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    LMULLINS4LIFE   51,575
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The Puzzle of ME: My Magic Moment

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yesterday, I posted a wonderful, yet vaguely mysterious status on the Friend Feed:

"Single best day of my career...ever. In 12 years. Not exaggerating."

Well, I think I've kept you all on pins and needles long enough! I suppose I'll explain now.

But first...I need to take you back to last November 2011. I had recently started working in my current position with a non-profit connected with Indiana University called The Kuali Foundation.

Because our business is mostly virtual (we've got people scattered all over the country and the globe), we only get to see each other face to face twice per year. Our biggest face to face is called Kuali Days and it happens in the Fall.

The day before I left for Kuali Days, I was invited to attend an all-day conference at the IU Memorial Union that was hosted by the Office of Women's Affairs. The subject was "Re-Inventing Your Career Path". Honestly, I attended because my boss was speaking in a session get free food and get out of the office for a day with pay.

The keynote speaker at this event was an amazing woman named Caroline Dowd-Higgins. This woman started her career as a professional opera singer and traveled the world. But, when that wasn't working out the way she planned, she faced a difficult career transition. Caroline is now an expert on career coaching, in particular completely re-inventing your career. After a stint at the IU Career Development Center, she now helps coach students in the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She has written a book called "This Is Not The Career I Ordered" and she hosts a radio show on CBS Radio called "Career Coach Caroline".

Here's a link. Isn't she pretty???

Why do I go on and on about Caroline? Simple...she has changed my life. After that conference, I went immediately into Kuali Days. I was brand new to this organization, as naive and shy as you could ever imagine, not knowing a thing about our software products, let alone about the organization in general. I didn't know anyone except the girl I shared an office with! It was really scary.

But...that week, something happened. I fell in love with my team and with my organization and with my job. It was the first time I ever thought (in 11 years of working!), "This is the one. This is my forever career."

When I got back, I was SO excited to tell Caroline all about it. I sent her a message on Facebook, not expecting any sort of reply. Shockingly (to me), she replied right away. She was thrilled for me and promised to be cheering me on and available if I ever needed her help. She was so approachable and so available to help me. We became fast friends.

And, a few weeks later when one of the ladies in our office left and I took on some of her work responsiblities, I approached Caroline about how to negotiate a raise in salary. This famous woman actually took time from her busy schedule and met me for coffee. We talked about raises, professional demeanor, tips for getting noticed in large meetings. It was a breath of fresh air for me and the first time I ever began to see myself as more than just a secretary. Since then, I have held Caroline in the highest esteem and frequently refer to her as my "career guru".

Fast forward to last month. I received an invitation from Caroline to attend the first annual Midwest Invent Your Future Conference for Women. Along with this invitation came a special request to attend a VIP Reception the evening before and meet all the conference organizers and speakers. Well, let's just say...if Caroline says, "Jump", I say, "How high, honey?" So I signed up.

I didn't know what to expect at all. To be quite frank, I thought it would be your typical "Yay...go women! Be happier at work and quit complaining about your job" kind of conference. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. A happy thoughts day, dedicated to getting as much free food as you can. Right? was NOT that. And, you know, I should have KNOWN it wouldn't be that because Caroline was on the steering committee and had really talked this thing up. I should have trusted my guru, you know?

At this point, I begin to feel a bit choked up. Because I can't quite articulate everything that went down yesterday. Let me just start by saying...the speakers that were at this event were PHENOMENAL.

I'm including a link below with all their bios (seriously, if this interests you, totally get ALL these books!) But let me just give you a sampling of these ladies' achievements:

CHARLOTTE BEERS - was Undersecretary of State to Colin Powell. Was named "the most powerful woman in advertising" and has been on the cover of Fortune and Business Week.

SAM HORN - The Intrigue Expert. Has been on NPR, MSNBC and in the New York Times, Washington Post and Readers Digest

MARY LOVERDE - Work Life Balance Expert. Has been on Opray Winfrey 4 times, inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame and has several best selling books

BETSY MYERS (my new idol) - Former Director of the White House Office for Women during the Clinton Administration and COO of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. SHE WAS AMAAAAAAZING!!!!

Here's the official bio link:

You know what the best part was? I would say there were only a couple hundred ladies at this event. That means that all of us got to interact, talk, ask questions and spend an entire day just being real with these remarkable women. Literally...sitting there and chatting with some of the most influential and powerful women on earth!

There were breakout sessions and every single one was fabulous. Great food. Lots of amazing networking. Not only that, but I discovered a newfound DEEP appreciation for my company and their openness to smart, intelligent women - that's not the norm in IT. And my own boss...well, she's just been so incredible in supporting me and modeling for me how to succeed as a professional woman.

But here is the best part...and the reason for my enigmatic status yesterday.

Somehow, somewhere in the middle of the day yesterday...something shifted in my mind. You see, I've always had my life segmented. There has been my home/family life, my work life, my church life, my health, etc. These things sort of overlapped...but never really melted together.

Yesterday...everything came together. Suddenly, all the amazing lessons I've been learning at church and all the discipline and hard work I've put into getting healthy translated directly into how I can do my job at work and, as a result, help to further our company brand. In addition, everything I learned about "business" yesterday was directly applicable to how I care for my family and how I use the gifts that God has given me. It's like there is this giant puzzle and pieces were missing. And, yesterday, they all linked together and formed into a beautiful, perfectly flowing image.

It's the ME Puzzle. And it's put together. And I feel indescribably complete.

Ask yourself this:

What would your life feel like if you truly understood how you were made and what your passions are AND you realized how to funnel that into your everyday job?

How would it be to work hard during the day for something you believe in and then come home and have it just be a continuation of your day...full of things you love?

I don't live in a dream world. I'm sure days will suck. I mean, we ARE talking about work here. LOL. But...the potential for this is off the charts.

I'm actually still working through it all mentally, but a friend of mine really summed it up best after I'd told him all about this. He said, "This is your magic moment, Leah."

It is. Magic. I can't think of a better word for it.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JIVANA108 7/4/2012 9:44PM

    Leah...your blog was the magic i needed to hear:) Thank you so much for all the amazing links, resources and sharing your journey with us.
Keep posting you're inspiring.

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MARYJEANSL 6/30/2012 10:37AM

  You are very blessed!

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PASTORMAE5 6/23/2012 4:07PM

    Abundant life (John 10:10)

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JESSZZ123 6/23/2012 3:41PM

    Woo! It's always good to know who you are and where you stand. You're truly a remarkable woman, and you have so many great things coming. Good work!

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DEBK0923 6/23/2012 2:09AM

    great job

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CUDDLEY51 6/23/2012 1:18AM


Every bit of your excitement is captured in this post.... watch out world, Leah is about to take you by storm!

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SLFGOLF 6/23/2012 1:04AM

    wow, what an inspiring thing to go through.

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MANILUS 6/23/2012 12:57AM

    Thank you so much for the links, the books look really good!

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GRANDMABABA 6/22/2012 11:41PM

    Enjoy every moment!

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REENIE131 6/22/2012 11:23PM

    Awesome! Congratulations! What a powerful feeling!

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VADAVICTORIA 6/22/2012 9:11PM

    inspiring and empowering and thought-provoking post...everything does happen for a reason!

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KJISHERE 6/22/2012 7:02PM

    Your blog inspires us all, thanks for sharing. emoticon

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THISTIMEMYWAY 6/22/2012 6:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

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PATTOMMC3 6/22/2012 5:07PM


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JDDIXON3115 6/22/2012 4:32PM


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SERENE_STAR 6/22/2012 2:12PM

    Good for you! I love days when suddenly everything makes sense...when, you finally realize that every move, every change, every step forward and even the steps backward were all preparing you for this moment. Some people realize the moment when it happens and can step up and seize it. Others wave at the moment as it passes them by. I'm glad you seized your moment.

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GROWNINOP 6/22/2012 1:25PM

  Good for you!

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DOODIE59 6/22/2012 1:01PM

    You will never know how important it was for me to come across your blog today:) Thank you so much, both for sharing and for showing the way. I am heading off to vacation with lots to think about.
Take care

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BBONET 6/22/2012 12:51PM

    Thanks for sharing such a great story!!

Comment edited on: 6/22/2012 12:51:31 PM

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LUCKYONE60 6/22/2012 12:04PM

    Wow, this is great. What a gift you've been given and accepted. Good for you and thanks for sharing.

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SWEETEYES0601 6/22/2012 10:57AM

    You have quite the gift for putting things in perspective for me. Thank you! I enjoy reading your blogs as often as I can.

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LIBRARYBELL1 6/22/2012 9:42AM

    Congratulations!!! Sounds like a great experience. I'm glad you took the initiative to reach out to Caroline and it led to that discovery.

I decided in January that I would start reaching out more to my women friends, particularly the older women in my theater group. They are beyond amazing and talented and I love hanging out with them. I was always afraid of bothering them, but decided that I needed to get over that fear and just let them know I was thinking about them, or feeling free to ask them questions. It's been wonderful. Closer relationships have been formed.

As always, thanks for sharing.

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CAROLZ1967 6/22/2012 9:39AM

    Very happy for you!

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THEIS58 6/22/2012 8:07AM


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REDSKINGIRL 6/22/2012 7:56AM


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LOVELAUGHLIZ 6/22/2012 7:26AM

    congrats! :)

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1TRULYBLESSED 6/22/2012 7:20AM

    emoticon ! Thanks for sharing the links -- the timing is perfect for me, as I prepare to re-enter the "real" workforce (have a job interview on Monday!). Sounds like just the kind of resource I need at this stage of my life!

emoticon on your successful and fulfilling career!! emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 6/22/2012 1:39AM


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DEBK0923 6/21/2012 9:49PM

    great blog, liked it very much

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PCASEY7 6/21/2012 9:14PM

    Greeat blog, thanks.

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TARAH85 6/21/2012 7:10PM

    Sounds like such an amazing epiphany! Congrats!


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KAPELAKIN 6/21/2012 7:06PM

    Great blog, sounds like a wonderful experience!

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GALINAZ 6/21/2012 5:17PM

    I'm so happy for you, what a fantastic experience!

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NEWCHINELO 6/21/2012 4:19PM


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LELERS 6/21/2012 2:55PM

    Wow! emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 6/21/2012 2:32PM

  Hi, I liked what your shared.I'm going to think about it, and perhaps respond more later. emoticon

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JUDYAASH 6/21/2012 1:39PM


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TRACEYROCK 6/21/2012 1:37PM

    Congratulations! We all need that moment where it all comes together. I can't wait until mine!

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SERASARA 6/21/2012 12:44PM


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CLAYARTIST 6/21/2012 11:54AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARJORIEWRIGHT 6/21/2012 11:34AM


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SAINTBETH 6/21/2012 11:29AM

    Glad you had a magic moment. Glad that it is coming together for you.

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SHOAPIE 6/21/2012 10:44AM


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TERRIJ7 6/21/2012 10:35AM

    Powerful, indeed, and something few of us get to experience!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 6/21/2012 10:31AM


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MOMMY445 6/21/2012 10:16AM

    that was amazing!

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STEADFASTNSEE 6/21/2012 10:15AM

  Sounds like some very empowering women--you included! HUGS

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TWEETIEBIRDIE 6/21/2012 9:56AM

    I am so happy for you! It sounds like you have a found a mentor who is taking you new places...with famous people!!! You are a connector!

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CBRINKLEY401 6/21/2012 9:53AM

    That's wonderful. I'm happy for you. Thanks for sharing the details of your wonderful day and the insight it brought you.

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PURL782 6/21/2012 9:04AM

Next time you go to a conference, can I come in your back pocket?
It's so empowering just to read about it.

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