Design the Life You Love
In just a few short hours my book, Stop & Shift, will be out in the world—on bookstore shelves, in e-readers, and most importantly, in the hands of readers.
It’s the realization of one of the B I G, audacious dreams I had when I started building this business, a business that is not just a source of income or my way of fulfilling my purpose.
From the moment I made the decision to start my own business, my goal was clear to me. Becoming an entrepreneur was about designing a life I wanted to live and creating the life I wanted to give my son. (By the way, if you want the full story of how and why I made the leap into entrepreneurship, I share it in the book!)
The goal was clear, but that doesn’t mean the path to get there always was.
In November 2019, Caleb had to have tongue-tie surgery.
I’d been putting it off for a couple of years, but both his dentist and an oral surgeon promised me that this was the best choice for him.
I purposely scheduled the surgery for a few days before Thanksgiving. It would give him a chance to rest and recover without missing school, and because we had plans to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents, it meant that I’d have some extra help and support from my mom.
Everything went great with the surgery, but let me tell you, even when everything is smooth sailing, seeing your baby coming out of anesthesia is just the worst feeling.
Once we got home, though, we settled in and got comfortable. He slept most of the day while I got us packed and ready for the drive to my parents’ house the next morning. I figured he’d have a solid 24 hours to eat ice cream, watch movies, and rest before we got on the road.
But when he woke up the next morning, he had a temperature. I decided that, just to be safe, I should call the doctor. They reassured me that his temperature might be a little elevated after surgery, so I could give him some Motrin, but we were safe to get on the road.
We made the drive to my parents’ house, and he slept the whole way. But when we arrived, he still wasn’t feeling 100%.
At this point, I knew that I needed to be vigilant because obviously he wasn’t just going to sleep it off. My fellow parents out there know that when you have a kid whose fever isn’t breaking, you alternate Motrin and Tylenol, so that’s what I did, and then I kept him close.
At some point in the next 24 hours, though, he lost one of the stitches from under his tongue, and it started to bleed—a lot. I called the doctor again. Again, not a huge emergency; they told me to just put some gauze under his tongue and the bleeding should stop on its own.
An hour or so passes, and he nods off for a little nap.
When he woke up, there was blood on the pillow. A lot of blood. And this mama wasn’t messing around anymore—my mom and I loaded him up in the car and took him straight to the Emergency Room.
Now, remember, this is Thanksgiving week. As an entrepreneur with any kind of product to sell, this is one of the biggest weeks of the year. You’re 100% on—sending marketing emails, posting on every social media platform, managing orders.
And back in 2019, I was running my business completely solo; I didn’t have any kind of team or support. It was all on me. I always had to be on. I had to be the one to keep everything going.
So there I was, in the waiting room at the ER, trying to balance the fact that I have a son who is not well and I have a business that had to be managed.
True story, I had one hand in Caleb’s mouth, trying to stop the bleeding with gauze, while I was doing my best to type with the other hand, finalizing emails and setting up marketing campaigns.
I felt terrible.
I wanted to be fully present for my child, who needed me, but I also felt the pressure to get out these time-sensitive emails because it was how I supported our family. All that kept running through my mind was that if I wasn’t working on my business, then my business wasn’t generating income, and I didn’t have the financial stability to take that risk.
I was pulling myself apart, limb-by-limb, trying to keep everything going.
In that moment, I stopped and made a promise to myself.
I will never have a moment like this again. I will always be able to turn off work and be there for him.
So I did.
I shut the laptop off and shifted my focus to my son, who needed all of my attention (and both of my arms to hug him).
I closed my laptop and decided that if the emails were going to go out, they were going to have to wait until he was better. If they didn’t make it out in time for Black Friday, then I’d try again for Cyber Monday.
But I was not going to choose work over him—ever.
We spent most of the night in the ER. His fever finally broke, and the bleeding stopped, and we pulled back into my parents’ driveway at 2 a.m.
From that point on, his recovery was smooth sailing. And I carried that promise with me. My son would always be my top priority.
(Side note, in case this saves any other parents from future worry and heartache: I found out later from a friend who is a nurse that the Tylenol in his bloodstream was acting as a blood thinner, and that’s why he bled so much when he lost that stitch. I had no idea at the time! Sharing is caring, guys, so now you know too!)
Fast-forward to June 2022...
We spent almost two years living with my sister and her family during the pandemic, and this summer Caleb and I moved into our new home, just the two of us.
I put the moving date on my calendar and told my business manager to block off three weeks in my schedule so that I could get us settled into our new home and new routine. No events, no travel, no engagements so that I could put all of my energy into making sure we had time to adjust. For three. Whole. Weeks.
Three years ago, taking my eye off of work for even a minute came with an intense level of pressure and stress.
My world today looks drastically different than it did three years ago. But it started with that promise I made way back in 2019.
On that night, sitting in the ER with my sick child, twisting myself in knots about everything that might fall between the cracks if I stepped away from my business, I chose to set a bigger goal.
It wasn’t just about building this business into what I always dreamed it could be. It was about doing everything I could to make that happen without losing sight of why I was doing it.
Caleb was, and is, the center of my why.
I started this journey into entrepreneurship so that I could give him everything he needed. And he didn’t just need financial security—he needed a mom who he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, would always be there for him.
This business could only be truly successful to me if I built it with Caleb as my North Star, and I stayed aligned with that goal, even when it came with real worry and stress.
I don’t take for granted that I’m now in a place where I can step away fully. If anything, I feel immensely grateful that I’ve seen this dream come to fruition. I know that it was made possible because of a lot of hard work and perseverance and determination and sacrifice, but the point is…
It is possible.
You can completely change your reality.
You can design the life that you want to live.
My beautiful friend, figure out what that North Star is for you—your child, a parent, your mental well-being, your inner peace, your sense of adventure, your creative gift—and build a life that keeps you pointed toward it. Keep exploring until you find it, and stay open to the possibility that it might change as you enter a new season in your life.
But find a why, and let it be your gentle guide. Make decisions that keep you pointed in the direction of that North Star. The path towards it will shift and change, and that’s the beauty of the journey. It’s about finding peace and joy in each step forward you take.
I share this story because my life is evidence that if you don’t give up on that dream you’ve been dreaming, it can and will become your reality.
When your heart is pure and genuinely in the right place, your hard work will be rewarded.
And it’s even more special to me to share this big full-circle moment at a time when I’m literally counting down the hours until Stop & Shift hits shelves.
Because I had lots of doubts. I had a million reasons to believe that this dream would never be my reality, that this day would never come. But I chose to be patient. I chose to stay on the path of perseverance.
We don’t have a timeframe on when we’ll reach those goals. And of course we’ll want it to be sooner. We’ll want to rush and push and make it happen now.
Just trust and believe that when your heart is aligned with the person you know you want to be, all of those good things will come to you.
Thanks for being part of my journey and for letting me be a part of yours, friend.
Hiya! I'm Karen.
My main goal is to give you the mental skills you need to experience less stress and more joy.
Your life is a direct reflection of your thoughts. If you want uplifting content that will help you master your mind join the community. We'd love to have you!
If not, no hard feelings. Feel free to stop by whenever you need a pick-me-up! I'll be here.
Either way-see you soon!