Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 31 Habitat for Humanity, studying and recording music, and creating the site e Storied Desk, a site dedicated to help- ing ambitious, goal-setting women gain work-life balance. She says creating e Storied Desk was a manifestation of her "why." "By creating time and space for the things that were important to me, such as family, travel, writing, and fitness, I could no longer allow my career to define my en- tire life," says Littlejohn. "I wanted to share that experience with other working wom- en and men so they could mindfully select their paths instead of sailing off course." First, she had to figure out her "why"— the purpose, cause, or belief that inspired her. In order to start living a fulfilled life, it's time to journey to your "why." is is a process that some experts say is complex, especially for powerful women in leadership. "Many executive women struggle with the fear and doubt of the unknown and the potential of this new experience," says Sheri Riley, an empower- ment speaker in Atlanta, Georgia. "Many ISTOCKPHOTOS Accelerate We Mean Business > Figuring out your "why" in life can help you launch the next stage of your career By Tanisha A. Sykes I n 2010, Shai Littlejohn, then an at- torney at a law practice in Washington, DC, was working 50-plus hours a week. She eventually started her own law prac- tice and wove in some bucket list items, but came to a realization. "I couldn't have the peace I sought when my clients had 24/7 problems," says Littlejohn, a 40ish lawyer now based in Nashville, Tennes- see, whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs. "I had to accept my truth: being a law- yer was not enough," she says. Realizing her career could be anything she wanted, she scaled down her practice to part-time. en, she set out on a year of adven- ture, traveling abroad, volunteering with How to Create Your Own C-suite are also worried about keeping up appear- ances since the career transition may look to some like moving backward." Littlejohn felt some of the strain Riley describes. "I was afraid of what would hap- pen if I stopped [being a lawyer]," she says. "I also hadn't fully accepted that it was okay for me not to choose the same path as everyone else." Many senior-level professionals have difficulty figuring out their "why" be- cause they are too busy working to think about life any other way. But it's never too late to create your own C-suite. To help you discover your "why," follow these tips from experts and corporate women who have leapt from the cor- ner office into their own C-suite to start their own business. Tip #1 Stop saying "I don't know." Many of us may not think we know our "why" in life. Sheri Riley, author of Expo- nential Living: Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are, says we always

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