Leaning In and Finding the Strength to Spread My WingsJeannette Kaplun
Life isn’t easy, and it frequently throws us curveballs. There are defining moments in which you feel you only have two options: plunge into a pool that you’re not sure has water in it, or just stand by and play it safe.
Well, last year I decided I was done with playing it safe. I haven’t spoken too much about what the past months have been like, because I’m still dealing with how much my life has changed. Perhaps I haven’t wanted to think too much either, since I acted completely out of character.
So when I was invited to celebrate those times in which we face a challenge head on as part of the Lean In project, I realized it was time. It was time to write and digest the leap of faith I took when I decided to branch out and spread my wings.
You might not know, but in 1999 I co-founded a parenting website in Spanish called Todobebé. It was my first baby and I devoted myself to building it. Thirteen years later, after helping it grow, managing 3 websites, publishing a book, and being on TV every week, it was time for me to let go. It was an excruciating decision.
So much of my life had been defined by what I was doing. And that was the problem. I needed to find a way back to who I am. I needed to allow my own voice to shine through.
Despite wanting to play it safe and just take a break from everything I was already doing, I decided instead to start a new company (Hispana Global) — on my own terms. I fought all the what-ifs invading my head and for once in way too long, was able to lean in and follow my dream.
While writing my Lean In essay, I asked myself what gave me the strength to jump in. After giving it much thought, I realized that becoming a mother and overcoming all the challenges we face as parents while raising our children was key. Most importantly, I wanted to show my children you have to fight for what you want and be brave enough to follow your dreams. The worst thing that can happen is to fail, but then you get up, dust off and try something else.
If I said it’s been easy, I would be lying. But every challenge has made me stronger, every sacrifice has been worth it and the freedom to do what I feel passionate about has been incredibly liberating.
Do your children inspire you to try harder, to be braver and be a better person?