Life in Limbo

I recently learned about the meaning of the word “trigger.” And no, I don’t mean the part of a gun you pull when ready to fire. Instead, in terms of life circumstances, the word “trigger” means, “a life event that forces you into limbo.” When I first saw this definition of the word “trigger,” I realized that’s exactly what I went through for a year and a half: LIMBO.

What was the life event forcing me into limbo? Nothing I would describe as an “event” occurred. I just know that during the summer of 2014, whenever I wasn’t busy with my work as an image consultant in Nashville, TN, I was packing as many fun activities into my schedule as I could: parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing and more. I even got to ride in a race car during one of the video shoots I was doing wardrobe for, which was absolutely exhilarating!

Looking back, I now realize that getting out and experiencing life to the fullest was probably my “trigger,” because it opened up in me a whole new yearning for a fully-lived life, not just for me, but also for others. But at the time, I couldn’t visualize or articulate what that would look like.

I started feeling restless and burned out with my image consulting work I once was very passionate about, and was lacking a vision and purpose for the future of my business. Despite having so much fun in my free time, I was definitely in limbo, which is not always a fun place to be.

Fear As An Obstacle

During my year and a half limbo phase, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do career-wise. It was frustrating and discouraging. All I know is, during that summer, people were coming to me with the same struggles. They were saying to me how they feel they need some kind of change in their life and work, and how they wish they could have the time and the means to enjoy life discovering and pursuing their passions like I was.

Every time I heard this my heart would go out to them. I would say, “You CAN!” But, my encouragement was always met with some kind of obstacle, either real or perceived. Their responses included reasons (or are they excuses?) such as, “I don’t have the money, or the time, or the skill/education, etc., etc., etc.” I think a lot of those examples could easily be translated to “I don’t have the courage,” which is understandable because fear (whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of change) can be extremely paralyzing.

The Vision Becomes Clear

As the summer turned into fall and winter and then summer again, I continued trying and doing new things to help me make sense of the uncertainty I was experiencing. I went ice skating for the first time in my life, took a fly fishing class, and learned archery. In that time I also continued my favorite activity I had picked up the previous summer, stand up paddle boarding. I have two boards now and paddle every month of the year, even in the dead of winter, because I am so very passionate about it.

I also did something I never imagined doing: I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville in front of Nissan Stadium on the winding Cumberland River to Rock Harbor Marina. I thought it would take me about five or six hours to complete, but I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes (while going against a headwind with little to no current!).

Photo by Joey Martin

This experience taught me that although I couldn’t see the finish line because of all the twists and turns in the river, it eventually would become clear as I neared it. All I had to do was be patient and keep moving one paddle stroke at a time. That’s exactly what I did in my time of limbo. I kept doing the little bit I knew to do at a time and waited for the answer to come.

All of this, along with a lot of prayer, led up to the moment on December 17th, 2015 when suddenly my limbo ended, the clouds parted, and the sun shined brilliantly on what my purpose is at this stage in my life. I was in the shower (where I do my best thinking!) and suddenly I could see in my head the word PASSION, as if written in flashing neon lights.

The message I was getting is I am to help other people discover and pursue their passions in life and work, and help them find ways over, through, or around the obstacles and fears keeping them from their passions. As soon as this came to my mind, I could clearly see and visualize ways of helping people do this, using my own unique strengths and passions. I received continual confirmation that this is truly my new path, and have taken steps toward making it a reality.

From Fashionista To Passionista

At Climb Nashville (photo by Cristy Mayes)

With this new vision for my future, I was also able to look back on the past and see how God was using my past experience to prepare me for this. Straight out of grad school I became a college career adviser because I was passionate about helping college students discover what it was they loved and wanted to do in their life (instead of just doing what their mom or dad told them to do). That experience prepared me to coach people on how to incorporate their passions into their work and how to make money doing what they love while helping others.

My own sense of adventure and love for developing new interests outside of work also prepared me to help others pursue passions outside of their work. I was even able to see how the name of my image consulting business, paNASH, still worked with my new mission and purpose.

So, now, I am no longer an image consultant. While I enjoyed styling people’s wardrobes and helping them look and feel their best, I now help them LIVE THEIR BEST! I guess you could say I’ve gone from somewhat of a fashionista to a passionista! I don’t look at my work as something I do for a living. It’s something I live.

If you want to start living this way, then pursue your passions with paNASH! Email me to find out more on the ways I can help you put your passion into action. Or, join the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan.

Check out paNASH’s new on-demand coaching programs. You’ll find topics on ways to pursue your passions and how to find work you love. The programs are accessible, affordable, and available for you to work at your own pace!

Originally published at on February 9, 2016.

Originally published at