Being Present – Virtually and Otherwise

As many of you know, my family and I have been working toward relocation to Houston for over six months. I’m happy to report that we are finally here! We’ve been in Houston for a little over a week – trooping through life in a hotel room until our new house is ready for us to build our nest. After being super close in the ways you can only understand if you’ve lived in one room with your family for any length of time, I snuck away to spend the last two days in Dallas. I adventured into Dallas to attend Virtually Present – a workshop that is a partnership between ProDoula and Yellow Jacket Social.

 

Once again, a ProDoula workshop is never just what it is advertised as being.  The workshop has a focus on understanding social media, utilizing it well and with decorum, and really taking the time to communicate with our clients.  If you know me well, you know that I love information. While doula work is my passion and my career, business is my hobby. Nothing makes me more sparkly eyed that finding a good business book that wasn’t written in 1975. I love the purpose of business, writing, communicating a message, connecting with families and professionals, and understanding how it all flows. The information presented by ProDoula and Yellow Jacket Social is comprehensive, well researched, applicable, modern, and a time save for those of us who spend hours reading 300 pages for five key points.

I registered for the workshop because the reviews of it said it was an ass kicker. In the best of ways, I feel like every workshop ProDoula does is an endurance test. Can I wake up at 5:45am to prepare my mind, go to a 10 hour workshop, and then drive 5 hours through the night to get “home”? Yes, I can. That’s because I’m as fierce, brave, and committed as every other woman I spent those 10 hours with. A ProDoula workshop is never just what is in the outline.  10 hours is a long day to really retain and utilize a massive cache of golden information. I walked away with 11 pages of notes that are completely unedited and unformatted. I was distracted by the ProDoula experience, but knew I’d have some serious regrets if I didn’t have an electronic copy of the information for when my brain could process it again.

The experience of being in a room of ProDoulas is worth just as much as the content.  How is that relevant to the work that I do as a doula? How does it translate into the service and connection I provide to my clients, my business, or even how I spend my time?

In my family, we have a few founding principles. They are based on being honorable, loyal, and trustworthy. If you break any of those, we’re going to be pretty grumpy with you for a while – if not permanently. From a business perspective, the companies I own are founded on a belief that we all have unique and amazing stories. It is difficult for me to design packages of services for my clients because I can’t predict the amount of service that’s right for them, or which combination is the best for their dreams and goals. I believe in the stories of my clients. I believe in my story. We all have hills and valleys and I love to get to know people and how where they’ve come from and the accompanying challenging made them into the amazing powerhouses they are today. ProDoula has given me the story I’m so attracted to. It’s created a story for me of investing almost $20,000 into being a doula and growing a business with five years of being at a financial loss and finally seeing growth in my company. I’m not the money hungry bad words people think ProDoulas are. In fact, none of us are. We’ve reached a point where we know we’re passionate about our careers, we know we’re very skilled and amazing at our work, and we now realize we deserve to be paid for our work if we’re working full time without any financial compensation whatsoever. That’s where I’m at. I’m the stubborn weed that cannot find the heart to leave my career and passion to find an average 9-5 job, but need to put food on the table. I’m so excited for the recognition to come that being a doula is not something we do or accomplish in a weekend.

On my drive from Houston to Dallas, I took pause to think about how crazy it was that I was willing to drive 5 hours to a workshop. It’s interesting to think about how far people travel for a workshop – some much further than I drove.

I stayed with Ashley Coones, a  Fort Worth postpartum doula extraordinaire at her home the night before the workshop. If you don’t hire a doula to companion you through your pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey, I recommend you stay with one while you travel. Let’s just say the service she provided me was better than the hotel I currently live at. Clean sheets, laughter, active conversation, sangria, and chocolate brownies. There was the ability to just sit in her rocking recliner and destress from the relocation. I’m pretty sure my experience was because she’s a doula. ProDoulas are the people that open their doors, share their food, and are genuinely interested in knowing how you are.

At the start of the workshop, Randy told us we weren’t there to make friends. The focus was on business. I felt like an eyeroll was in order, but I kept it on the inside. I’m already friends with those women. The closest thing to friends I have this lifetime, anyway.  These are the women I laugh and cry with it. These are the people who have held me as I cried. The women I celebrate mutual success with.  I’m not sure there is anyone that could teach me technical birth skills that I don’t already possess, but these women have made me a better doula, a better person, a better mother, and a better wife.

There’s lots of talk about ProDoula affiliated women being aggressive, exclusive, brainwashed, that we feel we are the best, etc. The truth of the matter is that if you verbally attack colleagues that I’ve seen build an amazing business for years, I’m going to simply listen to you without smiling or sharing the granola bars in my purse. When you attack women because of envy, jealously, religion, origin, or whatever other thing…that makes you have an agenda, and I wonder how you support your clients. I go about everything I do as a woman. And that’s some hard shit. There’s nothing I do so perfectly that I can judge or mock anyone else. If you think that I believe I’m the best, it’s true. Because I am. I’m the best version of myself I can be. And, you too, can be the best version of you. Only you know what that is.  ProDoula is not exclusive, or a girls club. You don’t have to pay a single cent to join the online groups such as The Business of Being A Doula or So You Think You Can Doula?

If you want to learn some next level business, build a community of women around you that support you in all glorious life things, and eat some amazing barbecue, it’s worth it to invest in a ProDoula workshop.

I’m excited to share Houston with you as my son and I explore it. I’m looking forward to teaming up with an amazing group of specialists in the coming year to bring Houston full service offerings.  As with all new beginnings, there are projects I am letting go of, and others I am expanding to meet the needs of the families I serve. I can’t wait to get unpacked, have an office again, and get busy with connecting and sharing with local providers. I’m ready to be fully present here – virtually and otherwise.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, I finally learned how to use Pinterest.

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