My stepmother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in February of 2014. She was gone in December.
She and I didn’t always see eye to eye. In fact, our relationship throughout my adolescent and teen years was rocky and complicated. Even still, she was the person there when my menstrual cycle came on and I was going through puberty, showing me how to take care of myself. She is the woman who did my hair and took me shopping for the first day of school from the 1st grade until I was old enough to take myself.
Once I went away to college, and as I developed into an adult, the way we interacted changed. She and I had both been through trauma as children, and we finally learned to relate on that level, instead of being ashamed of the things we had in common.
She was the first person I called when I had questions about my pregnancy and when my newborn daughter was sick. My own biological mother wasn’t able to be there for me for most of my life, but my stepmom was.
She may not have wanted to be at times, but she was always there.
When she passed, I started my community of entrepreneurs, Courage to Earn, in her honor. There were so many things on my stepmother’s bucket list that she didn’t have the time to accomplish. All of her life, she took care of other people. My dad, my sister, me. Before she did anything for herself, she made sure every single person around her was good. Time ran out for her to complete her list when cancer took her from us way too soon.
My sister and I were / are heartbroken, and to this day I wish I could pick up the telephone and call her, or hop on a flight to see her. As much as I miss her, I often forget that I have a responsibility to myself and to my family to live life to the fullest while I’m here. I know how quickly situations can change, and still, I put off and I procrastinate, and I take the time that I have here for granted.
Tomorrow isn’t promised.
My life’s work is to empower women to ask for what they want. To believe in themselves, and to recognize their value, and to bask in the light of their greatness. Sometimes, I get inbox messages and emails that let me know that I’m fulfilling my mission. Other days, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do enough.
On those days, I see capable women second guessing themselves, or limiting their own growth, or being afraid to dream bigger. The concerns about looking “greedy” or upsetting someone by asking for more money hurt my heart. The arguments over petty issues, and how quick folks are to hop on and co-sign shadiness exhaust me.
I’m over it because life is about so much more than that.
And we aren’t promise any more time here than we’ve already had.
So I ask you (me) this: Are we taking advantage of the lives that we are working for?
I get it. We’re all busy. There’s so much to do each day, but letting go of some of the bullshit, eliminating the drama, not spending time on self doubt—that gives us so much more time to focus on the things that are important to you.
Don’t let your bucket list, your dreams, your goals, go unfulfilled. Work hard at the things you want and get rid of the things that are wasting your time. Fill that space with legacy building work, activities, and relationships.
That’s why I encourage women to “talk less, charge more”. Your time is valuable, and your gifts and talents can be better utilized doing something other than trying to barter for money. Know your worth. Expect your worth. Get paid, and take your kids on vacation. Make memories. Build relationships. Take care of yourself. Love on your spouse. Watch funny movies. Bake cookies. Learn a new language. Live.