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Can You Stand the Heat?

crucible moments Mar 09, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

It’s Women’s History Month, and I’m here for it! Today, I want to take a moment to spotlight two women who know what the phrase ”when the going gets tough” really means.  Women who didn’t crumble in the face of adversity and that I deeply admire. These women harnessed the power of the crucible moment to live better. Louder. Fuller.

So, what are crucible moments? Crucible moments are when you feel the heat. Moments when the loss was deep or the challenges daunting. The times when you thought it’s sink-or-swim and I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

When I think of my own crucible moments, I think about the season that followed my divorce. Trying to make it as a single mom. Living in a new community with virtually no friends and working a patchwork of freelance projects to try and pay the bills in the middle of the recession. I could have folded… but I found the strength not to crumble. I found my way. And today, I help others do the same.

Meet two of our 28 Days of Reinvention Travelers.  The way they took on their crucible moments inspired me (names have been changed):

  • Carla lost both her husband and mother unexpectedly within 18 months. Prior to these losses, she had an incredible career in HR representing global brands…but these losses stopped her in her tracks. While in the 28 Day cohort, she decided that instead of letting the grief destroy her, she would launch a business that supports people who are in transition and dealing with loss.

  • Sheree is an award-winning executive in a male-dominated industry. Out of nowhere, her position was eliminated after 30 years of dedication. As you can imagine, her identity was connected to her work. Who was she without this role? That was the question she wrestled with during 28 Days. As a result, she intentionally took the time to evaluate what she wanted to do next—and is still taking the necessary time to develop a new path that honors the woman she’s becoming…not simply duplicating the woman she’s been.

You see, crucible moments create a newer version of you.  And the greatest life lessons are learned under the pressure and heat of these moments. But to get the gold, you have to stand the heat.

That said, we spend an entire week with crucible moments in our program mining for that “gold”. We’re looking for repeat patterns or habits so that we can better plan our next chapter.

Here are some questions that might help you mine for gold. But first, think back to a crucible moment in your life. Ask yourself:

  • What did I do during that time? What didn’t I do?

  • What did I wish for during that crucible moment? (Peace? Support? Clarity? Safety?)

  • Who did I turn to for support? Who did I leave out?

  • How did I feel before? After? How did it change me?

Kudos for diving into this work at the highest level. What did you learn?  Any surprises?

Don’t forget that many people refuse to revisit their crucible moments. That’s the past, they say. Let sleeping dogs lie. That’s all well and good until you repeat the mistakes of your past and wonder why you can’t make progress. What’s that saying? “Walk down the same street and you’ll fall into the same hole.”  Give me a new street, anytime.


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