Move Forward Mama - Part One

My girls and I at the Chattanooga Aquarium in late 2017

My girls and I at the Chattanooga Aquarium in late 2017

As a coach, I sometimes get stuck in "coachy jargon." We love to say things like, "gain forward momentum," or "help you move forward" or "move towards your goal," but the fact of the matter is that so often, moving forward usually involves taking a few steps back. 

And I know that for most people, moving backward is not an appealing concept. 

Backward is where regrets may exist. 

Or where all your obstacles are.

Once you're there, it can feel like you're in a never ending downward spiral.

But the reason you have to sometimes take a step back is because there's a double knotted rope that ties you to certain events in the past. Events that shaped you in some way and planted a little seed of constant doubt. That little seed that says, "why bother" or "you can't do that."

For some, these events are rather miniscule. They recognize their blocks with the help of a coach and move forward without much difficulty. 

For others, this rope becomes the bane of their existence. They try desperately to ignore it because the pain and shame of why it's there is to deep, too painful, to acknowledge. 

But the brave will do it. They will strap on their boots and they will walk back into that cave with nothing but a dimly lit flashlight. (And maybe with a book by Brene Brown, clutched tightly to their chest.

On a personal note, I had to take a step back and examine this rope when I became a mom. 


My youngest around a year old.

My youngest around a year old.

Yes, it felt like the bravest thing I had ever done.

When all my efforts of being the "perfect" mom didn't pan out - and instead ended up in panic attacks and depression - I had to be brave enough to step back and figure out where it was coming from.

With the help of a professional therapist, I was forced to grasp that rope. It started off with me having to figure out why it was so hard to look at in the first place. It was exhausting, but not as exhausting as continually trying to bury the pain from my past. And it got easier. If vulnerability was a pool of water, you could say I not only went to the deep end, but I dug a hole under that deep end and kept going. 

After a time, I no longer felt helpless. And after a year of therapy and then another subsequent year of coaching, my mindset changed. My thoughts changed. My feelings changed. And my life changed.

I went from being someone who felt like I had no say in almost every capacity, to someone who was empowered to put up boundaries, to stay true to my values, and to always, always, always know there are solutions out there. 

Knowing there are solutions to every predicament, challenge, and problem has been the most mind blowing part of my newfound mindset. It is the very essence of empowerment. Vulnerability no longer scares me as much. Is there still more for me to explore and learn about myself? Yes, absolutely. Fear of judgement is still an undercurrent in my emotional life, but it doesn't dictate what I do and do not do nearly as much.

READ PART TWO, where I share how I started putting up boundaries (and how very hard that was), let go of perfection, and started finding solutions in everyday challenges. 

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Jennifer Stambolsky