When Life…or Business…Gives You Lemons

I had an amazing opportunity this past week! I was the guest speaker for one of my networking groups…live! There were about 60 women in attendance, and although I have presented many times in the world of education, this was my first opportunity as a “life coach”! The evening could not have gone better and I received so much positive feedback, it made me realize that I am on a path of success! So, this week, I am going to share my message with you, so you too, can benefit from my words! Enjoy!

Hey everyone! I am Cheri Dixon, public school educator turned entrepreneur.

I was 6 years old, sitting in my 1st grade classroom at 5 pm, playing school while my teacher frantically tried to find my mom to come pick me up. I remember not worrying though because this happened a few times and my teacher always made me feel safe. Unfortunately, this pattern continued for a while in my life, but it truly made me realize that teachers were always going to keep kids safe and make them believe they mattered. They were difference makers and at a young age, I wanted to be one of those superheroes for kids like me.

After 28 years of being a classroom teacher, educational specialist, and now campus administrator, I know that I have truly accomplished that goal!

However, about 2 years ago, I lost a friend unexpectedly. He was married to one of my dearest friends and after a family vacation, he experienced a heart attack and died. This hit me hard. I was already questioning my life and career after experiencing my own big setback, but suddenly I realized that life is short…and for a minute, I could not even remember when I took my last vacation or did something for me.

You see, when you dedicate your life to education, you put your own needs on hold so that you can give your full attention to the work. Suddenly, I knew I needed to make a change and start living a life that put me as a priority.

I absolutely love the work I do, but I guess this was my mid-life crisis…because that was what it was. I was 50…and scared that making a change like this was going to be impossible at this point in my life. I was scared that if I didn’t make a change at this point in my life, I would be miserable. But being true to my own self and following my own Cheri Dixon way, I made the decision to leave education and that is how A Girl and Her Dog Coaching and Consulting was born!

So, I’m here today to talk to you about how to pivot when your business, career, or life is not going how you want…and although my business is still growing and building, I have 3 things that I used when I knew change was needed to help me not only know how to navigate the change but give myself permission to make the change.

The first thing I had to learn and continue to keep at the forefront of my mind is to give yourself grace. Grace allows us to try and sometimes make mistakes. Grace allows us to seek out help or advice from others when we don’t have all of the answers. Grace gives us a little peace of mind when we realize that no one is perfect and there will be stumbles along your path.

As women, we easily fall into the comparison trap and worry that we won’t be as good as that other businesswoman on the other side of the room. As women, we are also so accustomed to having a lot of responsibility on our own shoulders…then we fear failing…and then we get stuck in the problem without moving forward on the solution.

So, how do we allow ourselves to give ourselves grace?

The first thing I did was shut out the noise…the people telling me I couldn’t do it…the media idolizing others who look, act or dress a certain way…and I had to stop comparing my day 1 to someone else’s day 1,000! This took practice and a belief that I did big things in my educational career that would help me in my new endeavors. Giving myself grace, I learned that this move was not impossible to achieve.

I always say that when hard things happen, we must remember that sometimes that is just life. It is not personal. I have had so many experiences where people said something about me or my leadership because they weren’t happy with a decision I had to make. At first, I had a hard time moving past these things…because I was taking it all personal!

I had to learn that if I took everything anyone ever said personal, I may as well have quit my job before I ever started. Life is not always a personal attack…sometimes things happen because of circumstances that have nothing to do with us personally.

Our emotions get involved and then they get the best of us. As women, we can be emotional and that’s not a bad thing, but controlling your emotions during hard times is one of the keys to successfully assessing situations and solving problems.

And finally, in all I do, I always remember my why. Why did I make a shift? Why did I decide coaching and consulting? Why am I leaving the stability of a consistent, pretty good paycheck to start this unpredictable new adventure?

When I know my why and keep it as my driving force, I stay motivated to keep going when times are tough. My why is bigger than any of my excuses and remembering that, I do not allow myself to give up. That why helps me continue to believe I can do hard things because the people who will benefit from my services deserve for me to figure it out and not quit on them or on myself.

So, what has this all led to? I have wins…and I have setbacks. But keeping these 3 things in mind and staying focused on every win (no matter how big or small), while learning from every setback, A Girl and Her Dog has:

  • Co-authored an international bestseller (Unleash Her)
  • Completed and submitted a chapter for my second book
  • Started a podcast with just under (and at the time of publishing this, just over) 300 listeners
  • Coached women on a path of success
  • Collaborated with other entrepreneurs (my most current project releases in May of 2023)
  • Been invited to speak both virtually and in person
  • Developed amazing learning opportunities for those want to grow
  • Created a membership, The Empowered Woman’s Society, to support women who want to go from intimidated and insecure to confident and empowered
  • And, I am a host of my own talk show, Confident, Courageous and Clear with Cheri, streaming on Fenix TV to 26 countries!

None of this happened by chance. And all of it is just a stepping stone to all there is to come!

Until next time! Cheri ❤️

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