From Overwhelmed to Owning It
An over-achieving student and task-master extraordinaire, Lauren had been in school full-time at a small private college in Minnesota double-majoring (of course), while also serving in leadership roles in multiple student groups. At one point, she was even working 5 part-time jobs at once in an attempt to fund her education.
A lot has changed for Lauren since then, including the fact that she joined me at Bossed Up Bootcamp last year. I sat down with Lauren to learn more:
Emilie: Thanks so much for taking time to share your story, Lauren! I see so much of myself in you, boss. Tell me – what happened after you hit burnout?
Lauren: In the summer after my sophomore year, I was working as a camp counselor at a summer camp for kids with special needs. Even though the job wasn’t easy, it was such a relief to not be constantly worrying about school – or how I was going to pay for school. So at the end of that summer, I decided to take time off from my studies to re-calibrate. I got a job as a full-time nanny and that’s where I’ve been for the past two years.
E: Wow! That’s a huge change – was it hard to step back from the traditional college track?
L: Tremendously hard. I grew up in a small town, where there weren’t a lot of opportunities. My whole life, people were always telling me I was smart and had so much potential, and that I just needed to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity I was given.
So I took that advice to heart, and once at college, there were so many opportunities presented to me I felt like I had to do it all to live up to everyone’s expectations back home. But clearly, that strategy wasn’t sustainable.
E: I’m so sorry to hear that, Lauren. What happened next?
L: Taking time out from school gave me room to breathe and re-assess. I started working with a coach, who asked me the big questions about what I really wanted for my own life. A few months later I flew across the country for Bootcamp, which I saw as my big commitment to really digging into those questions and making a plan for what’s next.
E: Awesome! So what was your Bossed Up Bootcamp experience like?
L: I walked out of that weekend with a rush of pure confidence. I had a direction and a step-by-step plan to get moving on it. It made all the difference in the world to sit down and be with other women in the Bossed Up community while getting the training and writing down – step by step – how we were going to start implementing it in our lives.
E: That’s fantastic! And have you taken those steps since Bootcamp?
L: Many of them, yes. The first one seems so small, really, but has had such a big impact. When I started envisioning the life I wanted – really considering what I wanted in my world beyond work – I knew I wanted a pet! I had always envisioned life with a kitty, so why wait? I’m happy to report that just a few weeks ago I adopted my 6-month-old kitten, Rory, and I could not be happier.
The much bigger news, of course, is that I’m heading back to school! I just transferred to the University of Minnesota and declared my major yesterday – Global Studies with an emphasis on human rights and social justice. I’m pleased to report that I’ve been able to negotiate flexible hours with my job to stay on working. The first time around I was so preoccupied about money and took on way too much at once. Now that I took time to reflect on what I really want and how I’m going to get there, I feel much more prepared to take a more sustainable approach.
E: Nice work, Lauren! I’m so happy for you.
L: It feels so much better to approach my education focused on what I want to get out of it – not just trying to perform for others or live up to these impossibly high expectations I felt before. Now I’m studying and working for me and what I want out of my life.