6 minute read

Career or Family? Why Not Both?

BY KRISTA WELLS, THE MILITARY SPOUSE COACH®

When I dropped my kids off at preschool, I thought I would see my new coaching clients from 9–12 and then be a mommy for the rest of the day… but the clients I was attracting to my business also had day jobs and wanted to come at 6pm! What?! It was hard to see how I could ever be successful at motherhood and grow a business, much less have a long-term dream In hindsight, I realized I needed to plan less and trust more Focusing on military family life and a career isn't easy, so take it slow and be gentle with yourself during each stage of your career journey.

When I think back to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I don't remember saying I want to be a part-time life coach for military spouses and drive my four kids around in circles to school, sports, and religion, but that is my life right now. When my four kids were little and my spouse was away for reserve weekends, I had moments where I was envious of single friends climbing the corporate ladder; however, I continued to take baby steps toward my longer-term career goals I set doable goals like getting three new clients, starting blogging for military spouse magazine, and attending Toastmasters Although those goals weren't big, they were my way to keep one foot moving forward at a time towards my dream of becoming a published author.

When I'd tuck my four kids into bed at night, I'd make up stories with hopes of publishing one someday. I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a children's book or a military spouse coaching book, but I dreamed of my name in print as I tucked Rosemary Wells' book back on the kid's shelf.

When my military spouse coaching business slowly filled up with private clients, I decided that the next logical step was to start working on this coaching book to reach a broader military spouse audience (Why?) But, as a working mom raising four kids, I found excuse after excuse to put off this far-off business "dream."

Meanwhile, I was teaching my life-coaching clients that there are two ways to achieve a goal: write it down or believe it will happen. One way is to set aside time every day and take action aimed at that goal, and the other way is more organic The other way involves acting "as if" you were the person who had already accomplished the goal that you'd like to achieve For example, how would I approach my business and clients if I had a book? If I had the perfect job, what would my day-to-day tasks entail? I used to tell my life coach that my "ideal day" likely included browsing the library shelves for research, maybe having lunch with a friend, brainstorming the next steps for my business, and then motivating others to follow their bliss. I would tell my clients that, even if they couldn't quit their paying job to pursue this ideal lifestyle, they should try and weave elements of their "future self" into the present. I did this; I replaced "I should" with "I feel like."

I started paying attention to what piqued my interest, allowed myself to follow my bliss, and leaned into the skills that motivated me without realizing I was on a new path toward an old dream I let the dream come to me.

One day, just after the kids had gone off to school, I brewed a cup of coffee and sat at my laptop, trying to think of a blog topic I found my mind wandering back to a conversation I'd had with a client earlier in the week. She was interested in freezing her eggs, and I was intrigued. I found myself researching infertility websites until I'd lost track of time. The next day, I started sharing my findings with a friend who blogs, Nicole, who was also intrigued by the fact that infertility is a multibillion-dollar industry I realize in hindsight that I often discussed infertility with perfect strangers in the nail salon or at the park.

02.

So, with both Nicole and I obsessed with the topic of infertility, we finally agreed to turn the idea into a book (did this connect with her pregnancy?) I'd said, "A fiction book?! Are you crazy?" but was secretly excited by the challenge. She said, "Yes, we just thought up a great story, and we should share it!" She made a silent clapping motion that was contagious. I said, "Fine, I'll try," and we never looked back. Sure, I thought, "I don't know if I have time for that," but I trusted my life coach Amy, who once asked, "What if you believed that time shows up for you when you need it?" I decided to lean into this philosophy for once and trust it

On the one hand, I knew nothing about the fiction world; on the other hand, it seemed like something I was motivated to learn more about I'd been telling my clients that just because we are good at a particular skill doesn't mean we are motivated by it I can clean my house, but I don't want to be a house cleaner for a living I shake when I speak but it motivates me, and I love speaking to groups of military spouses. Nicole gave the first assignment; we can meet in a couple of weeks and weave the storylines together."

Before Nicole left, I ran upstairs, opened my laptop, and started typing Greta's storyline. I found myself typing all morning, and the next day I was researching fertility law while I waited in the car to pick up the kids Any time I was waiting, I'd pop on a podcast on "How To Show, Not Tell" At one point, Nicole called me and said, "I just read Inheritance by Dani Shapiro with my book club, and you should read it" I realized in order to write fiction, I had to start reading I signed up for introductory online writing classes, and in a few short months, my friend and I learned a lot and wrote a 90,000-page manuscript. Nicole said, "Oh my gosh, I haven't gone on social media once." I responded with, "I know, and I'm behind on my shows," We both laughed at the things blocking past goals.