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My highest and best use; An essay by Katie Rasoul

I usually write about business, personal development or some other (hopefully) helpful topic. This one is mostly just about being human.

I recently brought a new baby girl into the world, and she is perfect. We have been waiting for her. And I am doing everything in my personal power not to squander this moment that is terribly fleeting. She will never be this little again, and I make efforts to be as dialed in and present as possible during our time together. In fact, this is my one main goal of 2019; to be present.

Some days are hard. Particularly torturous are the days when you have not nearly enough sleep to fuel any sort of patience, and my four-year-old stomps around like a Clydesdale while doing the very thing you just asked him not to do five times.

Sometimes the joy is overwhelming. I can be rocking my little girl to sleep on my shoulder, checking in the reflection of a nearby window if her eyes are closed yet while dripping tears of joy from my face. These moments are so short, ever changing. Good or bad, I know whatever it is it will be different in a matter of weeks or even days. Those without children wonder why all us parents ever do is complain about our children. It is because we simply cannot find the words to adequately describe the joyful moments. So, we ineloquently huff around instead about the minor annoyances we can articulate.

When I had my first child, I was a different person. As a result of coaching and a lot of personal development, one unexpected side effect has been that I feel more alive and experience emotions with greater force. Not only sadness or frustration, but also joy and love. Before I had dulled my emotional awareness with busy schedules, fear of failure and “shoulds”. Now that I can experience every emotional direction much deeper, I feel like I am living life in technicolor. If I am coloring with bold markers now, I must have been using pastels before without even knowing it.

I now have space to just be. I am living in the present and letting the joy and love settle in. I have memorized the path on the floor to walk that has the least creaks to not wake anyone. I use the quiet moments in the middle of the night when it is just me and baby girl, rocking and feeding her, as my mindful and most present moments. No Facebook, no Amazon Prime. Just me soaking in the moments knowing that one day they will be gone without much notice. As she grows older, I already find them to be a rare treat to be soaked up. (All this coming from a person who is convinced sleeping is her greatest superpower)

It is challenging to take a break from your work. Partially because some part of you still thinks you “should” be working, advancing, grinding. And partially because your heart is in it, and it is hard to hit pause on heart-filled momentum. Sometimes I feel grateful to take a breath and hit the reset button in this moment away from work. There are some moments when I feel “benched,” as a lot of working parents do when you watch others accomplish things you would like to do while your biggest “accomplishment” for the day is coaching a tiny newborn to lift her head a little more.

Yet I know better. I often preach in leadership that it is important to do the work that only you can do. This means delegating things to others, letting things go that aren’t meant for you, and hiring people to do their best work for the things that aren’t yours. The work that only I can do (and parents, I know you get this) is be Mom. That will always be the job I won’t outsource (or want to). I appreciate this moment to walk my talk and live to my highest and best use.

I will blink and all of the sudden I will be buying prom dresses and drivers licenses, and in the business world that seems such a flurry of “busy” I am certain nothing is all that different now that I am back in the game. Companies still need help with their culture, leaders still want coaching, and the world of organizations still have plenty of fixin’ to do. If there is one thing I learned in the corporate world is that people are so busy doing their “stuff” that they barely notice when you are gone for 12 weeks. What has been some of the most memorable weeks of my life are barely a blip on the collective radar, so I’ll be damned to waste it.

For now, parents, you are not benched unless you’ve decided to bench yourself. Whatever you are ready for is ready for you. If you need me I will just be over here trying to find the best way to bottle baby snuggles, so I’ll get back to you when my highest and best work is done. Until then, let’s all enjoy the ride.


Katie is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. Find out more by visiting or join the Team Awesome Community for awesomeness coming straight to your screen. Follow Team Awesome on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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