When I am introduced at various events and speaking engagements my bio reads as a Veteran who survived 9/11, an Airman that was on the path to being nominated to compete as one of the 12 Outstanding Airman of the Air Force, who also earned numerous prestigious leadership awards. As well as, a successful entrepreneur, investor, business consultant, author, inspirational speaker, Founder/CEO of two companies and former owner/operator of a multi-unit franchise.
As a daughter, sister and mother who likes to play big in the world, some people have viewed me as being a risk taker, strong, ambitious, driven, confident, successful, polished, and fearless. However, they had no clue that because of what was going on in my relationship, I had become a shell of the woman that they knew me to be. To be honest, I did not even recognize myself. I was very skillful at masking my pain, embarrassment, frustration, self-doubt and sense of failure by appearing in “total control” and happy on the outside and because I am private person and capable of suppressing my feelings, somehow, I even made my brokenness look sexy. When in fact, my brokenness caused me to silence my voice and lose myself within myself. Without realizing it, overtime I started dimming my light, doubting and second guessing myself. It was like my core being was falling further and further in what appeared to be a never-ending pitch-black hole. Basically, I stopped showing up in the world. Most importantly, I stopped showing up for me.
But, through continued faith, forgiveness, resilience, and perseverance, as well as, praying often, lots of tears, laughter, reciting positive affirmations in the mirror, taking much needed time for self-care, listening to music while singing and dancing my unhappiness away, reading empowering books, travelling abroad, leaping out of my comfort zone and trying new experiences and adventures, receiving guidance and personal development coaching from a world-renowned transformational speaker, and having an amazing network of like-minded strong boss women/sister-friends that hold a sacred, non-judgmental, supportive and positive space for me to not only get back to my core self, but grow into an even stronger, powerful version of myself.
My journey…the good, bad and ugly has led me to this very moment. The moment where I can unapologetically be my authentic self…flaws and all. I am a fighter. I am a conqueror and I always will be. Because of this, I am grateful to say that my true self is showing up and showing out more and more every day. As I continue my journey of faith, self-love, empowerment, growth, as well as, never forgetting or doubting my self-worth and the value that I bring to any table, my voice will get louder and my light will shine brighter. I now understand and appreciate that my pain was the key to unlocking my purpose. ~ Kristen J. Bell