I’ve become a cliche. I’ve stepped far outside of anything I ever considered becoming when I moved to Alabama and became a member of Young Living Essential Oils.
And it’s fabulous!
But, but….some people might wonder, some people might laugh, some people could think I’ve lost my mind. But y’all, this company is amazing, and I feel as though my life is changing. It has changed.
I know, it sounds cliche, but I never thought this would happen, that I would move away, halt my career in historic museums, and become a stay at home mom that is an independent distributor for Young Living, one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Let me tell you my story…
My name is Anna Chappelle, I’m a wife to a wonderful husband, mom to two sweet and adventurous boys. I have a background in historic preservation as the executive director of a non-profit organization that operated and maintained a historic site in Tennessee. I was involved in my community and neighborhood. My husband was also in the same field as an executive director of a museum and worked a second position with the local tourism bureau. We loved our Queen Anne cottage in our historic neighborhood, the home where our second son was born, and we love our neighbors, colleagues, family, and friends. We adored our life in Knoxville.
I worked a total of 10 years in museums, with seven years as an executive director. It was rewarding and thrilling to be part of a large group of arts and culture organizations, striving to infuse our community with value and cultural vitality. However, my work began to take its toll, small staffed with a small budget, burnout reached me about the time I became pregnant with our first son in 2013, three and a half years after I accepted the position. I had frequent headaches, I clinched my teeth constantly, my hair was falling out, I was constantly on edge and staving off anxiety, I was restless at night, often waking up to worry about what needed to be done, or what fire I needed to put out. These were problems I couldn’t solve at 2:00 am, but there I was…not coping well.
My husband and I were both feeling the stress of carrying heavy workloads, long hours, long weeks, and months on a fixed salary. We hit our glass ceiling in Knoxville and didn’t have room to grow. We were working harder than we were paid and where once there was reward in the warm fuzzies of our mission, the needs of our growing family began to take priority.
We needed to make a change.
By the time our second son was born, I was well past burnout, I was dust. The financial strain, the medical bills we had to pay out of pocket because our positions didn’t offer health insurance, living paycheck to paycheck, coupled with intense hours and a new uncertainty about the security of my husband’s second job, we were in deep distress. I worked with our infant because we didn’t have the extra income for childcare at that time—it was wrapped up in medical and credit card debt incurred through unpaid maternity leave with our first child. On top of that we both have student loans to pay off.
So, I had guilt that I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids, and guilt that I was neglecting my work. It was a vicious cycle and damn exhausting, too.
When we realized that Calvin was about to lose his second position, we started hustling and Calvin started to apply for positions. Eventually, he accepted a state position in Alabama and we moved away from my childhood town. As heartbreaking as it was, it was a welcome change. I resigned from my position, but stayed on for six months as a consultant. I still had no heart for it, and said goodbye once my contract was up. I was free.
Then came the long process of healing from burnout and finding my place in our new town. I experienced some growing pains: I was secluded, had no friends here, and adjusting to my role as a stay at home mom. I was having to come to terms with what my value is as a mom and not working out of the home. I basically ended my career, what now? I love being home with our boys, it was a dream I wanted deep in my heart: creating relationship with them in a new way I never experienced before, but I also need something for myself. I was struggling with self worth, and felt the familiar tug of depression on my heels. I had to make some changes with myself.
As we were going through the stress of restoring a home we purchased, my close friend told me about Young Living. Having been an oiler for 10 years, I was aware of the company, but wasn’t familiar with their products. After much consideration, I became a member to support my friend, and to learn more about their essential oils. I had no intention of participating in the business aspect of Young Living, but then I fell in love with them and couldn’t wait to share this love with people. I also saw this as a way to contribute to our family’s finances, and spend my energy doing something I enjoy while helping people in the process.
I had some self-imposed challenges, one of them being that I’m an introvert and I didn’t want to be a “salesy” person. I also found myself challenged by caring too much about what people think of me: that I halted my exciting career to share my love of Young Living. Then there was the issue of time, and the initial financial commitment. But, I love the team I’m in and the product, so I made it happen. I re-framed my thinking to see this as a growth development, as an opportunity to overcome some of the challenges I have within myself, and to grow as a person. This would be a way to overcome my need for approval, to not spend time thinking or caring about what others think, and instead focus on all the wonderful people I’m meeting in our group. I’m helping people (something I’ve wanted to do for a long time), and I’m my own boss, which is incredibly fulfilling. I’m seeing a bright future, I’ve already been promoted, I work with beautiful, brilliant, talented, and encouraging people, and the best part is I’m contributing financially to my family. I’m spending my own time working, while being home with my boys, having fun learning new things, all while helping people.
This is all a dream come true. This is how I envisioned my life to be when I was at my lowest.
Where did this shift occur? Wasn’t I on a path to follow my yarny heart and start a yarn business? I am on that path, but I have also made room for Young Living.
My shift happened with one of my favorite oils, Panaway. It was my gateway oil.
I’ll talk more about that next week…