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Over the course of my career I have had some really strange and severe illnesses. One year I spent 4 months battling whooping cough and it took a hefty dose of steroids to finally kick it. I had the flu at least a half dozen times, strep throat, run-ins with fifths disease and other "rare" illnesses for a "healthy" adult. All of these illnesses, on top of, the few-times-a-year head colds, sore throats, sinus infections, persistent coughs, you get the gist. The crazy thing is, since departing my former career and it's associated stresses, I have been quite healthy! The worst I can point to was a subtle cough, arguably a more-often-than-normal throat clearing, which disappeared after a few days and didn't slow me down in the least.

Stress is defined as: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

Can you relate?

According to a summary of a few articles (*sources below):

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.

  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace.

  • Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.

  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Now, I am not suggesting you up and quit your day job so you can eliminate stress, as there are plenty of stresses that come along with changing jobs or unemployment, financial and "what's next" being the prominent. Additionally, your work may not be the main source of your stress. There are some immediate considerations, however. Is the stress of your work manageable? Are you doing everything in your power to mediate stress like working out, getting good sleep, eating healthy, spending time with loved ones, meditating, the list goes on?

Based on the illnesses that passed through my body every year multiple times a year, and the stark contrast to my lack of illness this year, I think it is safe to say that the stress of my job was not manageable, and I was not managing that stress well. It took me 17 years to figure that out, and re-prioritize my health and general well being, over a career that seemed very important to me all those years.

Life as an entrepreneur is not stress-free by any stretch of the imagination, there are many, if not more shades of stress. However, my own personal assessment of myself is that I am living my days in pursuit of my passion, I am engaged in life, I am present, I am grateful. I am also much kinder and more gentle on myself, since I am my own performance reviewer. I don't sweat it when things aren't done, or when the inspiration may not be there, or when things don't go perfectly. I don't force it, tomorrow is a new day. I have started looking at my body differently, (perhaps in part due to my skiing injury), it is imperative for it to be healthy for my business to thrive. Working out is part of my daily work tasks, something I used to consider purely a luxury. Building and engaging with my community is part of my job, which keeps me invigorated. I pretty much hang out with badasses for a living, how invigorating is that? And resting my mind is essential to innovating and creating, so that has become part of my workday repertoire as well. When the workday is over, I am much better at un-plugging. I am a Wife and Mom 1st and a Business Woman 2nd. My husband and kids get my full attention when we are together. I know for certain that was not the case previously. So I think you could say I have less or no Mom guilt.

I have built these things into my life and my workday, as part of my work, and they are, apparently, keeping me healthy. This is something everyone can do regardless of where you work or who you work for. It is something I certainly wish I had done for the last 17 years. I clearly could have avoided some debilitating and aggravating illnesses that, ironically, were counter-productive to my work. So I will leave you with this: what 1 change are you going to implement in your workday, as part of your work, to keep you healthy?

If you like this post, please click the heart or leave us a note in the comments! For further discussion meet our community in the forum.

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* Sources:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Fact Sheet on Stress."

American Heart Association: "How Does Stress Affect You."

Mayo Clinic: "Stress: Constant stress puts your health at risk."

March 14th marked the official launch of prettysmart+badass. The event was "made so" and went off with a bang. The Denver Art Museum was closed to the public and was a gorgeous setting for guests. The space is beautiful in and of itself, yet was beautifully adorned with arrangements by the Perfect Petal. Pink bubbly was passed, cocktails flowed, hors d'oeuvres were served and the human connection commenced.

Guests included: a badass who runs a marketing division of NBC, lawyers & doctors, women who rock the tech world, a badass who changed the way we vote--- significantly increasing voter turnout meanwhile reducing costs in CO, and now she is going state-to-state to help others. There was a head of school, heads of households, and teachers, badasses who are shaping our future by positively influencing our younger generation. There were business owners and entrepreneurs, the owner of The Perfect Petal and the owner of Bar Helix were present among others. And there was this gorgeous, bright array of rising stars. Women who will become CEOs, board presidents, business owners, moms, even the President of the United States. And there were men. Men who want to elevate themselves by embracing badass women.

The program was kicked off by Dana Grinnell, Founder + Fellow Badass of prettysmart+badass.

  • She introduced the pillars of the COMMUNITY: Aspire, Inspire, Admire, Lift.

  • The MISSION was articulated. To help women exploit their inner badass professionally, physically, and in life. Education via: a virtual platform, local ed events with no topic being off limits, parties with an emphasis on creating experiences that bring people together, retreats, and a summit, bringing men and women together to gain knowledge with the intention to elevate everyone.

  • The founder went on to discuss the VALUES of the organization. Accessibility, giving back, and including men.

She introduced special guest Courtney Montague, business partner to Kelsey Montague Art. Courtney gave a beautiful recount of her journey in business which was a tale of failure, failure, success. She touched on work life balance, prioritizing future passive income streams, and left the audience with the advice of "let your concept prove itself to you, rather than push it".

Leslie Herod was the 2nd guest speaker and inspired the guests by sharing her own self-doubt that a black, lesbian woman could run for office. She stood before the guests between a bill that she presented and the vote to prove her own self-doubts wrong. She is the first african american LGBTQ elected official in Colorado. She commented on the meaning of prettysmart+badass to her. Making no apologies for her own feminity, intellect or empowerment she exclaimed that girls and women can be all of the 3 and we should embrace that.

The Dior doors opened and guests had private access to the exhibit. Conversation and human connection continued. Women were exchanging business cards, setting up future dates for coffee and lunch, more established women were sharing insights and lending advice to rising stars, and men basked in the bright light of a room full of badasses sharing their own support and perspectives. At the conclusion, guests were ushered down the stairs equipped with a branded swag bag full of items donated by women owned businesses, and a list of future events by prettysmart+badass. The event was truly a vision turned reality and the perfect way to mark the launch of a company that intends to tackle gender diversity in a constructive, approachable, no BS manner for men and women.

If you liked this post, click the heart or leave a comment!

#denverevents #femaleevents #womenevents #womenretreats #womennetworking

#womeninbiz #womeninbusiness #businesswomen #businesswoman #womenempowerment #Shemeansbusiness #womencommunity #femaleempowerment #femaleentrepreneur #femaleentrepreneurs #mompreneur #womensupportingwomen #womensupportwomen #bosslady #bossbabe #bossbabes #entrepreneur #momlife #womenwhorule #savvybusinessowner #inspiringwomen #goaldigger #dior #diorexhibit #denverartmuseum #denverartmuseumdiorexhibit #leslieherod #courtneymontague #kelseymontagueart #whatliftsyou #ohwhatanight

One of the most amazing things that has transpired since I left corporate America is reconnecting with old colleagues and friends. Many have experienced parallel journeys, journeys I was oblivious to when I was enveloped in my bubble, journeys I am now inspired by and can relate to.

Susan was a senior leader at my former company. She was one of the best. I never hesitated to put her in front of my customers. She always upheld her commitments and truly added value to my business. I remember hearing that she was leaving the company and had this overwhelming feeling of disappointment, like there was a chink in the armor of a company I drank kool-aid from daily. I could not believe they would let her leave. Meanwhile, now knowing or understanding the rationale and the conflict behind her decision, I see the beauty in her choice.

Reconnecting years later she shared this journal article with me, and I wanted to share it with you. As you read her words, her story, can you relate? Are you sacrificing your soul for something that keeps you tied to your employer? If it weren't for money or a car or benefits, would you still be there? Take a listen:

I remember very clearly the peace that I felt when I made the decision to leave my longtime corporate career. Although in hindsight I can see now that this really wasn’t a decision about my career, but rather a decision to live congruently within my soul. I had a certain amount of time to think things through before committing to my decision to leave.

My mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis had initially been my wake-up call and it was very evident that she needed additional care and oversight. Even then, as the deadline of my decision approached, I would waver and question myself. Could I really leave my career? 28 years invested? A lucrative job that offered financial “security”? My children were still finishing or soon heading off to college?

On and on, the doubts persisted…. such that, I even began to rationalize that my mother would probably be just “fine” despite increasingly strong evidence to the contrary. I ventured out in nature as I usually do when I need to quiet my mind and listen to my innermost voice. I decided to go on a long hike on a nearby mountain trail in hopes of gaining clarity. As I was descending the trail, I was still vacillating as to whether to leave my corporate job. I stopped for a moment in my tracks and just simply asked myself, “If it wasn’t for the money, would I be doing this job?” The answer was, “No” and it was accompanied by a very peaceful feeling throughout my entire body.

Despite not knowing (and somewhat fearing) what exactly all the answers were, I knew that I wanted to maintain that peaceful feeling. This feeling of inner peace would be my new barometer. It would be my new “feeling” checkpoint, should I start to waver again in my decision, and I did waver again. Multiple times.

Despite feeling resolute and peaceful with the decision I made during my hike on the mountain, doubts would invariably creep in as my deadline soon approached. Indeed, I would catch myself rethinking, overanalyzing, and of course, begin wavering. I “checked” myself most of the time when anxious feelings arose about my fears of an unknown future and shifted my focus instead to the inner peaceful feeling I had during my moment of feeling congruent with my soul on the mountain. Yet still, I wavered.

One specific “waver” transpired just about a week later after my epiphany on the mountain. I was driving to the airport for a business trip in my new company provided vehicle. About 8 months prior to entertaining any thoughts of leaving my corporate job, I had elected to upgrade to a nicer company vehicle for $3,600. The car was delivered just a few months prior to my decision to leave.

The car was fun to drive, nice, and brand new! Could I really give it up? Let alone, could I get my money back? Nonetheless, here I was bartering with my soul over a $3600 non-refundable upgraded new car! I shocked even myself. I then laughed out loud at myself when I became conscious that I was seriously entertaining reversing my decision over a vehicle!

The ego can be a formidable foe when faced with real dynamic change or fears of the unknown. However, this time my soul persevered and I followed the soothing, comforting feeling that inner peace provides when living congruently within it. I submitted my resignation to the company just a few weeks later. Within days of my resignation, I was driving down the road in a 10-year-old vehicle with 90,000 miles on it that we had used to transport kids, dogs, etc. over the years. I couldn’t have been happier.

-Susan Allen

Thank you Susan for sharing your experience with our community!!!

I hope you found her experience insightful. Whether you are in the perfect occupation with the perfect employer or the contrary, it is always good to do a barometer read. Make sure your work is feeding your soul and that you are there for reasons beyond financial or fringe benefit. If the answer is no, sit in the driver seat and boldly, bravely, turn towards the unknown. Your soul is worth it!

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