Did you know that I’m a career changer? And that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Cëce, on the first day of my second career? Read on to snack on some food for thought I'd like to share...
I switched careers at 32-years-old, leaving behind a decade-long teaching career to pursue my passion for a life in food, cooking, and digital food media full-time. I went from being an established, seasoned educator to a 32-year-old pregnant intern at a food media company where most of my co-workers were at least 10 years younger than me. I also found out I was pregnant on the very first day of my new career after a long struggle and loss of hope that it may ever happen for me. Talk about a freaking beautifully scary exciting wild whirlwind.
While I was trying to navigate and learn the ropes of the food media world, prove myself, and do everything in my power to hide awful bouts of morning sickness in a test kitchen full of different and unpredictable aromas each day, most people around me were fresh-faced, new to the work world, and just out of college. I'm grateful for them to this day for many reasons, but we were in completely different phases of life. I felt like a fish out of water and the imposter syndrome was a special kind of torture. In the beginning it was just about keeping my head above water, but I loved it too much and wanted it too badly to sink. I knew that if I stayed the course, put my nose to the grind and kept working hard in this pursuit, I wouldn't just learn to swim in my new world. I'd learn to soar. Jump ahead to present day - just three years, a baby, and a pandemic later - I was selected last year as one of eight top home cooks in the country to film a Food Network series, and I continue to build a brand and career for myself that I love.
But you know what? Even in my greatest moments of imposter syndrome, I haven’t looked back for even one split second. Want to know why? Because I used to go to bed in absolute dread, physically and mentally sick, losing sleep over spending even one more day, one more minute, doing one thing while longing to do what set my soul on fire. I was struggling to get pregnant with stress levels shooting through the roof and my ovulation and menstruation patterns completely out of whack (more consistent since making this life shift, which I do not find coincidental).
Now I lay wide awake at night for new reasons. My creative wheels are spinning with ideas, excitement, and a surge of energy about spending another day creating, cooking, and in this pursuit of what I love. And I get to share it with my family and show my sweet, beautiful, strong daughter that with hard work and passion, anything is possible. I want her to know that when you push fear aside and do what you love, work can actually feel FUN and adventurous. She was, after all, with me in this pursuit from day one.
I was listening to a podcast interview once with Jennifer Lopez, and the host asked her to share one piece of wisdom with listeners who may be thinking about taking that leap to pursue their dreams or passions. Her response is something I've carried with me each day, and I share it with others whenever they ask if I have any advice about switching careers or making any sort of big life move. She said something along the lines of, "Just try. What do you have to lose? Just try. Because if you don't do it, you'll always have to wonder what would've happened. So what if it doesn't work out? You can always go back. At least you'll know, and you never know what great things could happen if you just go for it." I found this to be such practical, yet brilliant and level-headed advice.
My career now brings me constant joy and fulfillment. I get to connect with others through food, cooking, and creativity every single day. There's nothing better than waking up and feeling super excited and passionate about what you do. It keeps me starving to create and pursue new opportunities for myself. Even more beautiful is that I’ve continued to come into my own so much more steadfastly since filming for Food Network. As a woman, mother, home chef, and creative I feel stronger, more confident, and more excited than ever about my authenticity and potential. The surface of my story may not have even been scratched, but the opportunity has provided me with another one which I believe can be even more impactful: the chance to inspire others by sharing my own journey, which is what I fully intend to do. The best emails, messages, and outreach I now receive are from those who watched, thanking me and reaching out for advice, a conversation about their own pending journeys, or just someone to listen and understand.
What I'm trying to say today is that whatever it is, pursue what sets your soul on fire. Bring it to life. Do the work and speak it into reality. Just try, please. You can always turn around, you can always pivot, but you’ll never know if you don’t go. I believe in you. Don't let fear and doubt drive your decisions any longer. Write your own rules, take control of the wheel, and start betting on yourself. Because you're worthy and you can do this. I'm sending you all of the love and light you deserve.
Need some advice or a confidence boost about topics mentioned here? Want to work together? Connect with me. You can also check out my Manifestation Monday feed, where I share thoughts and reflections for speaking a powerful week into reality.