. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
My original life plan, which was conceived in my late teens, was to graduate college, work on Capitol Hill for two years, and then go to law school. Obviously, that didn’t happen! I did graduate from college but the rest of my plan did not come to fruition. Somewhere in my head, I had created a script for success that was synonymous with this particular plan. Hence, any departure from that plan was considered a deviation or a diversion. For too long I looked back on my life and all I saw were detour signs.
Detours are inconvenient. They are indirect. And they are usually temporary (insert joke about highway construction in Texas here!). But my life has been none of those things! It has been full and interesting. Rather than a detour, it has been a scenic drive that has provided me with a wealth of relationships and experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
As you look back on your life, what words are you using to define your path? Do they bring joy or do they leave you empty? Our words are so important, especially those we use to tell ourselves who we are. Give yourself the gift of hindsight. Take some time to reflect on your life and write down all the gifts that you have received along the way. I bet you’ll see a complete and beautiful picture.
The stories we tell ourselves either build us up or tear us down. I hope that you’ll decide, as I have, to “consider it all as joy.”