The Courage to Become | Jill Faulkner
Working on myself is the hardest work I have done to date, and the most worthwhile. But seriously, the hardest. Embarking on the journey of changing who I was at my core, which was really un-becoming my current self to get back to who I was meant to be, started a long time ago, and will continue until I die. Perhaps morbid, but also true. Self-work, like change, is constant. And YOU are the constant in your life. Realizing that this person (me) is all I have, and all I need, fueled my desire to live my best life. This is not to say that I do not have family and friends and support, or want all of those relationships in my life, but I control my happiness, I create my life.
As I have shifted my thinking, and perspective, I hope to encourage people to do the same. I want people to shift how they think. How they think about themselves, their lives, others, and the world around them. The shift is so magical. Daunting, and challenging, but the results are awesome. I wouldn’t be here, right now, in this moment, even writing this, had I not buckled in for the ride of a lifetime. Pursuing a life I desire. Becoming more of who I am meant to be. Stepping into a life destined to be mine.
There will always be ups and downs, which is how I got here, and maybe that’s how you got here, too. My life, and my business, Stick With It Co., were born out of a need to remind myself of how I was worthy of living the life I wanted. I needed to evolve my mindset, and my framework, and love myself so fiercely that no matter what outside forces swirled around me I stayed solid and steady. I craved the tools and sought out resources - so, countless books, YouTube videos, meditations, mantras, workshops, yoga classes, sticky-notes, therapy, and a whole lotta Oprah later, here we are.
Picture it, Austin, TX, 2015. Word of the year: Freedom. I don’t know how it came to me, or where I was, but it was my word for the year. I didn’t know at the time what I was looking for freedom from, or seeking freedom toward, but it was my word. Looking back, I also don’t know whether or not I consciously made decisions that year with “freedom” as my guide, or if it seeped into my subconscious and led the way without me realizing it. Cut to March of 2015, new job. Freedom? Cut to November 2015, fired. FREEDOM. Being let go was not a “blessing in disguise” - it was a straight up, in your face, here’s your freedom, girl. Now, what are you gonna do with it? It took almost the whole year, but here was freedom staring me in the face. I was free. Free from stress, emotionally free, and free to tap into what I really wanted to do. I was able to let go. And it was okay. I was okay. I knew it would be okay. All the stickies I had on my bathroom mirror, and kitchen cabinets got me here. In life, things are never in our desired timing, we have to give that up, let go of timing, and trust in the process.
I now had time to think about my life in a bigger way. It felt great. I also acknowledge and hold extreme gratitude for the fact that I was in a position to be able to take two weeks to just be, and figure some stuff out. In that time, I started iterating on a product, and names, and ideas, and all of the things. How could I get the concept of affirmations, and self-love to the masses? So, I just got started. Handwriting 50 different affirmations on sticky notes. Packaging them up, changing the packaging, and giving them away - to friends, family, strangers. The reactions were always positive and encouraging, which emboldened me to keep at it.
At the beginning of December (2015) a job opportunity sort of fell into my lap, and well, mama needed a paycheck, so back to work I went. Continuing to pursue Stick With It Co. on the side worked out for some time, but I wanted more. So, about a year later, I quit my job. Scary, freeing, vomit-inducing, glorious, unknown, and wonderful all at the same time. I wanted to give this business the love and focus it deserved, but it wasn’t even ever about me. It’s about you. This business is happening through me, for greater purpose.
There is a need for people to see the power of their words and statements. Especially in the world within which we exist today. We must be intentional with our words, especially the words we speak about ourselves and our lives.
Self-love, self-approval, self-accountability, self-compassion, and self-respect will generate a solid connection with yourself, allowing connections with others, driving you forward with courage, while welcoming authenticity, resilience, and support into your life.
There’s been a lot of change recently for me. Picking up some event contract work, not working on the business as intensely as I was planning to, general life happenings - you know how it goes. Physical/locational changes, and you better believe emotional - ALL the emotions. Changing, learning, experiencing, letting go, surrendering, and forging ahead.
When all these things happen on their own, I imagine life might be a bit less stressful to handle. Throw all these sizable changes into a ring together, at the same time, and they’re ducking and weaving, and throwing punches you’re not always ready for - then it can be quite the ruckus. But, change is good. Change is needed. Change is like sandpaper - rough while it’s doing its life’s work, transforming and addressing some splinters, but on the other side you’re grateful to have gone through the pain to get to a better, smoother, less splintery place.
I’m not sure I got too off the mark with the sandpaper bit, but it just popped in my brain and I went with it. The point is, change can be painful. It hurts. Sometimes you don’t know why it’s happening, and sometimes you never find out why it did, but you have to trust it’s for the greater purpose for your life. All the changes are for reason. Maybe that reason is you just learn to love yourself a little more than the day before.
I believe the desire for human connection, with ourselves, and with others, is innate, and if we work to push aside the societally driven, culturally manipulated “things” that get in the way of connecting, we are on our way to living an authentic, and purposeful life. Being an open book, sharing my journey, sometimes whether or not you asked, and sometimes a little TMI, has proven time and again that we are such similar creatures and have so much to offer each other. Through connection, we not only discover the lives and journeys of others, we also learn a lot about ourselves.
I have certainly had my moments, and sometimes 24-seemingly infinity hours, of living in fear in which I am paralyzed, and therefore lack direction, and action. In those days I forgive myself, I acknowledge and thank fear for letting me know something I didn’t know before, and I work to find my way back to faith.
I consciously make a choice to live in faith. I have faith in the process of becoming, and unbecoming who I am, figuring out my purpose and place in this world, pursuing a life I am meant to live, feeling all of my feelings, and enjoying it all.
Stick With It to BE self-love, Stick With it to RELEASE fear, Stick With It to BE whoever, and whatever your heart desires. Stick With It to allow yourself to live your best life. Stick With It in order to un-become who you were to make space for change and embark on a journey of becoming that will astound you.
Essay by: Jill Faulkner
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
The threads running through all my work (I wrote a book - The Courage to Become, I speak - TEDx #choosejoyordie, I coach, I mentor) are hope, joy and empowerment. I am all about big picture health and wellness.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!