I recently attended a conference put on by my new certification organization ProDoula. It was an amazing few days of speakers and breakout sessions, people who loved and supported each other. Every person was there to help ensure that we all had the tools we needed to succeed in our businesses.

ProDoula's Randy Patterson and Hamilton Doula Group's Crystal Stevens

Randy Patterson and Crystal Stevens at the ProDoula conference gala.

It was an amazing few days. Indescribable. Life changing.

The very last exercise of the conference was led by our very own ProDoula leader Randy Patterson. It was an exercise on goal setting. For me this ended up being the most challenging part of the conference.

“Choose a goal” she said. I watched as the faces around me grew thoughtful, then excited. And very quickly I saw heads bend over papers as other doulas quickly came up with goals and projects for themselves.

I’m an independent contractor, I don’t have my own business to set a goal for. What could I possibly write down? I really tried to think of something. Support my agency more? Maybe something to do with a charity event we would like to organize? No, these really weren’t goals. Just ideas for supporting other people. Before I could write something down Randy moved down to the next line.

“Now pick the date you will reach this goal. Because without an end date, a goal is just a dream.” Wow, powerful. The statement really struck me. And again, I watched pens put to paper. And I still hadn’t come up with a goal for myself.

This continued on and I left the conference with a blank form, an empty sheet, which seemingly represented my goals for my own self. I had thought of many things I could do for other people. Many ideas to help others along their journeys. But nothing, not a single goal was for myself.

So this is my ‘aha’ moment. Our organization is always using this hashtag and all this time I thought I had understood #iamenough. But I was very clearly wrong. And I started to wonder exactly when I had become unworthy of my own time. When had I stopped being enough for myself? And as I looked back on all the unfinished dreams, I thought I finally realized why the ProDoula family had come into my life. Because for the first time I am going to put pen to paper. I am going to write down my dreams. I will put down an end date, and my dreams will become goals. My ProDoula family will hold me accountable, because they want to see me succeed.

Crystal Stevens of Hamilton Doula Group

Hamilton Doula Group’s Birth and Postpartum Doula Crystal Stevens

During this year, while others are furiously building their businesses, I will be working on me. My goal is to really understand what #iamenough means. I’ve been given the tools, I have no excuses. And my end date is the ProDoula #sharethevision2016 conference in Kansas City Missouri in October 2016.

Learn more about Crystal Stevens, a Hamilton Doula Group Birth and Postpartum Doula.