Behind my why (the real + raw story)

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I’m so pleased you’re here. Let’s dive on in and get to know each other. I’ll go first. I’m going to share with you my personal story (never published like this before).

But before I do, let me share why I’m here, and I’m going give it to you straight - because being real is my favourite super power.

I’m here to help you rise. To shine bright. To stand in the spotlight of your life. To step fully into your feminine power. To embrace the life you most want to live. To do work that feels meaningful and that lights you up.

I’m here to help you find your voice. To get aligned with your purpose and integrity. To live more simply and with more soul. To get in touch with what’s sacred. To become vibrantly, radiantly well.

And even though we don’t know each very well yet, I know in my heart that all of this is possible for you, even if it feels like a pipe dream from where you sit today.

I know this, because this is the life that I have created for myself, and helped thousands of other women create.

And if we can do it, you can do it too.

Because you are just like us.

Women who get it, but previously didn’t have the tools or permission or encouragement to change our lives in the ways we have wanted too. Until we got those tools, learnt the lessons, activated the change we craved.

It is possible. And you’re here for a reason.

My heroine’s journey (we all have one - this is mine)

Today I live a really good life. I’m surrounded by beautiful people who I love and who love me. I run my own businesses and do work that lights me up to my very core.  I feel that what I do matters and makes a small difference in the world.

I get to write books and play with creative projects that feed my soul and lift my spirit. I spend my days inspiring, empowering and supporting women to go for their dreams and create what they truly want. And I am healthy, fit and well in ways I used to only dream about.

But as is fitting with a true heroine’s journey, it wasn’t always like this. In fact, my life for a long time was as far away from this picture as you could imagine.

It’s important that we tell the truth about our lives as women, not just show the glossy Instagram picture about how perfect we all are.

Because, truth? Perfect is boring. And it’s just plain untruthful.

So here’s my story.

it all started here: a creative childhood

I grew up as a creative child. Yes I was one of those cute three year olds in pink tights and a teeny tiny tutu. I danced, did theatre and won countless trophies in poetry eisteddfods (think poetry slam for young ones).

In my teenage years I sang in bands, wrote angst ridden songs and then after high school, went off to performing arts college and dreamt of Hollywood. 

Then things got a bit messy.

You could blame those late teen and early twenty years on ‘finding myself’, (us actor types loved to agonise over it) or a dozen other reasons, but the dream got lost and for the next few years ended up in a string of jobs just to get by: waitressing, bar tending, music publishing, as a receptionist in my parents insurance business.  I was even one of those perfume spritzer girls in the local department store.

All the while, I tried desperately to keep my creative spark alight.

I sang in some more bands. I wrote more songs. I went and did a sound engineering diploma and worked for a hot minute as a music producer. I performed in more plays while holding down a full time waitressing job. I went to NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, for a summer program with the creative director.

And right there, at that point in my heroines’ journey, I was on the cusp of a breakthrough moment.

A cross road. I met a music producer from LA who saw an opportunity for me in the US and wanted to get in the studio and see what could happen.

I was told by the head of drama at NIDA that I should audition for the impossible-to-get-into three-year full time drama program as it was ‘my time’ (I had auditioned at 17 but was told I was too young and to come back when I had some ‘life experience’).

And all the while, I was living with my boyfriend, waitressing, and trying to figure out what on earth to do next.

behind the story: a health crisis

Amongst all of this, there were other things going on in the background. Health things. Whilst I’d had a healthy childhood, I hit a wall at 21 when I got chronic fatigue syndrome, long before they really knew what CFS was.

It was likely down to how I had been living my life for the past few years. I called them my seeking years. Seeking for me back then involved a lot of drinking, exploring, partying and studying whilst working full time and generally not taking very good care of oneself, clearly (think drugs, no sleep and way to much alcohol).

That six months being bedridden with CFS was the start of decades of health challenges that I would struggle with, push through and battle with whilst trying to live the life I thought I was here to live.

 So back to the crossroad.

A few years after the CFS, and in the midst of NIDA and LA music producer guy, two things happened.

I got engaged, and I had a car accident.

Not a great combination, particularly in the middle of a mid twenties existential crisis.

As I was coming to the end of a six-month period of full time recuperation from the accident, I had to make a decision. Audition for NIDA and pursue the acting career I had dreamt about since childhood, fly off to LA and try my luck with a music career, or get a ‘real job’, and get ready for married life (which just fyi, I had never ever dreamt about). 

I remember lying in bed one morning and giving it over to the universe. If I’m meant to go to NIDA and pursue acting, show me. If I’m meant to get a job and find a different career for myself, show me. Please, show me.

A few years before when in bed with CFS, I had read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson and it changed me so profoundly.

Now is the time to surrender I thought. Please show me the path.

A few weeks later I was sitting in a recruiters office in a navy suit with little scarf tied around my neck looking like a flight attendant.

It couldn’t have been a further cry from the ripped-tights-chain-smoking-op-shop-wearing-gothic-looking-rebellious-actress I had been just a few short years before (we used to sit high up on the window ledge of our drama studio and look down at the ‘normal boring people’ in their suits and scoff that we would never be like that).

But in any case, a few weeks after that, I was working at GE Information Services. I thought they sold light bulbs. Turns out they did something called electronic commerce. I had no idea. I was just there to do some admin work.

But it was a major pivot point. And it would direct my life for the next 20 years in ways I couldn’t have possibly imagined.  

planes, trains and the corporate treadmill

It was the start of both the tech boom and a corporate career that would see me rise up in the ranks of marketing and strategy in some of the biggest companies in the world.

It would take me everywhere, spending years in Asia and America, working at the highest levels in business, and becoming a very young senior female exec in a world filled with and run by men.

I read once that to survive as a woman in a man’s world you had to either be liked by men or be like men. I was both. And it defined my career.

I was incredibly ‘successful’ on the outside. Young. Powerful. Traveling the world.  Big jobs, big titles, big money.

But the real and meticulously hidden story was vastly different.

The endless hours. The untold stress. The failing marriage. Then single parenthood. The striving to validate my worth by completing my first Masters degree whilst battling the biggest job of my life.

The rampant stress and insomnia. The debilitating heart condition. The thyroid problem. The relentless exhaustion. The deep unhappiness.

The pushing through, striving, driving and endless workload, whilst navigating masculine patriarchal workplaces with no room for vulnerability or failure.

All whilst trying to impossibly balance being a single mother in a world that doesn’t value working mothers, especially in the executive ranks.

And the inevitable burnout that followed after more than a decade of 16 hour days and endless planes and deadlines.

Walking into my bosses office one morning, just off the plane from New York and uttering the words “I’m done” to my shocked CEO who had no idea what was going on as I was so good at having my game face on. But not anymore.

B r e a t h e .

This was the real story.

Whilst there were good moments, I learnt a lot and had many financial rewards, that career and life also killed my creativity and parts of my soul in ways that I am still only today reclaiming.

It all lead to me giving up my coveted head of marketing role in one of the world’s greatest tech companies to change my life. 

I was 36 with a 6 year old, in the middle of a major burnout and health crisis, and I felt like I was a hundred.

Fast forward a decade.

A lot can happen in ten years. Especially when you tune in and get intentional about your life.

After the burnout I did a head of strategy role for 7 years in the same company (IBM), part time and in a way that allowed me to create a life and get well. I did my yoga teacher training to get in touch with my soul again. I actually think legs up the wall pose saved my life.

I did a second Masters degree in Wellness and Positive Psychology to understand the science and the spirit of thriving.

I wrote a book called Getting Real About Having It All (Hay House), to tell the truth about our lives as women, and how we can really manage our careers, lives and wellbeing in a world that doesn’t really talk about it.  And I coached women and spoke publicly about all of it, back when no one really was.

 

Big brave leaps: Starting a business, reclaiming my power

I then did what I thought I would never do: I left my corporate career to become an entrepreneur. To run my own business. To reclaim an even deeper part of myself. And to start living on my own terms, in my own way, and stand in my own power (feminine power, that is, once I had worked out that there was such a thing).

That last part has been the real journey. My journey to redefine womanhood for myself.

I didn’t realise how deeply entrenched I was in the patriarchy until years into my own business. Hell I didn’t even know what that word meant for my entire corporate career.

I lived in the bubble. Drank the cool aid. Played the game. Even though I was the champion for gender diversity and the head of women’s leadership development. The one who was meant to change the game. In fact, I was the game. I was in it. And therefore I couldn’t really see it.

It’s hard to see the bubble for what it really is when you’re in the middle of it and just trying to keep up and survive. I even did half of a PhD before I realised that for me, that was just buying further into the patriarchal expectation that I needed yet another piece of paper to be worthy.

So I quit. And reclaimed another piece of my power.

Slowly the veil was lifted.

Slowly I began to see how all the pieces came together.

Why we are all so stuck as women in this system that does everything it can to keep us there. Stuck to the floor in ways that don’t disrupt the power and the status quo.

Slowly I began to get clearer and find my voice that so desperately needed to be heard. And I found my power in that voice.

The company I co-founded and book I wrote called Lead Like A Woman was born from that voice. The dream for a new model of leadership and generations of empowered women who would rise up and create change for themselves and others.

I came to learn that change doesn’t happen in the system. It happens inside of us. And then we rise, break the system and change the world.

This is the journey. This is the real work. And we are all here to do it.

My work in the world has morphed and adapted and changed as I continue to lift the veil, go deeper into my own journey, and get clearer on what really matters for women in the world today. For all of us. And what truly helps us unleash our full brilliance.

It has lead to the businesses that I now run, my work as a founder, strategist, creative and entrepreneur. As a writer, speaker, leader and women’s mentor and coach. As a women’s leadership expert, business owner and wellness advocate. And always, always, as a spiritual seeker.

And here I am.

I write, speak, create, dream, strategise, teach and collaborate with others to help women rise and create a better world.

I do my writing and speaking from here at megandallacamina.com.

I’m the CoFounder/CEO of Lead Like A Woman, an award winning leadership development company with a  journey for women wanting to live and lead with authenticity and confidence.

I’m the Founder and Creator of Sacred Living Co, a platform and online home for simple, soulful and sacred living.

I’m the Founder of Sacred Essentials Co, a business that promotes and supports living a life of wellness and non-toxic living with essential oils, helps women step into financial abundance and empowers people in developing countries to support themselves and their communities (it’s the coolest combination of consciousness, collaboration, community and cash, ever).

And I’m the author of three books including my latest, Simple Soulful Sacred: A Woman’s Guide to Clarity, Comfort and Coming Home to Herself (Hay House), a book to guide and support your beautiful journey.

Most importantly, I’m mother to the most amazing young man who is my greatest teacher in every way. And I’m a friend, daughter, sister, mentor, dreamer and eternal optimist.

I create things for me, for you and for women everywhere that I think will help us all rise.

Most importantly, I want you to know this: I believe in you.

I know that if I have come to this place of joy, of being lit up, of finding purpose in the mess of the journey and creating wellness in the midst of the challenges I have been through, then I know you can create whatever it is you are brave enough to hope for.

Your dream may be small, or it may be audaciously big. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it matters to you.

I believe in you. I see you. I’m so glad you’re here. And I’ve got you, all the way to whatever it is you want to create, be, see and do in the world.

We can do it together. Because if I believe anything my sister, I believe this:

When you rise, when I rise, we all rise together.

And believe me when I say, it’s our time to rise.

With love

Megan

 

Your turn – I want to hear from you.

Head over to your Instagram or Facebook page and share your story. Tag me @megandallacamina so I can get to know you, see you, and connect. I’d really love to know whatever you care to share, or answer one of these questions:

  1. Tell me three things about you. 

  2. What’s the thing you’re most curious about right now?

  3. Are you living on purpose? Tell me about it.

  4. What’s your greatest challenge and opportunity for growth right now?

  5. What are you most lit up about today?

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