Posted on January 13, 2016
Let me start from the beginning…just stay with me for a bit. Eight months ago I made the decision to walk away from what many people, including me, believed was an awesome career. I’ve shared with you before that it was “the dream”. It was everything I had been working for 13 years to get to. The reality was, it wasn’t the dream…at least not the dream God had placed in my heart. The only thing that could help me get over my ego and be able to actually walk away from it, was my faith in God. I would love to tell you this was easy, and I heard His calling and just said, “okie dokie, I’m following your lead”. Nope, it was more like me kicking and screaming and crying and begging God to just make it all better. Surprise! He didn’t do that! In fact, it wasn’t easy. It was HARD. And yucky. And there were a lot of times that I doubted myself, and I doubted God. Luckily for me, and for you, God doesn’t leave our side. One day, God truly, gently said, “I have something perfect for you to do with your life, Caytie. You must trust Me.”
From the moment I walked out the door on the last day of my fundraising career, I decided to follow God’s path. Now, what’s funny about that is we all want God to lay out the plan perfectly in front of us. Oh, and we want it immediately. Like seriously, God, just tell me what you want, how you want it, what the result is going to be, and I will go do it. HA!!!! Nope. Doesn’t work that way. The truth is, it happens one moment, one day at a time. Over the past seven months, God has been positioning people in my life and planting seeds. I began to think and ponder and research and pray. You see, what God puts in your heart, He does answer with prayer and opening doors. My biggest prayer has been, what do you want me to do for a job. What does my new career look like.
In November, God used my friend to tell me to write. I knew immediately what that meant because I had been praying for a blog. But let me back up to three years ago. I was working with my awesome coach and I continued to say to her I feel like I am on a journey to become something. She suggested instead that I was on a journey of becoming. That there actually isn’t a final destination. That the journey and the growth is what it’s all about. I loved that! And for three years, it was my life motto. So when God told me to write, I knew it would be under the motto, phrase, guide of Journey of Becoming. Remember, I believe that both you and I are on a journey of becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be. So it was simple. Journey of Becoming was born.
Now, remember, at this point I had no clue where God was taking me. There were things He continued to put in my heart, but there was no glorious road map with complete turn-by-turn directions with the destination highlighted at the end. Each day, I continued to pray for the job, the career. What the heck was God pointing me to do with my life. Well, one day while learning about how to grow a blog, I started abbreviating Journey of Becoming. You see, I like to take a of notes. And I have abbreviations for all sorts of words. Some others may be able to pick up right away, some maybe not so much. So I just started writing JoB, JoB, JoB, over and over in various places of my notes. The next morning as I was praying, I wrote down in my prayer journal, JoB. Just like that I heard the Holy Spirit say, JoB is your new job…your new career. Tears, many tears, many, many tears. It is the most holy filled moment I have ever had in my entire life. You see, God wasn’t just directing my steps since May, since I left my career. No, God was directing my steps and placing things in my heart, well before I ever stepped out in faith to rely on His plan. Three years ago, I wasn’t worried about God’s plan. I was worried about my own to become “something”. God put my coach in my life to help me realize that I was on a journey of becoming.
I love the blog! It has been a huge blessing to me, but more importantly you have told me that it has been a blessing to you!! God placed two other very important things in my heart. First, I continue to see that Journey of Becoming would be much bigger than a blog. God is calling me to truly influence the lives of others. He has put other passions besides writing in my heart. Additionally, I kept seeing a visual slanted “X” with the question what is the intersection of faith and leadership. I would pray about this question. I would ask Shane what he thought it meant. I brought it up to friends and family. Heck, I even asked my twitter followers what it meant. I had zero clue, but I knew that it struck a cord with me and it is important.
I’ve been a leadership junkie for years! I have read books, been to meetings, taken classes, followed blogs, people on twitter, you name it when it comes to leadership, I have been right up in it. I have always thought of myself as a leader, and I have, for the vast majority of my career, wanted to get better at my leadership.
So what the heck does all of this mean?!?!!? I am almost there! I started researching the ideas that God placed in my heart and in my path. In fact, I thought I had discovered exactly where I was going not just once, but twice. Both times, God said, “not so fast, Caytie”. He presented me with one more option that clearly answered the question for me “what is the intersection of faith and leadership”!
I am super excited to announce that I have teamed up with John C. Maxwell, the #1 leadership guru, many years running, according to Inc. Magazine. Partnering with John and the John Maxwell Team, I will be certified to coach, train and speak on leadership, including his New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Currently, I am being trained by the top experts in the WORLD, including John, himself!!! What does this mean for you? Well, my goal for Journey of Becoming has been to add value to your life. To help you know that you are not alone. To help you realize that God is always with you. You have God-given talents. It is your job to cultivate those talents into strengths. If you are going to live into your life and become the best you, that you can become, you need to lean into your leadership abilities. Think about it, leadership is needed almost every where you turn. And I’m not talking about titles. There’s lot of people with titles who are craptastic leaders…I’ve met a few of them. I am talking about in your home, in your workplace, in your place of worship, in your community, your state, your country, the world. We need better prepared leaders. And the truth of the matter is, leaders are not born. The best leaders, work hard to become great. And you can do that too!
One of the gifts that God has given me is what Strengths Finder describes as a maximizer. According to Strengths Finder 2.0, maximizer is defined as, “…Strengths, whether yours of someone else’s fascinate you. Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength….And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it and stretch it toward excellence. You polish the pearl until it shines.” I am thrilled that Journey of Becoming will be a place for you to continue to learn and grow and stretch. I will be coaching individuals and small groups. I will be training and teaching groups of all sizes including companies, institutions, nonprofits, committees, faith based, mom’s groups, etc. You have a group, I can put together a training for you. And of course, I will be speaking!! I cannot wait to get in front of groups to share more information about leadership!! If you want more information let’s chat. Also, be on the lookout for an announcement about a virtual group I will be putting together to train.
Thank you to each of you for being part of this journey of becoming with me!! I cannot wait to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave your comments below, or drop me a quick email. Until then, remember that I am praying for you and your biggest prayers!
PS – One more thing that I couldn’t leave out. I am a big birthday person! My mom says I think my birthday should be a national holiday…I see nothing wrong with this idea. How did I know that John Maxwell was right for me? I will graduate with my certification on my birthday. Pretty awesome birthday present from God, if you ask me!!
Posted on December 31, 2015
Happy New Year’s Eve!!!! New Year’s Eve has always been one of my absolute favorite days of the year. I love looking back at the past year to marvel in all that happened, and at the same time looking forward with such excitement about what’s to come. I also love dressing up and doing something on New Year’s Eve. Confession: I bought fake eyelashes yesterday and I’m pretty pumped to rock them at dinner tonight!! HA!! I digress. So, can I tell you what I don’t like about a new year…setting a resolution. I’ve done it. I suck at it. I always fail. And it’s really annoying. Then I have those friends, like my friend Alana. She went an entire year without shopping. She did not buy one single thing for herself. Like nothing. Like no new clothes, no new shoes, not even a new necklace or pair of earrings. Now, some of you may think I’m shallow because I was so shocked by this…that’s okay, maybe I am. It wasn’t so much the shopping, it was that Alana, who is a total fashionista and doesn’t have a closet, but a whole room she calls her “styling room”, had the discipline to go an entire year and give up something that she absolutely loves. I love her will. I love her discipline. I am not like her. At all. I can’t do it. So what does this have to do with anything, much less the title of this post…I know SEO and all that stuff. I don’t set resolutions, but for 2016 I do have one word.
Posted on December 29, 2015
I don’t know about you, but it is crazy that in just three days it will be 2016. I still remember New Year’s Eve in 1999 when we were all worried about Y2K. I digress. This time last year, my life looked completely different. I was leading the fundraising team and efforts at a well known national nonprofit’s local organization. I was spending my week off between Christmas and New Years focusing on the year ahead. I was heading into the year searching for two more people to complete my team. Things were coming together and I was starting to get in my groove. Five months later, I would make the decision to not only leave the organization, but end the 13 year nonprofit fundraising career I had built. I would love to tell you that 2015 was all roses for me, but in fact it was a trying year. Coming to the point to make the decision I did was agonizing. And then once the decision was made I had to figure out what to do next. While I don’t think that 2015 was the easiest year of my life, I will go out on a limb and tell you it has been the greatest year in my life, thus far. Not because of all the reasons I thought it would be a year ago, but for all the reasons it turned out to be.
Posted on December 23, 2015
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is two days away! In just nine days, all that was 2015 will be over and 2016 will be here to greet us. It was almost 10 years ago, when a boss introduced me to the idea of a life list, which today many refer to as a bucket list. I loved the idea! Setting goals and working to achieve them around things that I actually wanted to do in my life seemed so exciting, so different than the goals I was setting (or let’s be real, had set for me) at work. Since then, this time of year has been very special to me. I was very fortunate in my past career to be able to have a lot of vacation time off for the holidays. This week I would be hustling and bustling around getting ready for Christmas. And the week after, I always set aside time to review my year and set new goals. Somewhere over the past five or six years I got more caught up in setting career goals, that I all but abandoned my life goals. I was too concerned with the next promotion, the next raise, the next big project, everything was wrapped up in work.
Posted on December 18, 2015
So you’re spouse wants to be an entrepreneur. Or maybe they already are one. What does that mean for you? Well, I’m here to tell you the real facts about what it’s like to be married to an entrepreneur – the good, the bad, and the ugly. First, let me start by saying that being in a relationship with someone who wants to own and run their own business is AMAZING!! This person is brave and braveness is a great attribute to have in a life partner.
According to our good friends over at Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of entrepreneur is “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money”. I love how they call it a “simple” definition. HA!! The full definition is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”. So just in case you haven’t caught on, risk is the name of the game. And brave is what your spouse is. What I have to tell you, is that you have to be brave, too. Some days that’s like a walk in the park. Other days, you want to get in your car and drive to the edge of the earth and never return.
I feel very lucky to call several of my friends, both women and men, also spouses of entrepreneurs. I called on them to give me their thoughts, and what they provided me was a mirror to my own life. So when I use the word “facts” to describe this lifestyle, I mean it.
Fact #1: There is no such thing as a 9 to 5 entrepreneur.
Yesterday was our 10th wedding anniversary. When we got married, I came up with the brilliant idea that we would take off our wedding anniversary and spend the whole day together doing fun, different, cool stuff. We’ve done this at least 7 times. Better than a great batting average, so I’ll take it. As my career flourished and I rose through the ranks, I amassed a ton of vacation. Taking one day off was easy peasy. For my husband, it can be like moving mountains…some years its like moving mountains when all you have to use is one finger (read: next to IMPOSSIBLE!). And yesterday was just like that. We had an 8:30p dinner reservation. We made it by 8:31p. And that was the first moment that he got to take a breath all day. My friend Katie says, “The boss works more than anyone.” Rachel says, “He will spend as much time with me as he can – eating dinner together or having our morning coffee together but then he will stay up super late after I go to bed or get up at 4:30 in the morning when he can’t sleep cause he is thinking about all the work he has to get done.”
An entrepreneur will pack more into 24 hours than is humanly possible. My friend Heather puts it best saying, “You work is always with you – you never get to ‘clock out’ and forget about work until you clock back in.”
Fact #2: It’s not just about your family, it’s about their team’s too.
I’ve managed many people over my career. I’ve had the chance to know my team members professionally and personally. As a fundraiser, my job was always about the bottom line. Without money coming in, nonprofits don’t provide services and they can’t employ people. But an entrepreneur’s team is different. Your spouse will worry about his/her team’s families just like they do yours. When business is great, it’s great for their families too. When it’s not great, your spouse will take on the burden. They are the leader. They know their employees trust them, that’s why they went to work for the company. The flip side to this is that the team members who work for entrepreneurs really are working to build your spouses dreams. That’s huge to me! The team really does become like a family.
Fact #3: You will become an expert in your spouse’s business.
As my friend Heather, who is an entrepreneur and married to an entrepreneur, puts it, “Even if you have another career, you will get sucked into working for the business. And it’s unpaid work, of course.” It’s true!!! My hubby owns a glass and mirror company. I know how to install a frameless shower door. That handle on your shower door that you open every morning, yep, I know how to screw one of those on so that you don’t ever see the screws. My friend Michelle’s husband, Scott, is in the boardgaming business…I know, I think it’s cool too! She uses her vacation time to help him out at his conventions and a huge trade show they participate at in Germany. I think my friend Emily puts it best, “It’s not his business, it’s the family’s business. While this seems intuitive enough, it’s sometimes easy to forget that our family depends on the success of the company.” Not only will you become an expert, but in turn you will become one of your spouse’s greatest salespeople. You will tell every single person you know about what your spouse does. You will figure out ways to bring it up in conversations. You will look for connections that could be a fit for the business. The business will be like another limb, always with you.
Fact #4: Your role will be CLEO: Chief Listening and Encouragement Officer
Remember when I said your spouse was a brave person. And I said you were too. Well, sometimes in the midst of all this bravery while they are “managing the risk”, your partner will be faced with challenges. There are times when you will play the role of adviser and you will actually have the opportunity to give advice. And then there are the times that you have to keep your mouth shut and not necessarily say what you are thinking. Heather says, “Work becomes very personal since it’s your finances, risk, and reputation on the line. You life revolves around your business(es).” And because it’s so personal, the listening and encouraging becomes necessary. Now, I will be the first person to tell you that I have flat out told my husband what I think he should do many times. A few, okay let’s be real, more than a few of those times I probably should have done more listening than advice giving. My friend Rachel says, “He’s doing it for you, your family and your future. Don’t harp on him and make him feel worse.” Neither Rachel nor I have ever been accused of being wallflowers, and we certainly aren’t advocating for that, but it is true that sometimes the listening part of your CLEO role will be the most critical.
And I love how my friend Emily puts it, “The responsibility of being an impromptu counselor – to listen, not necessarily advise – can come up at any time. It doesn’t matter what else is going on at that moment, if that is the moment that my spouse is finally willing and able to open up about what has been stressing him out, then he becomes the priority. It’s a challenge to balance my response (i.e. instead of multi tasking or asking him to wait) and refocus my full attention on him in those moments, but has proven to be one of the most important and supportive things that I can do as his partner. It helps him thinking through the situation and 9 times out of 10 results in resolution or a plan that he couldn’t get to thinking through the issue on his own.”
Fact #5: Time with your spouse and family will be invaluable.
Of course, time with your spouse is always invaluable, but when your spouse is on 24/7 eating, breathing, and sleeping their business, time will be the greatest gift that you have. My friend Kelli, who has two kiddos under four and is expecting another one, and has her own full-time career has been able to see the big shift. Her husband just recently started his business. Prior to this he had always been in corporate America (or as I like to call it the land of health insurance, lower taxes and vacation days 😉 ). Kelli says, “I have learned that life with a partner is much easier than life without a partner. Life with Dave around was relaxing and for the most part stress free minus the stupid arguments here and there. In the past, I never had to manage my stress level because I had a companion riding the roller coaster with me, but when he opened his company I have learned that I DO ACTUALLY get stressed. Being with the kids 90% of the time by myself has opened my eyes to the silly arguments that I use to have with Dave. I no longer care about that anymore. I just care that he spends the time that he does have at home with his family.”
Shane and I schedule time together. It goes on our calendars and we try to protect it. We turn down invitations with others so that we can spend time with each other. Sometimes I go to work with him just so we can hang out (he spends a lot of time driving so I’m not interrupting work).
Fact #6: Being married to an entrepreneur really is pretty damn great!
Yes being married to an entrepreneur is hard, really, really hard. But it is really, really great!! Michelle uses the word “blessing” and Emily says it’s a “gift”.
While owning your own business doesn’t necessarily mean spending everyday playing golf or at the spa, for many there is a great deal of flexibility. Scheduling meetings around spouses careers or kiddo stuff is easier when you’re the boss. Emily who has a very demanding career, also spends a lot of time volunteering. She says she “can’t express in words what it has meant for him to have flexibility to be able to support my career and support our home life when I’ve been focused on work or volunteer work.”
Your spouse employs people which in turns builds our economy. Pretty cool, if you ask me!
Sometimes you get to travel to super cool places because of their work. Michelle gets to go to Germany every year! The glass convention is held in Las Vegas…not a bad gig for me.
Once you get the bug, it often turns into more businesses. When I started this blog, Shane said “go for it!”. There was no hesitancy, no worry, just a big yep, take the risk. Heather and her husband are serial entrepreneurs. They have bought, sold, and built many companies. And their daughters are watching this. They get to watch their mommy and daddy take risks, be brave, and reap the rewards.
It really is true. The greater the risk, the better the reward.
Emily says it best, “It takes strength and unconditional trust from both parties. Running your own business is not for the faint of heart!”.
Now, I know that it may look weird that all of my subject matter experts happen to be female. For the record, I asked several of my guy friends whose wives are entrepreneurs, but didn’t get their feedback. So to all of you women who are reading this who are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, I suppose your husband will be too busy taking care of the house and kids to respond. Go get em girlfriend!
I want to thank my friends Katie, Rachel, Heather, Michelle, Emily and Kelli for sharing their thoughts with me! These women are all badasses in their own right, and their spouses should consider themselves lucky to have such great partners!!! Check out their entrepreneur’s websites below!
As you all know, I have dedicated my life to serving God. I believe in His purpose for me. A huge part of that purpose is being the wife of an entrepreneur. Just like I pray for each of you reading this blog, I pray for my husband’s company, his team members, his clients and his vendors. I have every single bit of faith that even when things get challenging with the business, that God is directing our steps.
What are you experiencing being an entrepreneur or spouse of an entrepreneur? Would love to hear in the comments below!!
PS – Don’t forget about my giveaway running now through December 24th!
Updated on December 18, 2015
Happy Thursday friends!!!! As you know, everyday I am on a journey of becoming what God has called me to be. I am thrilled that you are joining me on this journey!!! Forty days ago, God called me to start writing this blog. Prior to this calling I was reading The Circle Maker and participating in Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge both by Mark Batterson, pastor at National Community Church in Washington DC. As I have shared with you, the entire reason I started this blog was because of these two books and what God was calling me to do in my life.
Updated on December 7, 2015
I get asked this question all the time…how do I find a charity to support. With over 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the US, it’s hard to know where to start. Who’s good, who’s not, and most importantly how do you define “good charity”. After 13 years working for nonprofits, I’ve learned a thing or two about how you can find the charity that’s right for you to support. And the fact that up to 40% of individual giving happens in December, and most of that giving happens the last three days of the year, I thought this would be timely to help you get started. Read More
Posted on December 5, 2015
As I have shared with you, prayer has completely transformed my life. It changed the way I think, how I interact with others, how I treat myself, how I believe in myself, how I believe in others, and most importantly, what my purpose is. People have asked me everything from how do you pray to how do you know what to pray for. All great questions! Prayer triggers can be a powerful tool to be in the presence of God more often and with greater purpose. Just like a calendar reminder dings to tell you to go to the next meeting or pick up the little one from school, prayer triggers are dings that go off in your daily life, that remind you to pray. Simple as that!!
Let me start though with these two verses:
- “Pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
Prayer isn’t something you do just on Sundays. For those of you in the corporate world, you may think of prayer like your strategic plan. How many times have you been in a room when someone says, “we aren’t going to do all of this work on the strategic plan and then sit in on a shelf to collect dust”? Prayer isn’t a binder or book or plan that comes out once a quarter or once a month or even just once a day and then goes back on its spot on the shelf. Prayer is something that when you pray continually becomes a part of every single thing you do. And I’m not throwing stones in a glass house here. I’ve been the girl who just prayed during holy holidays. And I’ve been the girl that was great at praying on Sunday mornings. But now I am the girl that is trying to pray continually, in all things. And I fail daily. But the more time I spend in prayer, the closer I get to God. And the closer I get to God, the more I hear Him guide my life. And the more that happens, the more I realize that His plan is far greater than anything I have EVER imagined!
The other thing though is how do you pray? What do you pray for? What do you pray about? Very simple…you need not worry about that. Simply ask God, teach me to pray. That’s it. It’s like 2+2=4. Simple math. God + you asking God to teach you to pray = God teaching you how to pray, what to pray, why to pray, all of it!
Here are 10 easy triggers you can put into your daily life to help you pray more often:
- My favorite!! And I’m not sure why I’m starting with my favorite, but why not?!? Pray every time you use water. Every time. When you drink water, when you brush your teeth, when you wash your hands, when you go to the bathroom, when you shower, when you go swimming, every time you use water. This one will keep you praying a lot and a lot of random times throughout your day!
- Pray every time you are at a red light or stop sign. It’s a natural pause in our day. Go to God during that pause.
- Pray for your spouse or future spouse every time you see a woman in a wedding gown and a man in a tuxedo. I’m not just talking about when you are at weddings. I’m talking about during every movie or TV show, flipping through a magazine, perusing people.com, any time.
- Pick a random time that is important to you. I personally pick 3:16 because my birthday is March 16th. Any time I see a clock that says 3:16, I say a prayer.
- Every time your phone rings or you get a text message. Say a prayer for the person on the other end. Sometimes the prayer is for myself…you know, just depending on who it is on the other end of the line 🙂
- Say a prayer every time someone cuts you off on the road. Depending on where you live this may be easy or difficult. Praying when someone cuts me off helps me to remember not to honk or think badly of the person in front of me. Hey maybe they are just having a bad day.
- This is a pretty widely used trigger that most people know, but it’s worth repeating. Pray every time you eat. Give God thanks for that food!
- Every time your calendar reminder dings, say a prayer. The great thing about this prayer, is that you can begin to incorporate your interactions with others. Praying over your calendar has become such a powerful thing for me that I had never thought of. Now my intention is to go to every meeting, every lunch, every interaction with others with a prayerful intention. I ask God to show up and be in our presence. And I’m not just talking about work, I’m talking about every interaction. Great example, I’m going to volunteer this afternoon. This morning, I prayed that God would be present during that time with every single person I may encounter or talk to.
- Pray every time you open social media. Facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter, snapchat, the others that I’m just not cool enough to know about. Before you engage on any social media, before you hit the app or open the browser, say a quick prayer.
- So if the water challenge prayer listed in number 1 is too much, start small. Pick just one of the times you use water and pray then. It may be praying when you brush your teeth. Or just when you drink a glass of water. I want to end with this one, because the reality is, most of us in the developed world use water a lot. This is also a powerful time to pray for people who don’t have access to water.
Know that one of the things that I do every single day is pray for you…yes YOU!!!! Every day, I pray for your hardest and deepest prayers. Though I do not know what is on your heart, our Lord does. I hope that these prayer triggers help you pray continually. And when you are ever in doubt, just ask God to teach you how to pray.
PS – What are other prayer triggers you are using?!?!? Comment below and let us know!! I would LOVE to add more to my repertoire 🙂
Posted on December 2, 2015
Yesterday was a huge day for Shane and me. Yesterday we picked up the three keys to his new building. As you know, Shane is an entrepreneur. For 13 years, he has worked long and hard to grow his company. He has sacrificed blood, sweat and tears. (Just a note if you think owning your own business means playing golf four times a week, you clearly haven’t built one from scratch. Maybe someday that will happen, but in the beginning, it’s not necessarily all roses.) We have been very fortunate to have our company located on his parents property. The landlords are great and the rent is cheap! Over the past year, Shane has realized that in order to achieve some of his goals and dreams, he needs more space. I have been praying for this move for over a decade. You see, his current location is over 40 miles away from our home. When you are married to someone who owns his business you are use to early mornings and late nights. But add a 45+ minute commute and it gets to be a bit annoying sometimes. For years we have had conversations about moving, where to move, when to move, why to move, why not to move. Some of these conversations were down right exhausting. You see, I personally like to have things happen the way I want them to happen. So instead of having faith and trusting God’s timing, sometimes I try to just push my will through. Well, it certainly did not work with this. And then this year, things started to fall into place. With me walking away from my career, I suddenly had much more time to help Shane with some of the things that he just doesn’t have time to do. More and more he started to think about moving. And more and more I started praying for it.