Stephanie Rose checked off a huge number of major life events in her early 30s, in a bit of a whirlwind fashion. She met and married her husband, bought her first home, gave birth two her two kids, and experienced the death of her mom. Then, at 39, she started a business and realized she didn’t really have a frame of reference for who she was any more and felt like she needed to get to know herself better. So she used exercises from Julia Cameron’s The Artists’ Way and then developed some of her own. Using these tools, Stephanie is reframing things from her past. Looking at harder moments and realizing she did the best she could with the tools and capacity at her disposal at that time.

Guest Bio 

Stephanie Rose empowers women to remember their magic through knowing themselves better and live a life that lights them up through mindset shifts, easy to try tips and giving themselves the permission they only think they need to change their lives. She shares ways to find the time to do more of what you love and reframe the way you live your life on her blog at FireflyScout.com and on Instagram and LinkedIn @FireflyScout.

Turning 40 and Rewriting My Story

Stephanie Rose is a woman on a mission to help others know themselves better, believe in themselves, and take aligned action towards living a life that lights them up. In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie shares her journey of self-discovery and transformation in her 30s and 40s. She checked off a lot of the “adult boxes” in a very short period: mariage, house, babies, death of a parent, starting a business. Then she realized she really didn’t know who she was anymore. 

From moving around as a child to finding her footing in Michigan, Stephanie reflects on the impact of her experiences and the importance of finding her true self. She discusses the significance of embracing her quirks and celebrating her own uniqueness. Stephanie also talks about the decision to leave her corporate job and pursue her passion for helping others, and how she navigates the challenges and fears that come with following her purpose. Tune in to this inspiring episode to learn how Stephanie has embraced her optimism and is empowering others to live their best lives.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Stephanie’s experience of moving around as a child and the impact it had on her sense of self.
  • The power of journaling and morning pages in uncovering thoughts and feelings.
  • Embracing quirks and celebrating uniqueness as part of self-discovery.
  • The decision to leave a corporate job and pursue a passion for helping others.
  • Navigating challenges and fears while following one’s purpose.

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast to stay up to date with future episodes.

Guest Resources

 “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

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The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications

Transcript

Stephanie McL: Hi, Stephanie. Welcome to the podcast.

Stephanie R.: Hi, Stephanie. I'm delighted to be here.

Stephanie McL: You know, I love, meeting somebody who shares my same name because we're not, you know, Anne's or Marie's or Kathy's right? So it's a little bit more of a, of a name you don't hear that often. And I always feel like when I meet a Stephanie that we're automatically best friends because we share the name.

Stephanie R.: I don't run into many Stephanie's.

Stephanie McL: Me neither.

Stephanie R.: I know it was a common name of an era, but I still don't run into them often.

Stephanie McL: Right? Right. There was a Stephanie in my, kindergarten class, Stephanie Campisi. And, um.

Stephanie R.: can. That's the

Stephanie McL: And other than that, you know, I didn't meet many Stephanie's along the way. So, um, can I call you Steph?

Stephanie R.: me the Yes you may.,

Stephanie McL: Excellent. Likewise.

I'm interested to jump into your story. So why don't we start by telling me the prologue. What gets us to the beginning of the story? What made you who you were when you got to your thirties?

Stephanie R.: It's still a story I'm working on reshaping. Because as you pull on different threads of your story, it creates a whole different picture. And so, I'm still in the midst of like rewriting it.

Stephanie McL: I totally understand that. I'm doing a little bit of the same thing myself. So, yeah. Viewing things from a different point of view and

Stephanie R.: Yeah, like you can tell a whole other story depending on like what, comes forth, but the facts of it are like, due to my dad's job, we moved around a lot in elementary school. So I went to three different elementary schools and I feel like that as a very sensitive kid and still as an adult, I don't think I realized how hard that was on me and play into that like good girl role and being tougher than maybe I'm designed to be. I didn't get to let all of that out. Uh, but I never saw as a negative. I always thought it was like kind of cool and was part of my journey. Like, it, it, it was never something happening to me. It was always a for me thing, but I don't think I've really reconciled like how much that affected me and just to like, process it and to maybe like let some of those things go.

Um, but then in fifth grade we moved to Michigan where we are now and I think I started to feel a bit more grounded and I was always one of those kids that liked to play outside and have imagination. Like we had, we would like play in trees, but they would like, they weren't tree houses, but in our minds, they were houses and like, uh, just very imaginative.

So I've had this like inner world that I would always play in. And then. Yeah. You know, like finding my footing with like finding some friends that, you know, really got me and I could feel like myself with was really important. And I loved junior high and high school. Like I, that's where some of my best memories come from.

I think that's where I really came into seeing who I really was a bit more.

Stephanie McL: Aren't you fortunate?

Stephanie R.: I am like,

Stephanie McL: So many people find that time so traumatic,

Stephanie R.: I

Stephanie McL: right?

Stephanie R.: It's not like it wasn't hard and they didn't have some real growth moments in there that. I keep circling back to and reflecting and being like, Oh, like that's what was really going on. Or even if it wasn't with me, like, that's what was going on with that person.

So maybe that's why they acted the way they did. And just again, like telling a different story. I was an orcha dork. Like I played violin, I was in theater, I was on journalism. I had a group of people that like, I really felt got me and I was doing things that I kind of felt valued in, while also learning what I was not strong at.

Oh, I wanted to do like the sciences and be a genetic biologist because I wanted to like, look into those deeper parts of ourselves and like get answers about ourselves.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: And then I took chemistry, biology, and it was like. No, no.

Stephanie McL: Let's pause there because that, that is going to be such a theme through your life. Even though it's not going to be through organic chemistry, I love that that came up for you even that early.

Stephanie R.: I did have that knowing. And so what I did go into for college was, um, interior design and like putting spaces together. But what I really excelled at was more like programming part of it. The, project management of it. Like I suck at picking colors. I like, my husband is way better at like reorganizing our living room and picking out furniture and stuff. And I'm like, I don't know, like, like I'm a certified designer, but I, and I knew like, that was not me. I was not into that aesthetics. I was more about how it works.

Stephanie McL: Yeah.

Stephanie R.: And so that took me into my career. I was in facilities management and program management. And in some ways, like I really excelled with that because that is really based on relationships and figuring out the way through a problem. And trying to make everyone pleased with the outcome and there's like negotiations and mediations and like, always improving like process improvement.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: That was always like part of my story. And then, you know, that gets me into like 20s and 30s. In that time when my mom, when I was in my late 20s, my mom got diagnosed with, um. early onset Alzheimer's.

Stephanie McL: Oh my goodness. How old was she?

Stephanie R.: Around 50.

Stephanie McL: Wow.

Stephanie R.: No, 56.

Stephanie McL: Wow.

Stephanie R.:

Stephanie McL: And you were, you said in your late twenties. Yeah.

Stephanie R.: And so that's still a part of my story that I'm really unpacking. Well,

Stephanie McL: Right. Because when you go through those things. My Dad got sick when I was 44. And when you go through it, you're just so focused on getting through it and doing the things and, um, whether it's doing the things that need to be done, or whether it's, um, being mindful that this is a moment that you need to think about and, and cherish, right?

And so to your point, all these years later, you know, you have an opportunity to go back and like you say, unpack it. And it looks like you're really feeling it these days, right? Cause you didn't, you probably, well, if you're like me, you really didn't have an opportunity to feel it much during cause there was so much going on, right?

Stephanie R.: It's one of those illnesses that, like, come on in subtle ways. And so like we didn't, I didn't know what we knew like and where it was going to go. And so, you know, late twenties, early thirties, like you're really coming into like your own life and like are good. And so like, you're worried about your parents, but also like they're still on the younger side. Like this, this isn't something to really worry about, but. Um, you know, just in that time it became evident that it, you know, it was a path. Yeah, it was a path we were on. Then, um, I met my husband, and that was just like, that spark. Like, I knew when I saw him at, through mutual friends, like he walked into a party, and I'm like, he is someone I'm meant to be with.

I wasn't quite there, he was like my husband, but just like, he is he is the next on this journey, like, so I definitely had that knowing, like, from the Universe of like this. You know, like you have like those moments. Uh, so I've never had to question that about, about our relationship. Yeah, so we met at like 32. We were married at 34 and then had a first kid at 35. So, like, all, like, right in a row. And then that next year, my mom passed away. So, it was really hard to become a mom.

Stephanie McL: Yeah. Yeah.

Stephanie R.: And to, like, lose her in that same time.

Stephanie McL: Yeah. That's both ends of the spectrum at the exact same time. That's got to be difficult, right? Cause you want to be, you're so joyous and happy that you've had a baby and that you're so devastated that you're, I mean, that's just, those are two extremes to hold inside at the same time.

Stephanie R.: Well, and, like, if you've ever done, like, those stress tests of, like, you give yourself a point for if this, this, or this happened, it's like, oh, okay, so, in those few years, like, I met my spouse, we got married, we had a kid, we bought a house. We had to move, you know, not far, but just like all of these. And then, then I lost my mom, like all of these things. And then right after that, I had another kid.

Stephanie McL: Oh my

Stephanie R.: So like, you know, they're two years apart. So like,

Stephanie McL: Yeah. You checked off basically a major life event from like, 32 through like 36 every year. It's like, let's, you know, let's just, wow. Check, check, check.

Stephanie R.: And like, and I, I felt it at the time, but also I didn't because that's the, there's that self protection coming in of like, not, feeling,

Stephanie McL: Right?

Stephanie R.: So it wasn't numbing out to the point of like depression or anything, but like, when you have a kid and you're pregnant, you're like, your hormones are all over the place anyway. And then you have this sense of impending loss, and loss.

Stephanie McL: Right.

Stephanie R.: it was a lot and then having so there's a lot of identity changes that are happening in there too. And then really having to be the adult child to your parents and wanting to do what's best, and you have your opinions from your perspective, and them maybe not always being heard or received in the way that made you feel heard.

Stephanie McL: Yep.

Stephanie R.: As they're going, everyone else is going through their thing, so. I mean, it was really a challenging time, but like, I didn't, I don't think I really appreciated how much it was at the time. And so, now, I, I feel like that all fueled

Stephanie McL: Yeah.

Stephanie R.: Like the next step of what I had to do in life and like really figure myself out again because all of these identities had shifted and I didn't know who I was. Those stories I had told myself and built myself up with were a bit rocked. Like they weren't, they weren't gone, but they were just like,

Stephanie McL: Yeah. Do you remember any of those stories that, that you felt like were rocky or, or

Stephanie R.: it was kind of like I'd come to the end of the things, like I've had all these major events. These are the events that people like planned for, like these are the milestones in your life. I've had so many of them all pretty quickly.

Stephanie McL: Mhm.

Stephanie R.: Well, then like now what? Like most people, like they might have a gap between like having the kids and then like another like Identity shifting thing.

So I went through all of these and I was really just like, who, who am I? Like what, what in myself can I count on? What, what do I really like? What, what makes me feel most like me? And for the people in my life, how do I want them to see me? Like, am I showing up in ways that I, that I'm really happy? Like I have that satisfaction that they know me. And I don't think I was ever truly like hiding who I was but I don't think I was living it so boldly. Like glimpses definitely got out.

Stephanie McL: Mm.

Stephanie R.: I always like own my sense of weird But I don't think I like was like celebrating it as much or making as much space for it And so it became like this intentional look at like who am I? What do I want? Where what do I want more or less of? How do I want to shape this story going forward?

Stephanie McL: Do you remember what it was that got you thinking that way? I mean, that's a really profound way to think, and I'm not sure I have ever come upon myself to say, not necessarily what I want next, because I've, you know, I've, certainly not on a global level, but, but even like, how do I want people to see me, or what do I want to portray in the world? What was it that inspired those thoughts? Where, where did they come from? How did you get to them? Great.

Stephanie R.: I have a little bit more understanding now, what brought them on then. Because as part of my journey is, I got into human design, which is an astrology based type map of yourself. It like in that my identity center is open, meaning it's very like the energy is like are always flowing with it. And I feel those really deeply. So like I have that deep questioning of identity and self where other people that have these elements defined for them, they feel it more consistently. So they don't question it. And so I think I've always had this like wondering of stuff and I didn't realize other people didn't feel this way, or feel it so deeply. Like it is part of my why. Like it is a life force for me. So I know that that's part of it Like it's just who I'm designed to be but I think for someone else it could still just be taking that moment to pause like it really became clear when my youngest was about a year or so and you're finally getting more sleep. And like finally getting to that point of like, okay, like It's been a rocky, what, five years. I think the boat has settled in my life type thing. I was getting more sleep. So once you, you know, like when your sleep is so important, it's like once you actually get sleep, Oh, you feel like a whole new person. Um, and I, I think that was like the kickstarter of like, okay, things are slowing down. I finally have a bit more capacity to, to explore this now and that existential, like, well, what next? was creeping in, because, because I have two sisters, there's part of me that's always thought I wanted to have three kids. But then kind of feeling like, I think we're done, but maybe, you know, like, just trying to decide, like, and getting closer to 40, and like, all these things, like, that clock was, like, ticking. So I think it was just that, all those coming together of, like, okay, well, what is next? I kind of need to decide a little bit here, too, if that's on the plate, so.

Stephanie McL: I love, love, love that word you just used. You used the word capacity. And I think that there are a lot of times in our lives where maybe we think we want to do something. I can use an example right here from my own life. And it's, it's different, but, um, I've said before people who've been listening for a while know that I manage a couple of chronic illnesses. And so I am limited in what I can do every day. You know, how many. Um, those of us in the chronic illness world know about spoons and spoon theory, right? How many spoons I have to spend on a day. Um, and there are no rollover spoons. So if you didn't spend them all yesterday, it's not like you get extra spoons today.

So, um,

yeah, things like, you know, for a while, a couple of years ago I was doing stained glass and I, I loved it and I so want to go back, but I just don't have the capacity right now. I don't have the space in my energetic world to add that and so for you to really understand that you had the capacity to think about something beyond just survival beyond making sure your kids, you know, stayed upright and forward moving and, um.

You know, you and your husband stayed, you know, healthy and employed and things like that. Right. For so many people, whether we have kids or not, you know, life is pretty all encompassing and there are definitely phases where we don't have the capacity to do more. To do, you know, some of this soul searching or, or, you know, thinking or, or even hobbies to my point. And so I love that you were conscious of, okay, now I'm sleeping. I'm feeling a little bit better. I feel a little bit more stable. The boat's kind of settled. Now I have the opportunity to pick my head up and kind of look around and see where the world is settled now that the storm has passed. I love that.

Stephanie R.: Just cause like I was still navigating a career and that required travel. My husband travels, like we were still having like the day to day headaches of childcare and travel and work and stress and like

Stephanie McL: Yep.

Stephanie R.: all the things.

Stephanie McL: Yeah?

Stephanie R.: But, I had a little bit more that I could put into and it became important to me. Like that became my focus. Like I had to figure that out or at least a little bit more for myself. And, and that's actually where. The Artist's Way came in. And that is the book by Julia Cameron. It's a creative journey that it's best done with like an accountability group just to be in a community with them. But it was something that had been on my radar. Like a friend had done it, I'd heard it, like, sounds cool. I am creative. I'm not an artist type thing. So when opportunity came up, because I had been doing it. Do little things, and that was like the next turning point, because the foundation activity of The Artist's Way is the morning pages.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: And it's three pages of stream of consciousness writing every day, and I admit I didn't hit every day, because life.

Stephanie McL: Right?

Stephanie R.: But I had never journaled in that way before. It was always like a diary entry of like, the minute details and facts of the day, but never like, yes, but never feelings based.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm. Mm

Stephanie R.: In The Artist's Way, it's, it's like word vomit. It is just what ever needs to come out. And it's not even the power of what's on the page. It's that you have made space in your mind. So that then like your mind can breathe as well. And then those like connective thoughts can start to come together because there's some space and with just the act of putting it on the page, like it empties your mind, but also like there's that like mind to body connection that you're like, you're writing it out. And like somehow that like energetic, those feelings are like coming out too.

Stephanie McL: Yeah, they've got movement.

Stephanie R.: Yes. Like

Stephanie McL: hmm.

Stephanie R.: It gives you some space for those feelings to start working their way out. Um, and I remember that first day that I wrote, like, I still remember, I was like, I picked my head up after that. I was like, what just happened? Like, it, it was not that I wrote anything profound, it was a lot of like, well, I'm starting this journey today. I'm supposed to be writing for three pages and here I go, like, what was like.

Stephanie McL: Right.

Stephanie R.: But I hadn't had that much space to like let things out and to really have it feel held by paper. I came to learn, like, sometimes only paper will listen to you because, like, you can, like, get it out and it holds it and it doesn't, like, say, oh, I only have a minute or, oh, my phone just rang, like, it's there for you.

Stephanie McL: I'm curious from a practical standpoint, as the mom of a one and a three year old, where are you, how are you finding the time to do morning pages?

Stephanie R.: And they were often evening pages.

Stephanie McL: Okay. All right. Fair enough.

Stephanie R.: I'm somuch more of a night owl. Um, and that is, that's a trait I've always had. But as I understand more about myself and understanding it's my highly sensitive nature, my empathetic nature, I'm an Enneagram 9, like all of that means like at the end of the day, I kind of need to like shed everyone else's stuff.

Stephanie McL: Hmm.

Stephanie R.: And so that's why I like protect that nighttime for myself. But I also know it would be better if I gave myself that in the morning.

Stephanie McL: Mm.

Stephanie R.: So that I could like build myself up, like give myself more spoons type thing.

Stephanie McL: Yep.

Stephanie R.: To start the day so I have it at the end and not get to the point where I'm like so depleted that I do like sleep sabotage because I'm so like thirsty for my own time, my own like just quiet solitude time that I stay up far too late, and kick the next day off poorly. So I'm aware of this, that they, they loop together, um, but they were sometimes night pages and like when the kids are that young, they do go to bed earlier.

Stephanie McL: Sure, sure.

Stephanie R.: I, I had chunks of time and it wasn't always three pages, but just knowing it was there. And then like, once you do it and you start to realize like how good you feel like after, and then I'd started to get like ideas of like, Oh, like, well, if I did this. Or I'd like to do this next. Or like, it just opened up more rabbit holes for my mind to explore, which my mind loves a good rabbit hole. Like, I, I think that's what could be, like, my whole life described. Like, it's a rabbit hole. Like, I, I follow what interests me. And then I'm in until it's done. So I think that was like the big turning point of like, it gave me a way to channel all of that introspective energy.

Stephanie McL: Yeah. Wow. So where did that lead you? Mm-Hmm.

Stephanie R.: Uh, that was in like 2018 timeframe and then through that like, and coming, like feeling more grounded in myself and just feeling like, like more like home to myself. I was like, I think other people need this. Like, like this is not a unique experience to me, and I, I've really done the work. I feel like I could share this with people. I'd been reading like personal growth books, and then there was a lot of like entrepreneurial spirit in the air, I think too. So I was like, well, what if I started a business? Like, I don't, I don't know, like, but it was, it was an idea that came into it and I couldn't let it go. So that's when I really started documenting, like, what, what did I do? And then I started doing some of it more with intention, too, to say, like, okay, I think this works. Let me, like, do it so I can document that I did it. And that

Stephanie McL: of things were you doing? I mean, beyond the, the pages, right?

Stephanie R.: Yeah, I was doing the journaling, but then also, um, I was making a lot of lists of, like, If I want to define my life, if I want things or I don't want things, what are those things like the phrase, name it to tame it, like, if you can't give it a name, then you, you don't know what you're solving for. And so they're all some, some stresses coming up with my career job too the, like, I'm a mom with two kids. This is not quite working for me as easefully.

Stephanie McL: Mm-Hmm.

Intermission

Stephanie R.: You know, working for a large international company. And it's like, I mean, I loved what I did, but I had to kind of make it work for me more. So with that focus, I was, I started making lists of like, well, what do I want more and less of in my life? What do I like and not like? So once I could kind of name it and see it on paper, then I could like see some connections, understand, like, and I made a list of like all of my values and noticing like how that shows up in life because like, especially too, as you have kids, like you want to teach them well, you want them to grow up to be amazing human beings.

So like, also like shows you more about yourself than any other life experience I thought, think did. So it's like that confluence of things that's like, I just really need to name all of that. And so then having that list, gave me like guideposts of like how to make decisions from it. Like, is this making me feel like I'm living in integrity with what I actually value? What do I need to shift? Are the places I feel friction in my life because it's not aligned with my values? Like, you know, people or activities or just like anything? And am I like, am I having enough fun? Am I doing enough things I'd like to do

Stephanie McL: Yeah.

Stephanie R.: in a day? And it came to see it. It didn't mean like, Oh, I have to block out all this time to do fun things, but just knowing, like, these are the things I really like, these are the things that just like, add a little sparkle to my soul and I can do them on top of what I already do.

Stephanie McL: Right.

Stephanie R.: So, if it's like, making sure you listen to, like, some of your favorite music or like, I'm a tea drinker, like, really enjoy at least a sip of your tea, like. Or like when you crawl into bed, like, really like love it, like love your bed or like whatever you're doing. Just like,

Stephanie McL: sheets.

Stephanie R.: Yeah, like just be a little bit, have more presence, not just mentally, but like physically and spiritually, like your whole being is enjoying those moments.

Stephanie McL: yeah.

Stephanie R.: And so like, everyone says that they don't have enough time. Like, well, you're already doing things. It's just doing them with a little bit more meaning, a little bit more,

Stephanie McL: attention.

Stephanie R.: attention.

Stephanie McL: Yeah, yeah. I'm reminded of the conversation I had, uh, with Teresa Thomas. several episodes ago and she, when she turned 50 did this thing that was very much like my 40 Drinks Project where she did 50 Fun Things and she made a list of 50 Fun Things she wanted to do that year. and I think she was feeling a lot of the same thing that you were feeling. There just wasn't enough fun in her life. And I, I know I feel that in my life.

As a matter of fact, around my birthday this year or this past year, I, um, I made a list of 52 fun things that I wanted to try to do through this year, because there, there really isn't enough fun in our adult lives. and fun is something that changes our energy. It changes our, our, our heart and, and how we feel about the world around us. And, and frankly, we just don't do enough of it. Um, and so some of the things that I put on my list, and again, dealing with the, with all the things that I deal with in my daily life and running a business and, having a house and keeping that running and, all the things, um, I just wanted to, and some of them are outlandish and some of them are achievable. And so as a matter of fact, I'm doing one tonight. I'm very excited. I'm going to the ballet with my best friend. You know, going out to dinner in Boston was one and going to the ballet was another. And I'm going to, I'm going to check off two of those tonight with my, with my best friend. I've also created a, um, a folder in my photos app so that when I'm doing these fun things, I take pictures and then I make sure to save them in that folder because it's great to remind yourself, because I know myself, I get like, Oh God, I never do anything fun. There's never anything fun ever. I feel like I've never had fun before in my life sometimes. Right. Which obviously means I need to do more, which is why I picked Teresa's idea up and did it for myself. But, you know, then you can go back to that folder and be like, Oh no, these were actual fun things that we did or that I did or was involved in. So I love that awareness. awareness for the big things, like the fun things and then also awareness of

the everyday things, the mundane things. The. I agree with you with the getting into bed. I mean, you know, my husband and I do that every night and we don't necessarily get into bed at the same time. I usually go up about an hour early and read and, um, but yeah, getting into bed is like, Oh God, these sheets. Oh, it feels so good. And usually I'll have a cat on my feet and then he'll come in, you know, later and, and do the exact same thing. So I, uh, yeah, I understand what you're saying about that consciousness of good things in, in your life.

Stephanie R.: Yeah. Like, like you're doing it, but how can you just like notice like, so like when you put on like perfume or your lipstick or like anything, just like to, how does that smell make you feel? Do you really like look in the mirror and be like, yes, like that gives me some attitude today? Or like, how, how are you like noticing how what you do affects all three aspects of you, your mind, body, and spirit. And it's the story you tell yourself about them too, because if you crawl into bed and be like, Oh, this is lumpy, like, well, are you going to do anything about it? Are you just going to keep complaining that you have a really lumpy bed or whatever? Like using that to kind of guide your actions by like, what dots get illuminated for you? Like that's how like constellations came to be. They're just stars in the sky, but we make stories and myths around them based on the connections that we make that are actually invisible, but we've inferred whole stories.

Stephanie McL: Right. And we make up the pictures based on the points.

Stephanie R.: Yeah.

Stephanie McL: And so everybody's picture is going to be a little bit different, but you can be aware and conscious of those points and try to string them together into something that's meaningful to you.

Stephanie R.: Yeah. And that you could rewrite those points in a different way and get a whole other picture.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm. And it sounds like that's some of what you're doing now. You were talking when we first started about re looking at some of your younger years and trying to have a different perspective on them or a different, a different take on them or, or pull a different picture from them.

Stephanie R.: Right? Yeah. Like that. And like, just tell a more powerful story. Like, it happened, and even if it's a pleasant story, like, how can I really, like, weave that together to, like, have even more evidence of, what I'm trying to do now? How has that been a through line all the way to back then? How can I see things in a different way to tell a different story?

Stephanie McL: Do you have an example of that? Of something that you're re framing or re picturing?

Stephanie R.: There's some harder moments of life and realizing that I did the best I could with what I had. And it was at the capacity that I had. It's the the tools that I had at that time. To like really shame that I didn't even know I really had about it, but then just like reframing that and like pouring like love into that and just saying like, you did the best you could. And then making it like it just a beautiful tapestry of things like even if you like whether it's like woven blankets like it's the slubbing ones that are really like the imperfect ones that are like the coziest and really like feel like homemade and like more powerful to you than like the very well refined, you know, perfectly machined type ones. So, like, just envisioning it like that, like, the more that that slugginess can be rewoven, like, that's actually like, going to be the most powerful, the warmest type hug. And like, the more we can accept ourselves and our stories, the more powerful our lives can be because we own that. And when you own it that's power that you can use in a positive way.

Stephanie McL: Yeah. Wow. That was so good that the idea that I had in my head just fluttered right out. So, um, Oh, I know what I was gonna say, giving ourselves, grace or, or cutting ourselves a break for things that we did when we were younger and, and coming to the realization that we did the best we could with what we had at the time. I think we should all do that for everything we've done under age 25. I think that should be like standard operating practice. You hit 30 and then you go, okay, listen, everything before I was 25, I had done the best I could with what I had becasue there's so many of these formative experiences that that gets stuck in us and that, I feel like they're like pebbles in our shoes and like, you know, we're walking down the, our path and like, you've got these pebbles in your shoes and they make your, they make your gait strange. And then, you know, all of a sudden your lower back hurts or your neck hurts, or you're getting headaches because you're walking weird. You know, this is obviously all metaphorical, but it's like, if we can take some of those pebbles out of our shoes and forgive ourselves and, and, and acknowledge that we did the best we could with what we had. Um, That's, you know. That would go a long way to, uh, lightening up and loosening up, I think, a lot of us.

Stephanie R.: Really, like, those are growth experiences where we're meant to have all those. We are meant to grow from them. But when we let them be like those hard pebbles, like you said, that are stuck in your shoe, then you're contorting to like that old version of yourself that was, that was never supposed to stay like that. You were, you were meant to grow and like really shine, like, like grow your glow of like who you really are through those experiences.

Stephanie McL: Yeah. Yeah, that's the truth. So let's go back to you have, a couple of little kids. You start to find the capacity to explore a little bit more. And I think one of the things you said earlier was that you hadn't really checked in with yourself in a while through those, those, those hectic years. And you, I think you also told me that you needed to get to know yourself a little bit better. So once you started exploring this avenue, what did you learn about yourself?

Stephanie R.: Well, the list keeps growing.

Stephanie McL: Yeah.

Stephanie R.: Like, like there was like layers. So like my latest a-has that enhance what I learned back then is that like I'm incredibly optimistic. I have always had that spirit about me and now I know even more why I am and I'm owning that even more. Like, I'm a pretty positive person, but now I'm seeing that I'm like so designed to be that optimistic. I'm so designed to like help people have that hope in their lives and to like rewrite their stories. And so if you're not optimistic, you can't rewrite your stories in a way that will serve you better. So, um, yeah, some of the other discoveries are just like, I'm weird. Like I have quirks and like we all do, but I feel like mine are special.

Stephanie McL: Like what?

Stephanie R.: Oh, just like, the funny things that, like, crack me up or just get my attention and, uh, Like it came in those lists of, like, the things I love. Like, I love, like, good quality paper.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: like having, like, touch, like, notebooks. And, like, a good pen or, um,

Stephanie McL: Do you buy notebooks and then, and then refuse to ever write in them because they're too good?

Stephanie R.: I do have some.

Stephanie McL: Oh.

Stephanie R.: Part of it is I also know what works for me now. And so it's not that I'm, like, I can't write in them because I would ruin it, but it just, it's actually not the tool that works best for me. And so, yes, I still have some pretty notebooks. But,

Stephanie McL: I've, I have stacks of them. I have stacks of them. I love notebooks. I love paper. And, um, but I for some reason don't like writing on it. On the pretty notebooks. I mean, I write on paper, but, you know, the, the pretty ones, it's like those are, those are too, I don't know, they're too special. They're too pristine. They're too, um, unblemished, I think.

Stephanie R.: That's why with The Artist's Way, I started out writing on legal pads.

Stephanie McL: Yep.

Stephanie R.: Like, it was a hotel pen and a legal pad. And, just so much came out. Like, it didn't matter. I wasn't trying to tell myself the story that it wasn't worthy of, like, the pretty notebook. But, it just didn't feel like the space like there's things have energetics, I feel. So like there's some notebooks. Like I know what will go in there, I'm just not there yet to do it. And now my journal is like a soft cover Moleskine journal because I like that. It's in one spot, but it's not too precious. Like, it's elevated because it's nice, but it's also not like it, it's not too pretty.

Stephanie McL: Right. Right, right, right. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So journaling ended up being a really good exercise for you to explore this whole side of you. Is that something that's been consistent?

Stephanie R.: I have gotten away from it a bit lately, and I'm starting to notice like, oh, cause I did The Artist Way two times and both times were like a good cycle of aha moments. So it's like, okay, I think I think we're getting time like I need to do it again. But what has somewhat taken its place is four years ago I started doing a daily walk and it was a way to finish the decade strong like I was feeling that need to like prove something, have evidence of, I've been showing up like. This is a culmination of things. I want to like finish this decade strong. And it had been like a 90 day challenge and I like was kind of doing, but like okay No, I'm gonna really show up for these last 30 days. And so I was much more effort based to like show up I'm gonna like make it more like a workout and then it went to like the next night 30 days And it's like one day so I'll go for 90 like that was the original challenge like that's let's really have that strong foundation into 2020.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: And then we know what happened.

Stephanie McL: Did you turn 40 in 2020?

Stephanie R.: No, it was 2019.

Stephanie McL: Oh, okay. All

Stephanie R.: So, yeah, like, all that's in there, too, like that 40 ness, and, uh, I think that was it, too, like wanting to, like, start something, that I did something big in 40, and starting that. And then so when COVID hit, and I had this, three month walk streak going, it didn't feel like the time to let that go.

Stephanie McL: Sure.

Stephanie R.: Like it was a habit that was serving me and so it evolved from something where I was really like an effort like more masculine energy of like, I'm showing up and you know, I'm getting a sweat I'm working out, to like this is my space to step away from things. And get a little bit more of the solitude and places for my thoughts and what I had learned through that is like when you're moving your body physically, you're moving your mind.

Like those thoughts are also moving around and it's like, it's meditative in a way. So while I haven't been writing it out as much, I have space every day for myself and I, I call it keeping a promise to myself. It's for me to use it how I need to that day. And some days it's, it's literally, I showed up, I am here, I am walking, I am moving my feet. It's like the, the morning pages of like, I am sitting here, I am writing, I am, um, and other days, like I'm listening to podcasts and it's like giving me like giving my mind so many like rabbit holes and aha moments, like that, that just like refuels my spirit. And there are other days I have things I need to work out and I'll use the time to walk and like literally talk to myself. And like pose a question to myself and I'll do it with the intention of like, especially when I feel stuck, I'll say like, my go to is like, I don't know.

Stephanie McL: hmm. Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: I know that I know, I know that there's more to it, but I am protecting myself. I'm protecting my safety and protecting like that core part of me that's afraid.

Stephanie McL: Right.

Stephanie R.: Cause I know that if I figure this out and it inspires action and I take it, what will people think of me? Who am I to do this?

Stephanie McL: Yeah, it's scary.

Stephanie R.: Like, what, how will that change my life? And even though it can be for the most positive of reasons, those core fears still come in. So like, I have found that when I'm contemplating things and I'm moving, like either running or walking or even in the shower, like just breathing and like giving yourself space to like feel it, then you can move past those fears. You can like bring them with you because they don't just go away. But it's like you can like kind of hold its hand.

We got this, like, I see that you're afraid, but what, what's the worst that could happen? And then like, it's like, these are all like conversations that sometimes I don't even consciously have, but I'm aware that that's like a checklist to kind of go through in my head. And then that's what lets you take the inspired action. That's what lets you like move forward with those feelings, because they don't go away, but you've maybe changed the frequency, the vibration of them.

Stephanie McL: So you did all this work, introspection and, and journaling and movement. And what did 40 feel like amidst all of that? Did 40 have any special meaning or special weight or fear or anything to come with it? Because you were, you were so deep in all this work and really thoughtful about it. I'm just curious if then the number 40 had any additional impact right? Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: Yes and no. I think it works like we expect something big to happen. So, like, maybe part of me was a little nervous for the other shoe to drop on something because I'd already had so many things happen. Like, maybe being a little bit nervous on that. But I was also already, like, down this path of, like, excitement of, like, uncovering, like, that next thing. I'd already, like, done some of that work. So, I was actually kind of excited as well. So it's kind of like an anticlimactic, but exciting path,

Stephanie McL: Right,

Stephanie R.: you know,

Stephanie McL: Right. By the time you got there, it wasn't as big a deal as it might have looked from further away.

Stephanie R.: Yeah, it was more like I could maybe start remembering how old I was again. Because it was like 40, 40. Like, even now, like, I, I don't remember how I, I always have to double check the math of how old I am, because I don't, it's how old you feel like I, and time is so fluid and weird feeling like, I don't know how old I am.

Stephanie McL: Yeah, I have the same thing. I can never remember how old I am. As a matter of fact, I remember one time

Stephanie R.: where

Stephanie McL: I don't even know where I was, but my cousin was with me and I said something like, you know, oh yeah, I'm 45. And she goes, no, you're not, you're 44. I was like, what? How old am I? And why did I go older?

Stephanie R.: over?

Stephanie McL: was sort of a bizarre, uh, but yeah, I have to do the math and it's, and I'm not good at math and I was born in a one year. So, you know, it's not like an easy math to do.

Stephanie R.: Like being in a nine year. .

Stephanie McL: Right. Exactly.

Stephanie R.: So I think 40 was helpful because it was like...I'm 40.

Stephanie McL: Right.

Stephanie R.: It created a boundary but it wasn't a limitation. It was

Stephanie McL: yeah.

Hmm. Well, I like that.

And

Yeah. And so now you're in your, well, if we're parsing them very closely, early mid forties. Um, it, it's like

um, and

Stephanie R.: um,

Stephanie McL: are you now that, that, that mid thirties was such a huge period of transition for you. Is it more of a stable place now? Yes.

Stephanie R.: Yeah. It's much more stable. It's loaded with potential. A year and a half ago I left my corporate career because I couldn't not have enough capacity to do what I really want to do in life. Um, I'm still scared by it, but I'm coming to terms in the power of it. It was more intimidating by like that, that's the mission I have, like, um, and also I, I think there was like some burnout and just like, this is a lot to keep juggling. And it just, I still loved what I did to a degree. Like. I like the people I work with. It was a great company. It very aligned with my values. Like all those moments of like, why would you leave this? Like, everything's so good. Like, but I, I couldn't stay. Like it was soul sucking in a way too, that it's, it's really hard to articulate. And there are times I still like, I'll look back and like, well, was that the right choice? Like, should I have stayed? And then like, then I really think back and like, no, like I was not happy in the deepest of ways. And being that like such a good girl and rule follower. Like it was really hard for me to have these like two, these, this added identity of like, I want to get my business going. I really want to impact people in this way and feeling like I would like get in trouble Like, it would rock the boat too much on the good thing I had with my corporate job. Like, and it probably would have. Like, like, no corporate job wants to know that their employee also is doing these other things, even though they want to be supportive. Um,

Stephanie McL: I love though that you said that the job checked so many boxes. It was a good fit and you liked the people and it was aligned with your values and you liked your work and still it was soul sucking because you knew it wasn't the right place for you. You knew it wasn't the right fit. And I love that because it's true. There can be things that can be close, but there's still no cigar. Right? And so that that's a place of true courage to realize this is okay, but it's not great.

Stephanie R.: It's fine. It's a seven.

Stephanie McL: Right? Right. And for a lot of people, seven is either adequate or great or, or, you

Stephanie R.: they could hope for?

Stephanie McL: Right, right. But to have something that's so fine and still decide that it's not good enough, that's a place of true courage, I think.

Stephanie R.: Yeah. It was something that kind of came up slowly and then all at once,

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: like, well, what if I left? What,

Stephanie McL: hmm.

Stephanie R.: what, what would happen? Because, um, we hybrid homeschool our boys, so like, there's that too. Like that pull, like, to want to be there for them. Like the obligation to, to teach them. and just not wanting to settle for fine.

Stephanie McL: Yep.

Stephanie R.: That, like, I know that there's something so big and so wonderful and that we all have that. We all have that, like, amazing thing for us, but in what ways do we settle for okay and tell ourselves that's enough?

Stephanie McL: Right. Right. You said a couple of minutes ago that you realized what your mission was. What is it?

Stephanie R.: It's to help people know themselves better and to own that, to believe in themselves and to take aligned action toward it. So that they can truly live a life that lights them up.

Stephanie McL: Mm. That's fabulous. That's, that's good stuff. One of the things that I really like about your story is that it's, Hmm, let me see if I can find the right word. It's normal. There's no major extreme tragedies. I understand you lost your mom, and that is a tragedy. But I mean, no major, like you didn't have to burn your life down to come to these conclusions and come to these places of of wondering and following the wondering. Um, to come to this place of awareness and, and, and following that through. And, and so I, I love that about your story that it, it's, it can also be, I did all these wonderful things, year after year, I, you know, I met my husband, we got married, we had a kid, we bought a house, we had another kid, right? And it's like, oh, those are all the adult things that people do, and you could still decide you want more. I love that about your story.

Stephanie R.: And that's been like, some reframing I've had to do too. That like, they did this big thing. Oh, they, like, who am I? Like, no, like, my purpose is to show you like, don't settle for fine.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm. Mm

Stephanie R.: Like, there is more and, and not in that like selfish, greedy type energy, but no, like that fulfilling, like, I want you to live your best life.

Stephanie McL: hmm.

Stephanie R.: Like your soul came here for like this full life experience and those things that were hard for us, like that's part of it too, but it's more like life is meant to be enjoyed.

Stephanie McL: Mm hmm.

Stephanie R.: And it's really more about the every day than the, the huge milestones. And the milestones are really helpful to like put some like grounding markers in time because time gets really fluid. To really like live a life that just fills you up so much because if you're living from that energy, that is going to ripple effect out to your family. to your neighbors, your friends, the whole world. And that's the kind of vibe I want us to live for. Like, that's the unique signature of humans, I feel. Like, we get to experience these kinds of lives. So, to like, to dare to do it.

Stephanie McL: Mmm. love that. Dare to do it. I think that's a great place for us to stop. I just want to thank you for joining me today, for sharing your story, for sharing your mission and your wisdom and, your highs and your lows. It's, it's been really wonderful getting to know you.

Stephanie R.: It's been wonderful talking with you, and I really appreciate the opportunity to like, to force me to, like, be here with you to, like, really talk it out. Because that, that's another just part of my journey that I really appreciate.

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