Lose Yourself to Someone New

I almost lost it when we moved to Naples more than eight years ago. I left my beloved town of Boulder, CO with mixed emotions. I wanted to be closer to family – my parents and my husband’s. I had a (barely) one year old and another on the way, sooner than we had planned.  As I backed out of Ali’s driveway, watery-eyed and reluctant, she called out, “you’re going to do great. You are going to make so many friends.” I rejected any encouragement, vowing not to settle there; it was only for two years, max; just to get this motherhood thing down and share the joys with my mom. I told her, “I don’t want any friends. I have you.”

Fast-forward eight and a half years and yes, I have grown a loving community of friends and a fulfilling professional life in Naples.

My journey of life in Naples is a story of humility, identity evolution, renewal and growth.

I went through so many survival strategies in the beginning of being here. I spent the first couple years traveling away as much as I could. Quick “girls trips” here and there, travel back to Boulder 2-4 times a year, getting my re-charge from the “mother-ship” in order to endure life in paradise.

I felt like a fish out of water in so many ways, but also knew I needed to embrace my new identities, as mother and as wife. I believed that by leaving Boulder and all I loved to do there, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and live music shows, I would be a better, more focused mother.

Truth is I found myself just as busy, serving on a guild and a board and attending and supporting numerous charities in town. It was a good way to connect with others who wanted to make a positive difference in the growing sector of young families in town, but I was busy just the same. Sometimes I used the busy-ness to fill the emptiness.

A big shift and opening occurred for me when I stopped concerning myself with what I didn’t like about Naples (and Florida) and I started CREATING what I wanted.

I surprised myself with how creative I could be and how willing I was to drop my identity of bohemian-outdoor-adventure-Boulder-chick and just be me. I stopped justifying why I had to be in Naples and chose, instead, to be in Naples. Traveling regularly for work and adventure and leaving in the summers certainly made me able to live here for more than eight years.

I discovered kitesurfing several years ago and I told my husband I was going to do it, no matter what. I decided this was going to be the way I could live here and still stay sane.

Most of the work I do with my clients is around beliefs, mindset, identity transformation and personality evolution. My life changed instantly when I decided to accept my current reality, change my mindset and live into the person I wanted to be. I was the only one keeping myself stuck in a place that was not fulfilling.

This is not me, we tell ourselves. I don’t do that, we tell others. I can’t do that because I am…

Identity is a fixed idea based on a compilation of beliefs we have about ourselves and roles we’ve taken on. But we are not just what we think we are. We are not just who others have made us to be either.

By letting go of my identity as rock-climbing-Boulder-girl, I was able to discover marathon running, kitesurfing, paddleboarding and yoga. I swore I’d never have a cat as a pet and now he is one of the loves of my life.

I won’t say never.

I believe people can change. I mean I really believe people can change, not just that they can change their mind, or they are resilient. I believe personality is liquid-like, had a fluid quality and with the continual practice of changing beliefs and shifting mindset, we can be different in the world.

Most of what we have be-come in the world are our roles. A big part of changing who we are is changing our roles.
Role Away the Old

How do we do away with roles that no longer serve us?

First we must identify that which we’ve identified with so far. We have created a picture of ourselves and portray it to the world. We have also allowed ourselves to be defined by the roles others have given us. Toss it all together, weigh it and see what essential aspects of you shake out, that really resonates with who you are and who you want to be. 

1. Ask yourself.

  • How have these roles served me? (What am I getting out it?)
  • What has staying in this role or identity cost me?
2. What roles can I let go of to step into a more fulfilling way of being in my life?

I did the work and it hasn’t always been easy. I have felt out of the loop and not like “all the other moms” for many years because I am not the soccer type mom or the mom that volunteers at school or the mom that has a lot of mom friends, even. I am not a stay-at-home, bake-all-day-carpool kinda mom. I had to come to terms with that and not hate myself for it.

What’s helped assuage my guilt of not being “super stay-at-home mom” is having conversations with my husband and my daughters about what we need as a family and who we are as growing, ever-changing works in progress.

Just because we are born into families as sons and daughters, raised as brothers and sisters and become mothers and fathers, spouses and aunts and uncles doesn’t mean we have to live by those roles and (and their rules) alone.

As always, I want to hear from you.

What beliefs will you let go of in order to create new opportunities in your life?

Phew, that was A LOT.

In loving-kindness,


1 Comment
  • Jill, Thank you for challenging my beleifs/ dis-beliefs as always. Considering my own ability to change and believing in others ability to change, whilst not trying to change them is challenging at times, but necessary. I needed a reminder.

    February 4, 2015 at 10:28 am

Post a Comment

− 5 = 2