2013 turned out to be a year for learning and self-exploration. Since returning to Silicon Valley in 2011, I’ve undertaken to understand what matters most to me in this life and what steps I need to take to live in more alignment. As you’ll see in this recap, I experienced a lot of aha moments during 2013 but I did not always heed them—which gives you a hint at an area of focus for 2014 (up next week).
In January, I left my gig with Urban Darling and applied for a graduate certificate program in social enterprise management and impact investing. When I was accepted into the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) summer program, I was all set to go on a two- to six-month international field study after the classroom intensive.
But in March, after taking my mom to Costa Rica for her birthday, I realized that I was tired of international travel. (My husband and I traveled full-time during 2010 and 2011, which you can read about here.) My adventurous streak was winding down and my homemaking drive was skyrocketing. I resolved to stay in the States for my field study.
In May, while in Hawaii celebrating our anniversary, I prepared for FMS, completing a pre-assignment and reviewing/ranking field placement options (all of which were international). When I read about Educate!, a Ugandan social enterprise that promotes youth leadership and entrepreneurship, my intuition screamed yes! Not surprising given that I am an advocate (CASA) for foster youth, a wannabe adoptive mom and, for my pre-FMS assignment, I wrote about my dream social enterprise, which would provide entrepreneurial education for at-risk youth. Naturally, I ranked Educate! number one on my placement list…
But it was not meant to be. I was instead referred to an impact investor and thus began a lot of over-thinking regarding my field placement: Could I find something in the Bay Area? Educate! sounds like an amazing organization… Impact investing is difficult to get into; maybe I should just take the opportunity to try it since it’s been offered… You get the idea.
FMS consisted of 8+ hours of class followed by happy hour and networking followed by homework assignments…for 14 days straight. It was fabulous but I returned home exhausted and without my field placement decided. I had three options in play. Here’s another time where signs and intuition were present—but I wasn’t fully listening.
My first placement opportunity—scouting civic ventures for the Points of Light Civic Accelerator—came together easily. I was initially surprised that, although the work was outside my comfort zone, it called to me, and I ended up having a great time meeting social entrepreneurs and learning about their organizations all summer long.
I had reservations about the second option from the time it was mentioned, but one of the program directors literally told me, “You’d be a fool not to take it.” So I did, and it turns out I was foolish to go against my own inner wisdom. Total crash and burn.
While working remotely for the two organizations above, I was also in talks with Accion Venture Lab, a seed stage impact investor. Their Bangalore, India office needed help with pipeline development and due diligence of new investment opportunities, and I was invited to join them in November. This was a really tough decision because, on the one hand, I wanted to experience impact investing, but on the other hand, I was SO tired of travel. I ultimately decided it would be a good learning experience and that, after the crash and burn of placement two, I needed to “redeem myself.”
Looking back now, I have no idea why I felt I needed to redeem myself. POL was still happy with my work, after all, but there it is.
During the summer, I also felt called back to my work with Art Aligned and wanted to finally launch my self-study course for photographers. I’d put Art Aligned on hold during 2012 to work with Urban Darling, but it was wonderful to reconnect with that material and people who inspired me in the field.
At the end of November, I flew to Bangalore and have been working here with Accion ever since (while also preparing my Art Aligned Self-Study Guide to launch January 7th!). I was right that Accion has been a good learning experience, but I definitely miss home.
Travel – I need a break from living overseas and international travel. If I get any crazy ideas about going somewhere exotic later in 2014, feel free to remind me about what I just wrote!
Home – I adore my adopted home in California and I want to expand ties and deepen roots there.
Family – I’m also mentally ready to grow my family. One of my life callings is to adopt teenagers (yes, seriously!). Don’t look for any announcements just yet, though, because the next step is convincing my slow-moving, methodical husband to get on board this train.
Callings vs ego – I’ve been exploring callings for a few years now, through several outlets, including Tara Mohr’s Playing Big workshop. Late in 2013, the concept of ego started appearing in my consciousness, which culminated in reading a great article by Shelley Prevost just last month. As a result, I’ve gained such clarity on where I truly feel called vs. where my ego just thought I should be working. Look for lots of progress in this area during 2014.
- Success – Early in 2013, I realized that I had been allowing something that happened in 2007 to cripple me professionally. I felt on some level that I would be punished if I was too successful so I’ve been playing small. I started shifting on this throughout 2013 and am looking ahead to a brighter year in 2014.
Money – I was raised with a scarcity mentality. For years I’ve worked on this topic but it wasn’t until reading Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money this year that I felt a big shift. I now view money as a flow and look at life from a mindset of sufficiency.
Intuition – Intuition played a big role in 2013, but I frequently put it at odds with logic. In 2014, I resolve to deepen my understanding of intuition and its role in my life.
So, there you have it: My 2013 recap and realizations. If you made it through this monster post, I’m impressed. Kudos to you!
What about you? What did you learn or realize in 2013?
Happy New Year,