FAST FORWARD TO 2011
There was a little precious girl who wasn’t so little anymore and she wanted to play basketball. If you read my last post, then you know I made the decision to be her support system and tackle it like a job. That meant one important thing – she was my client and I couldn’t have another “top client” in the mix. While that was a big decision financially it was a huge shift in the way we had operated in our ecosystem. It boiled down to one very fundamental idea – was I really going to continue to give the best of my talents to other people over my own daughter? Easy question to answer. And so began my journey to pour the best of me into what became my daughter’s basketball life.
YES IT WAS A ROUGH TRANSITION
For someone who had grown accustomed to living and traveling with a particular “status” I now found myself looking for something simple, repeatable, and able to keep the lights on. Crazy enough it came to me one day when I was having an embellished (bling) tshirt made for myself. I saw how wildly popular those garments were and thought it would be my easy niche. I knew how to market products and now I had a product. I read everything I could find on the net and yep you guessed it, I dived right in.
YES I WAS CRAZY
I think you have to have some daredevil-level of risk in you to shift in that way. I got the craziest looks from my colleagues as they whizzed by in their luxury cars and I simplified our lives down to one vehicle (God bless my Kia). I slashed our expenses and stayed focused. We didn’t have all that we wanted but we had all that we needed. I had a small home-based business that would generate enough money to keep us moving forward beyond our savings. I was determined to make this work because ultimately I needed to be emotionally available for my daughter and wrapping myself up with a high-powered client would not offer that opportunity. In my mind this needed to work.
THEN I CALLED AN AUDIBLE - HOME SCHOOL
As my daughter navigated the murky waters of middle school I realized one thing – I didn’t like middle school and I needed to shock her system. One of my Master’s courses focused on K-12 education and in particular the “great divide” that happens in middle schools across gender, ethnic, religious, and sexual preference boundaries. That’s a fancy way of saying, it gets ugly in middle school! I saw the rise of some challenging social issues that luckily my daughter was not involved with, but I didn’t want to wait for the wave of “ugly” to impact her. Through K12.com and their established and accredited curriculum, I was able to transition my daughter to home schooled learning at the start of 7th grade. So now I was blinging tees and double checking work progress. Oh yes, we shifted big time for the dream.
Again I will admit it helped I had advanced degrees in education (albeit my focus was always on adult education). Let me just say, all the fancy degrees on the wall don’t count for much if you can’t teach your own child! Home school meant I had a new dilemma – finding a “school ball” option for my home schooled daughter. Luckily there are some established home school sports organizations (Texas is actually very well organized) that made the transition easy (well…sort of). Home school means you’re the lunch lady, the principal, the bus driver, the teacher, the everything. Yes my little head wore many hats – and it was all because of my daughter’s goal. Home school created a mental shift in my daughter I could have never predicted – she began looking at things with an entrepreneurial spirit! Yes she broke out of the matrix and that was priceless. Lots of work on my end….but I just don’t know how else she would have gotten that lesson at that early stage in life without the home school experience.
HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED
In all of the great consulting gigs I had that paid very well – it was the lessons in this “gig” that paid off the most. First and foremost it is easy to make a successful production with a large enough budget – that’s the corporate way. Try flying all over the country (for two); getting into camps; attending games; watching practices (yes just watching the team practice); and much more. I learned creativity like no other. I believed I was always resilient, but the best lessons came when I needed my daughter to be resilient. That’s not a speech you can give, that’s something only an experience can create – and we had many of them to pick from.
Today I talked about this on my Twitter (@JennThibeaux) that we’re all climbing from where we are to where we’re trying to go. The unique lessons were me learning to value what I had to offer in barter for something else we may have needed (I began looking outside of boundaries in pursuit of our goals). Now my own negotiation skills improved exponentially during this journey. Yes I was the photog and camera lady at many events – and although I was tired, I was more than likely paying for something that suited our journey. My daughter learned to appreciate all that I did and it made us a stronger unit. For the task we had ahead – we had to be strong.
DID IT SINGLE BUT NOT ALONE
My daughter laughed at the way I would say, “I’m a single mother”. You’d just have to hear me say it in context because normally I would be expressing my shock with the number of requests I had for financial help (like I had a money tree). You know when people see you actively doing things, they assume money doesn’t matter. Yes I shouldered the brunt of the expenses and time required to support my daughter, but I must say there were some wonderful people in our corner that always made sure we never felt alone. And as for that money tree…I’m still looking for it (smile). I learned to exhale and take breaks when necessary because in a flash we had transformed everything about how we operated to get something different that we wanted out of life – it was a lot to take in at times.
BOUNDARIES, WHAT BOUNDARIES?
Probably the “it factor” we both had in this process was that we didn’t set boundaries on ourselves. We never felt like we had pushed ourselves too hard. I know swirling through my head was – if it is possible, we can get it done. Sleepless nights, delirious days, and long drives – we did do it all. It was very common to find me rebounding for my daughter at 2am at the local gym because she wanted to get more shots up. I drove home the point that if you work while “they” sleep you’ll get ahead of “them” – and she took it to heart!
We didn’t do it for a prize in the short term but for the outcome that is “yet to come”. It’s the “make it happen” attitude that was strengthened ten-fold during this process. I got it – and what’s going to be fun to watch is my daughter who already has it. It didn’t kill us….so yes it made us stronger.
That’s it for today. Our journey is not for everybody and this is not how to do it, this is me sharing “how” and part of the “why” we did it. Take care and make your journey #AMAZING
Jennifer "drJ" Thibeaux is an American author, publisher, speaker, and entrepreneur. Leading The Thibeaux Company®, drJ hopes to impact human performance in a variety of industries. Working with executives and key influencers in Fortune 100 companies, drJ has developed a keen sense of performance in action. Earning business and education advanced degrees, drJ continues to insert intelligence into the performance conversation. Hosting and appearing on a variety of radio shows, podcasts, and other broadcast mediums, drJ has no "stop" in sight. To find out more about Jennifer "drJ" Thibeaux or products and projects from The Thibeaux Company®, be sure to visit www.Thibeaux.org.