Choosing Love as a Career

Two years ago, I was likely lying on the floor of the back living room at 653 Loring talking to my best friend and roommate, Tyler, about how much I was dreading going to work the next day.  We must have had this same conversation upwards of 100 times.

Everyday, he would tell me the same thing: Why don’t you start your own business?  And everyday, I would look at him like he was nuts.  Doing what?  How?

At one point, we got to papering every wall of the front living room, brainstorming possible options of how I could make money while making a difference.  It all seemed like WAY too much for me – at least enough to keep me from being able to see past my steady paycheck and beliefs about climbing the corporate ladder.

But little by little, things changed.

First, I went to India.  From there, I realized I had to face the fact that I was just not passionate about corporate marketing.  Yes, that job made financial sense; it was challenging; and I worked with some wonderful, smart people.  But there was something powerful in me that was wanting to be let out to express in the world.

In May of 2009, I went on sabbatical from my corporate job for three months that flew by.  I did a yoga teacher training with the amazing Dharma Mittra in New York.  I didn’t know exactly what I would do, but I did know I wanted to work with people, especially teen girls.

And then, the lilypads started to appear.  I would always have to leap first, and then one by one, seemingly out of nowhere from that blind leap of faith – lilypad, leap, and then another.

While volunteering at a leadership conference for teen girls, I met JC Pohl, Producer of TEEN TRUTH.  Less than six months later, I was the Marketing Director for TEEN TRUTH, a company that does innovative and inspiring motivational assemblies in high schools and middle school all over North America.

Three months later, I launched the TEEN TRUTH LIVE: Body Image & Self Esteem tour as the speaker that would travel all over North America and tomorrow to Guam to raise awareness around issues teens face with being happy with themselves just as they are.

Three months after that, I felt another tug, and though I was petrified cutting that last cord of my “marketing career,” with JC and Erahm (the company’s Director)’s blessings, I stepped down as Marketing Director for TEEN TRUTH.

Four months later, aligned with my love for yoga and desire to serve teen girls, I would start a yoga and expression program at the San Diego Center for Children that would support the teens at the Center with emotional and behavioral challenges in finding a more peaceful, calm place of self-love within them.  That program would expand to include the kids 5-13 six months later.

Throughout 2010, I studied under life coaches, mentors, and yoga masters, did a lot of personal development work, and began facilitating womens circles, groups, and transformational courses.  I would coach a self expression and leadership program with an international personal development company.  And I would help dozens of friends launch businesses and find their passions.

In the fall of last year, it was time.  At the 2010 Women’s Conference I attended with my mom and some friends, I got a direct hit: You need to provide a space like this for young women and it’s called the Heart of Leadership.

And the internal battle began.  I first planned out this business as a summer camp for girls and then a non-profit.  Meanwhile, I was coming into alignment in all aspects of my life, being forced to confront and move through everything that was in the way of my becoming a heart-based entrepreneur.  All of the fears, all of the self-criticism and judgment, all the places in my life and relationships that were out of integrity surfaced.

And then, come January, I experienced an early spring – the Heart of Leadership was born.  What started with a 3-day download of the website has turned very quickly into a blossoming business plan, workshop series, and vision.

Today, I officially launched the website (http://www.heartofleadership.com) and the company.  Hooray!

No longer are there days where I lie on the floor complaining about going to work.  Instead, my first thoughts the minute my eyes open are of what the Heart of Leadership needs that day.  And yes, I do talk about the company as if it’s a child I’m nurturing.  I ask it what it needs, and I want to give it all I can to reach its fullest expression and service in the world.

It’s funny.  In the life I had planned for myself, I would have had an amazing husband, 2 kids, and a white picket fence by now.  Well, no white picket fence – just a nice ocean view.  Today, I don’t have any human kids and I’m not in a relationship, but I do have a career that I love like a child…and a nice ocean view.  I want to see the Heart of Leadership touch all the people it is meant to and serve in ways that change lives and communities.

Like any new mom, I’m often insecure and worried that I don’t know how to do this or that, but I also know that I have no choice but to do the best I can.  I imagine my parents felt that way when I was little, and though I have been through some intense challenges, I’m happy to be creating a life and purpose where I can touch others with all of the love my parents instilled in me.

Today, I can say I have chosen love as a career, and I know it will call me to make that choice again and again everyday.  I have made the excruciatingly difficult decisions that were necessary to leave the stability of corporate life and have moved through my own limiting beliefs of what was possible.  I still worry about whether or not people will show up or how this message will be received, but I now know that I can always bring myself back to faith.  Launching the website and my first programs today was another leap, and let’s see where, when and how I’ll land on the next lilypad.

To the many that have supported this transformation and birth, THANK YOU.  I love you.  Here’s to the continued journey.

Now off to pack for Guam and Saipan.

Love,
S

Addendum: Thought I’d check the horoscope for today…

If today is your birthday: Eliminating unproductive patterns that you’ve had for years will be your No. 1 goal in the year ahead. If you have the staying power, these old urges will be replaced by true productivity that’ll take you far.

Makes all too much sense.

4 Comments

  1. Christy Stevens on March 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    What an incredibly written account of your journey thus far. You are truly living your purpose of being of service to others and yourself. It is inspirational not only in the way of stepping up to play big but also by your ability to open to your light and shadow, thank them both, and continue moving forward. Those of us that receive your message in the big powerful way in which it is meant will be honored to be there to help make up this next lily pad.

    Love,

    Christy

  2. huck on March 7, 2011 at 1:35 am

    yes, christy, clearly you appreciates gold, and realize that lily pads sprout from sprinkled magic. stephanie is a pioneering visionary. i imagine all of us that dance to her music jump to provide super-support booster stones to fortify the path she steps to love and freedom.

  3. Stephanie on March 7, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Christy and “Huck” –

    Thank you for your thoughtful words and continued support. NONE of this would be possible without the incredible friends, family, and community that allow me to be me and help me to remember who that is when I sometimes forget. And in fact, you are the ones that make it all real, worthwhile…and FUN! It does take a village to raise a child.

    To the continued lilypad-hopping, magic-sprinkling, and more…

    All my heart,
    S

  4. Bill Armstrong on March 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

    What a wonderful and vivid description of transformation, the courage and trust it can take to be transformed, each combined with glimpses on the horizon of those transformed results into your life and the lives of so many you have and will continue to reach out and touch.
    In a very real sense, this is a beautiful sunrise peeking through the clouds on the horizon. Most certainly, this is the sunflower beginning to burst into bloom, ready to radiate its beauty for all to see.
    As we discussed on the cliffs of Torry Pines, the joy, essence and passion of my life in this world, especially my life as a parent, comes through reflections of who you are and who you are becoming. Yours is the ability to see strength from change. Yours is the commitment to create opportunity and possibility for yourself and others from that strength of change. Yours are the efforts which create dynamics without boundaries.
    The lives of young women will soon be touched, inspired, changed and empowered by the wisdom and caring within your Heart. This can now happen through the life you have created from the power of Heart in which you believe.
    A bite from that apple, “You are always on my mind:” timeless into the your life, changed; a time, perhaps, which will never change.
    Thank you for who you are!.

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