“Some people's lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That's what trauma does. It interrupts the plot.” ― Jessica Stern

For women, especially those of us who have gained momentum in the business world, our plots have been interrupted many times over. 

And, for us, the reasons are personal.

It’s our bodies, betrayal, and boys clubs. It’s motherhood, micromanagers, and microaggressions.

Rarely do we let people see that part of our story. I mean, seriously, does my lived trauma go with this power suit?

It’s easy to buy into the notion that taking up space equates to the fullest expression of our voices and leads to more power. Be more forceful. Be action oriented. Avoid emotion at all costs. Those are the messages we receive.

But, to walk that path for too long leads us to a place where we no longer know ourselves. We aren’t being our true selves because we are disconnected from the whole of ourselves.

Instead, our fullest expression of ourselves is all of the things we’ve experienced. It’s landing the big client and while mending a broken heart. It’s the capital raise followed by the cry release.

We don’t have to be all of these things at the same time, but we’re most powerful when we embody the confidence that comes from knowing that one aspect of our lives doesn’t steal the worthiness from another.

I’ve never experienced this more than in a roundtable I hosted earlier this year with me, 2 female investors, and 2 female founders.

You might expect that we all arrived in full power suit presentation. The opposite is true.

We began at the heart of the matter.

We revealed the traumatic diversions of our journeys, specifically when it came to navigating the business world as women.

In her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes this process as creating “descansos: the resting places for the parts of you that were on their way to somewhere that they never got.”

And, for women in the business world, oftentimes what we never received was the opportunity to show up, do important work, and be heard within a community that respects, values, compensates, and encourages all that we bring to the table.

All of us at that June roundtable were worthy of our successes because of the trauma we experienced. We are all stronger for sharing them and, to a certain extent, we laid them to rest in the safety of our circle.

When we don’t share and fully process these interruptions, they will interrupt our future. 

Let's invest the time to sit with the disappointments of our journeys. We must let ourselves feel the emotions these disappointments evoke. Only then can we redefine the value, wisdom, and strength those experiences gave us.

Deeply knowing all of the elements of our story inspires the fullest expression of our voices.