Usually the signs aren’t this clear, but we should still look out for them…
As a new small business venturer, I’ve been networking a lot lately. This means sharing my professional story and why I’m taking this leap of faith to pursue my passions (a key to success according to $100 Startup).
Becoming a Simplicity Parenting Coach and writer/blogger simply feels like what I need to do to help my own family reach our potential and while being a resource and inspiration to other families in the process. It also feels like an evolution of my career. So, here’s my story about developing my career, which has been defined by pursuing my passions:
I was in 8th grade when I decided with some conviction that “I wanted to grow up to be an environmentalist.” During my freshman year I truly fell in love with writing, but I couldn’t picture myself ever being an author in the traditional sense. I continued to love writing and all things environmental throughout high school and college. Yet, I grew up in a very small logging community in Southern Oregon during the height of the spotted owl controversy. So, instead of being vocal about my philosophical/political opinions, I focused my energy on writing and leading by example or at least that’s what my guidance counselor observed about me. I made practically every paper I wrote in high school into some type of environmental research report (I was initially inspired by writing a “history” paper about Earth Day). I also loved kids and babysat practically full-time.
In college I worked toward a double major in Environmental Studies and International Studies, and I pictured myself working/living abroad on climate change policy. I spent my senior year volunteering for the Greenhouse Network presenting a speech about the personal impacts of climate change on college campuses. My senior year I remember my extended family skeptically asking me what I was going to do with such degrees, and I boldly told them that I wanted to work for a non-profit in Portland doing climate change advocacy. Then, even to my own surprise, I landed a job doing just that starting two weeks after graduation.
A year later I was lucky enough to attend a U.N. climate change conference in Germany. Yet, rather than inspiring me to pursue a career internationally, it made me realize just how intractable the global negotiations truly are and that I would end up feeling ineffective and burnt out if I followed that path (plus, Bush was in power and just two months later, after 9/11, my grant funding ended). I then became convinced that my best shot at influencing change would be at the local government level. (My twin sister was in Peace Corps at the time and continues to be a globetrotting professional…currently helping with the relief efforts in the Philippines).
So, after reaching my peak in the non-profit sector, I went back to graduate school to earn my Master’s in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle’s Center for Creative Change. The program truly blew my mind open. I learned about how to create social change from a system thinking perspective, plus honed my writing and collaboration skills.
As hoped for, I announced that I was pregnant at graduation. I left academia behind and embraced motherhood. Yet, with immense student debt and a desire to make my mark in local government, I went to work for the City of Portland. I’ve advanced in several community-oriented positions over the past seven years, and even though I’ve had a few inspiring projects that I’m proud of, I reached a point where I could no longer tolerate working for an intolerant manager. Plus, the deeper I got into local government, the more I believe that I will be most effective at inspiring social change by focusing on my family and community.
So, that’s the lengthy background on how/why I was primed to embrace Simplicity Parenting. I care deeply about creating a sustainable society, but that can only happen one family at a time. So, I want to focus my energy on intentionally questioning the status quo. I want to inspire families in my community to find fun ways to create meaningful family values, lessen our carbon footprint, and celebrate simplicity.
And no, I’m not expecting to get rich quick with this aspirational business plan (breaking even is the first goal!). But I do know that I’m already experiencing more genuine abundance and joy in my life than ever before. I hope you will join me on this journey.
So, if you live in Portland, I hope you’ll give yourself and your family the gift of simplicity this season…please consider signing up for my upcoming workshops with your spouse or a friend.
Your path to Simplicity Parenting may well be less philosophical and more practical, but I’m certain that your family will gain a newfound appreciation of the simple, but profound, joys of embracing simplicity.
@Darcy’s Utopia – Creating Utopia Together