On Finding My Self-Worth in Survival Culture


On Finding My Self-Worth in Survival Culture

On Finding My Self-Worth in Survival Culture

According to my upbringing, I had three futures: law school, medical school, or business school. I didn’t think I was good at math, so law school seemed the most logical.

From my scarcity mindset, law school and my proceeding career as a lawyer meant surviving daily inadequacy and lack of belonging. I survived acne, neck spasms, anxiety, and self-doubt.

To fix my brokenness I taught and did yoga; I went to therapy and tried alternative medicines; I annotated self-help books; I drank green juice and consumed more mindful, locally-grown, grass fed superfoods than you can imagine.

Then, in fear of never finding a job, I took a job as divorce attorney at a boutique Chicago law firm.

Finally, I seemed to have the wealth and power I craved, but nothing healed.

Despite expensive degrees, a supportive upbringing, and world experience, I felt like I didn’t add value to my workplace or the world.

I was grateful to have a job, right? Who was I to deserve more than survival?

Crazy part, instead of transforming culture, I was actually enabling the toxic environment I was in and doing nothing to change it.

Instead, I suffered through bathroom-stall breakdowns, felt victimized through late-nights at the office and voiceless in meetings about performance expectations. Unsure how to find a better solution, I tendered my resignation.


Quitting my job, however, as glorious as it seemed the first week, was not a sustainable solution to happiness.

I wanted to blame law, corporate culture and American consumption, but they were not the perpetrators.

No one forced me to compromise values or silence my voice. I created my self-doubt as much as I created my lack of purpose.

For six months after quitting law, I immersed myself in healing. I continued to do the healthy things, but added in an immersion of disciplined personal growth.

This was more than goal-setting and passion-projecting. I had uncomfortable confrontations and forgiveness – with myself – about the value I bring to the world.  

Lots of snotty noses, loneliness, and shame. My bathroom floor became a good friend. At times thinking the discomfort was unbearable.

This was growth, but instead of accumulating more money, degrees, or travels, this growth was a shedding – coming back to the value that was always present.

I founded The Glow Effect to support millions of other visionary women overflowing with generosity while breaking with not-enoughness.

When high-potential women go from a surviving, scarcity mind to re-connecting with their worth, everyone feels the impact.

Over the past four years, the glow-getter tribe has transformed conversations that used to be about what we don’t have.

Now, it’s about what we are changing.

We redefined growth as augmenting our strengths and magnifying our best selves for the growth of others. #givegrowth


Yet, in order to shift cultural perceptions of female leadership, we had to think beyond boardrooms and executive suites.

Across the globe, it’s been proved with endless stats, when we grow women, families are fed, corporate profits rise, and GDP rises.

This birthed an idea to partner high-potential women from diverse communities to co-create leadership resources for at-risk communities.

If you’ve followed The Glow Effect (and The Glow Exchange non-profit) over the past couple years, you’ve seen this idea morph into partnering 15 women from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia with 15 rising leaders in Kasaali, Uganda.

Together, we created The Glow Effect Centre for Women & Girls, which now houses the training of over 45 local women, and excels the growth of their cooperative.

By experiencing resourcefulness and value – not just being given resources – all of us grew our leadership.

From every walk of life, rich to poor, educated to uneducated, we shared our stories of suppression, marginalization, and subjugation, and the courage each of found through it all.

We not only survived the challenges required in fundraising and curriculum creation, but experienced thrive – a feeling of belonging and world-shaking impact.


I’m one of many high-potential thirty-something women leaving their organizations because of scarcity burnout.

These are the very communities where women are still only 15 percent of company boards and senior-executive teams.

FUN FACT: U.S. organizations spend billions on employee learning and development, yet, in nearly all cultures, men have higher self-esteem. Perhaps more surprising, the confidence gap expands in countries like the U.S. and Australia – the “more developed, egalitarian” cultures one might expect to be the least.

Instead of seeing our survival culture as a problem to be solved, recognize women are the very source of sustainable positive change.  

If we want to be leaders and change the faces at the proverbial tables, we need to heal our internalized cultural values that discourage our growth.

At The Glow Effect, we’re shifting how we perceive, support, and develop high potential women who aspire to create a better world.

We gather organizations to sponsor their employees’ leadership development. Via video-conferencing, employees co-create leadership resources with rising leaders of at-risk communities. As rising leaders multiply their communities’ growth, employees realize their world-shaking impact and transform their workplace culture.

We call it the #GiveGrowth model. Empower yourself to empower others.

If you find yourself in a toxic blur, where you can’t tell if it’s you or your community that’s contributing to a scarcity, survival state, don’t start a charity project. Don’t try to save anyone.

True fulfillment requires us to heal our feelings of scarcity and not-enoughness, so we only create uplifting change.

When you give growth…

you’re shifting your own perception — of yourself and women,

you’re increasing female leadership,

and you grow other women who aspire to create a better world.

Give your people a leader – someone who creates a mindful and uplifting impact. 

Give growth.

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