The Unpleasant Path to Eyes Wide Open Leadership

About 18 months ago, the perfect storm of events happened to call me into a higher level of leadership than I knew I had within me.

I wasn’t really able to talk about much of it until now because 1) I was in it and just trying to keep my head above water while it was happening; 2) much of it involved other people that I wanted to be sensitive of; and 3) I think I was in shock.

Now, being on the other side of all of it, I’m grateful to report I made it through, made the right choices at each step along the path, and I’ve gained a lot of wisdom I’m ready to share.

It started when my partners in this business, Eyes Wide Open, were poached by an unethical business man, mid-launch of our at the time newly revamped Money Map program.

Yes, mid-launch. After a series of texts, that perhaps I could have handled better, they let me know they were leaving, immediately.

I was stunned. These women weren’t just my business partners, they were my friends. Or so I thought.

higher level of leadership than I knew I had within me.

I was even more shocked when I asked one of the gals how, as my friend, she could be making the choice she was, and she told me we had never been friends, really.

With the benefit of time and space, I am now ready to go back to the email  exchange she and I had at that time to seek more understanding, and I am able to see clearly where I was not being the leader I now know I am capable of being.

At the time though, I was in total shock and terror, AND it was a huge catalyst for me to reconnect to my work, in a way that was greatly called for and much needed.

Simultaneous to all of that, two other major things were happening:

1. We had hired a CEO at New Law Business Model who was clearly not the right fit. He was a serious old school, patriarchal kind of guy. Conservative, religious, and not trusting of the feminine.

How he got hired to run my company is a whole story of abdication of leadership in and of itself. I take full responsibility and also know it was a necessary part of my journey back to my own power.

I knew we would have to get him out as quickly and easily as possible that Spring, and I was terrified about what that meant.

I tried to sell the company quickly, but he skewered the deal, and the truth was the company was not ready to be sold.

I did everything I could to avoid stepping back into that leadership role, while I was now at the same time leading Eyes Wide Open without my partners to rely on, but finally surrendered to the realization that I was being called to step up in a much bigger way than I could have imagined.

Spirit was yelling at me — it’s time Ali/Alexis — we’re calling in your leadership. You can and will run both of these companies. Get to it girl. So, I did.

2. At precisely the same moment, my daughter was entering what would become the most challenging and daunting phase of her life up until that point and would have me question everything about myself as a mother.

If you’ve ever parented a 14/15-year old who you can see slipping away from you, toward friends who are part of the “bad crowd” and who might just see your daughter as the leader of the pack, you’ll have some sense of what I was facing.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised as this was exactly what I was like at 14/15 years old, and I was simply getting the karmic return, right?

At one point, it had gotten so bad, I was considering sending her away to a 10-week Wilderness Therapy program. It would be my saving grace. I was sucking as a parent, so I’d let someone else handle it for me.

I had convinced her to go. She was reluctantly on board. I would find the $40,000 to pay for it somewhere. I had ideas. It would be easier to make the money than to keep failing her, and facing my own parenting failure.

But, the night before she was scheduled to go, as I sat in her room with her, she said “Mom, I can’t go. Amy {name changed for privacy} just went there and we can’t both be there at the same time.”

“Amy” had actually been a friend of hers that had run away to our house. When I spoke to her mom, I told her about the program I would be sending Kaia to and apparently Amy’s mom got Amy there first.

I was devastated. Hysterical. She was right, they couldn’t both be there at the same time, in the same program.

My saving grace had been yanked away and now what would I do.

I remember standing on my back porch, crying and begging Sprit to show me the answers.

And, as often happens when I get to that point, I heard the clear response.

“Be her mother. She needs you. You have the tools.”

Fuck.

Of course.

Be her mother.

I had no idea how to do that.

And, yet, of course, I knew exactly what it meant.

So, I did.

Today, she is a confident young woman. Healthy. And whole.

The details of the journey since then I will save for another day, but being her mother took me on a journey of reparenting myself, growing up my own inner teenager in a way I had never received when I was her age.

And, mothering her in a way that I had once prayed for as my teenage self so many years before.

Today, she is a confident young woman. Healthy. And whole.

This Summer, she spent 9-weeks in NYC at a dance intensive, living as an adult, learning to dance, and not in the wilderness getting the substitute parenting I didn’t feel qualified to give.

Upon returning, we’ve decided that high school isn’t a fit, and I’m homeschooling her instead. Or more appropriately, she’s homeschooling herself and I’m guiding her with tools and some structure.

I can see now that each of these events, my partners leaving, hiring the wrong CEO (who in some ways was the right CEO because he actually did teach me a lot), and my daughter’s crisis were each the same thing — a call for me to step into leadership, to learn to be a leader, and to lead my companies and my family, truly.Leadership is quite a bit different than I thought it was. Far more humbling,

Leadership is quite a bit different than I thought it was.

Far more humbling, a lot less “dickish,” and way more servant. I’ll write an article sometime soon on the difference between “dick leadership” and “jane leadership” as I am coming to see it.

Today, New Law Business Model is thriving. I’ll be sharing my quarterly financial reviews on Patreon until I figure out another better membership platform, if you want to check those out.

Eyes Wide Open is bringing in enough income to cover it’s base expenses and we’ve got enough available credit to fund a restructure. I’ll also share the details of that in the Patreon site as well as a spreadsheet that’s part of our Enough Course, which you can use to track your own resources and needs.

And, I’m restructuring my life to write my book, Enough: The Money Wake-Up Call to Reclaim Your Time, Energy and Attention in Service to a Life Worth Living (working title).

I’ve got some personal work to do on myself before I’m ready to dive into the writing, and we’ve got some team expansion to do at New Law Business Model to take some things off my plate, but I’ve got a fantastic co-leader running the company with me now, and we’ve got a plan, so I know it’s just a matter of time.

I’m at the tail end of a personal relationship that has pointed clearly to my own next level of internal work, and has me facing some deep patterns around narcissism and addiction that I look forward to sharing with you once I have some more clarity, as I believe we’ve all got some of that running our lives and I hope my awareness will help you see more as well.

So that’s it for now. I’ve got ten million emails (feels like that) I still need to write for the lawyers we serve, and some “parts work” to do with the young parts of me that are resistant to me writing the book, and then taking the kids to the  Farmers Market.

Back again soon, I hope.

To your eyes (and heart) wide open life and income,