Journey to Valuing Myself

In 2011, I made a decision that started a traumatic snowball effect in my life for the next 3 years to come. It was a really bittersweet decision to leave a job where I had made friends I loved, enjoyed the job itself, and felt needed and appreciated by everyone I worked with. I felt valuable to my boss and the company. I didn't realize until I left it how much lack of value for their employees other companies have.

I left because I hated the commute.

I got a new job closer to home with a schedule that more closely aligned with my husbands schedule. It felt like it was going to be great, but during training I learned things about the company that I didn't agree with. I kept with it, even though it was completely out of alignment with my values. I put my all into this company, like I do with everything else in my life. I got great reviews from my supervisors, had great scores and was hitting and exceeding all of my goals. Until one day I made a mistake that ended my job. A mistake that I was assured would be just fine and result in minor discipline. That didn't happen.

I felt defeated and like a complete failure. Until I realized that, all it was, was a lack of value for me as an employee in that company.

I quickly got another job, with a smaller company, in hopes I would be valued there for my skills, talents, and intelligence. For the first while, it did feel like I was, but that faded as my supervisor began to show her true colors. She began to nitpick everything I did - down to where I could staple a stack of papers. And not just me, everyone that worked there. She had an excel spreadsheet log of the things everyone did that she didn't like. The biggest problem was, the owner of the company valued her more because she had been there longer and it resulted in letting me go basically because she no longer liked me.

Again. Lack of value.

But at this point I began to realize that maybe people weren't valuing me because I wasn't valuing myself. Wow. What a hard moment - on top of an already depressing time. I made a decision to learn to value myself. And it proved to continue to be a challenging road to follow.

I began collecting unemployment because we were not in a financial position to get by on one income. Part of the process with unemployment is that you must be submitting applications for jobs and doing interviews, so I was going through the motions, determined to get my photography business consistent and going so that I wouldn't have to work for someone else who didn't value me again. Until one day I received a phone call for a job in Salt Lake City.

I reluctantly agreed to interview and the owner basically begged me to accept an offer on the spot. I told him I needed to talk to my husband because it would mean commuting again, only further this time. And remember, I had started doing work on valuing myself, so I wasn't going to accept this job for meager pay. My husband and I decided that given our financial situation, I needed to accept, but I decided to demand $40k a year salary, because of the work required and the position. It was reasonable for the marketplace. And when he accepted, I was honestly a bit shocked. That's how I knew the road to valuing myself had not yet completely sunk in, but I was at least brave enough to ask for what I was worth.

That job proved to be a nightmare. Subconsciously, I felt as though I wasn't doing good enough work to earn the pay, and this showed it's ugly face to me when I asked for a half day off and my boss asked me how I would get my hours in if I left early. He obviously did not understand that salary doesn't have hours to clock. You're paid to do a job, not for a number of hours you work. When I reminded him of this, he claims he had not agreed to it, even though he had been signing my paychecks and my timecards every two weeks for nearly 8 months. And my request to be added to the payroll initially. It wasn't a secret. And I wasn't being dishonest. Because I didn't agree to taking a giant paycut and going to hourly for what he wanted to pay me, I couldn't keep my job.

Here we are again. I had improved in learning to value myself by this point, but still had a lot of work to do.

I decided I wasn't going to get another job. I worked incredibly hard to get my photography business going and JUST as it began to have a little momentum, we found out we were moving to St. George, Utah for my husband's job. We were so excited for this, but it again was kind of another blow to my career and professional life.

Up to this point in all of our married life, I had NEVER been in a position where I was contributing substantially to our financial well being. And I carried a massive amount of guilt for it. As though, my husband was the one carrying all of the weight of providing for us. But when we moved, I was determined to change that.

I made the decision to pursue a different genre in my photography business, that really spoke to me. This portrait work fulfilled so many things for me, and I learned not only to see so much beauty in others, but also the beauty and value in myself and what I did. Over the two years I spent in this genre, I grew in ways I can't describe. I'll never forget my first 5 figure month in that business. It was hard to get there, but it happened and it was a confirmation for me that I FINALLY valued myself, and it reflected in my business. Because there's no way that someone who doesn't value themselves can get clients to pay them that amount of money in one month.

Shortly after that, I just had this weird feeling that this chapter was closing and had done it's work in my life and that it was time to move into something that would allow me to teach others what I had learned over the last 6 years. In January 2017, I was presented with an opportunity to join Maskcara Beauty, but I resisted it, for almost 5 months.

The first time I was invited to join, I was a firm, flat out no. I didn't want to be part of a network marketing company. I tried them before, and they didn't work for me.

But for almost 5 months, the opportunity kept nagging me. I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't come up with any more excuses why it wouldn't work for me. I didn't have any more to give.

And in June 2017, I made a choice - that seemed impulsive from the outside, but had been long and hard thought about quietly inside. I didn't share this interest with almost anyone. I signed up and have not looked back.

This month I became an Artist Ambassador in the company. In short, what that means, is I have started to teach my team how to grow the way I have and I've reached a place in probably (I don't have exact numbers to know for sure, but this is a good educated assumption) the top 3% of the entire company. It's surreal.

I realize that all of this hardship and determination has led exactly to this point and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful that it's in the past, but still grateful for the lessons I've learned and the changes it led to in my life. It's a reminder that when things are hard in other areas of life, there's reason and it always works itself out with great lessons along the way. And on the other side, I'll be grateful for those challenges as well!

Chelsea Lewis - Artist Ambassador - Maskcara Beauty