I grew up in Hunterdon County, New Jersey with a twin brother and a younger sister. I was inherently shy and tended to naturally take a back seat to my siblings. My parents were both teachers and ran a non-profit camp every summer. We were a very close-knit family and by all accounts, I had an idyllic childhood. When I was 17, that all changed. Unexpectedly, my brother came down with a bacterial infection that took his life very suddenly. This completely changed the happy dynamic of my home and thrust me into being a different version of myself. I became outgoing and the life of the party, all to help me ignore and navigate the grief. This is how I survived and ultimately it was expected of me to help my parents and sister cope. I had to step up, take charge, and entertain. This new way of me showing up became the norm for many years. It wasn’t until I was 30, when the man who would become my husband said to me, “It’s okay to let others tell their own story. You don’t always need to be responsible for the conversation and drive the entertainment.” I remember how that stung and stopped me in my tracks. I thought: how could he love me if he didn’t really accept me? Looking back, this was the beginning of finally returning to my true self. I ultimately realized he was right, and I felt relieved. Since that time, I have worked on coming back full circle to my true self. This authenticity allows me to be more effective in my 30-year HR career, and ultimately, has led me down the path to becoming a coach. I joined EQuipt because I’ve come full circle and see the power of listening in making an impact and connecting with others. As people are more than one dimensional, I strive to give others space to sort through their own story and come to a stronger place.