I first met Cristin Lind at a class she taught almost 10 years ago. From the moment I heard her speak, I knew she was a Brilliance-Based Businesswoman. I hired her to help me establish viable organizational systems (with methods I still use and recommend today), and from there we became friends. A few years ago she successfully sold her business, choosing to focus on her family and finding her calling. I’m honored she agreed to be featured in the first edition of my Reflections of a Brilliance-Based Careerwoman series.
The past twenty years of my professional life have been a circuitous path. I’ve been a business consultant and a professional weaver. I’ve worked in a cheese shop in a European capital. I’ve been a project manager at a translation company and I’ve sold art and antiques on the nation’s largest public television auction. I was the office manager at a textile conservation center that conserved Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress and I conducted phone surveys of college students. I was fortunate to find interesting work but nothing that could be considered a calling.
Just as a theme of arts and non-profit management emerged in my career, I gave birth to a son with complex medical, behavioral and cognitive issues in 2002. Work was pushed to the back burner while I focused full-time on coordinating the healthcare, education, and public health programs that he needs to live a full and joyful life.
One of the skills that allowed me to manage these complex systems was time management and personal organization. My desire to share what I had learned led me to found a corporate training and consulting business in 2005 that focused on helping others become more focused, productive and organized. Several years later, my son’s challenges required my full attention again and in 2010 I sold the business to focus on his needs full-time, but I still possess a love of personal development.
What do you do now? How is this role a reflection of Your Brilliance?
After years of managing a complex healthcare and education system to advocate for our family, I now use my experience to transform healthcare and create authentic community for all people. I serve in a variety of leadership roles that focus on partnerships between parents and healthcare professionals to ensure that parents’ and families’ perspectives are part of the design and implementation of the healthcare transformation process.
What’s different for me now is that my personal and professional lives are so intertwined, and I like the synergy of that. My personal life is the testing ground for concepts I share with others professionally, and I’m constantly learning new professional skills that help me dream bigger for my son, my family and myself. It’s energizing and rewarding.
How do you define “success” for yourself?
Success for me means being aware of my strengths, playing to them, and sharing them to benefit the world. One of the best things about being a parent of a child with special needs (and one who is typically developing) is that I’ve completely redefined what it means to be “gifted.” We all have gifts. Success means figuring out how to create the opportunity to use those gifts for the benefit of everyone.
What changes have you made or experienced in your life and work that have enabled you to experience more ease?
After my son was born, I spent a long time railing against what I perceived to be the injustice of his challenges. With practice, I was able to see what a blessing and opportunity I had been given—life presented me with a challenge so big I needed to rethink everything. Over time, I’ve shifted from a perspective that asks “Why me?” to one that asks, “How did I get so lucky?” Perspective is everything.
Shortly after the birth of my son I discovered the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, right in my neighborhood. I had walked by it hundreds of times but never noticed it—then one day, there it was. I started practicing vipassana meditation, a tradition that emphasizes mindfulness and insight.
What would you love your next breakthrough to be?
To have fewer breakthroughs and just give things a chance to integrate for a while.
What brings you joy?
Besides being with my family? Creating things—drawing, gardening, decorating a room. Spending time in nature, especially having a picnic. Simple things—anything lavender scented, having a puzzle out on my dining room table, grabbing a beer on the deck with my husband at the end of the day.
In my free time, I enjoy yoga, writing, leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, traveling to Sweden to visit my husband’s family each summer and reading fiction, usually about fascinating women who live in exotic places.
Most everything brings me joy, so long as I am truly present for it.
What support do you have on the journey of your Brilliance-Based career?
It definitely takes a village for all families, but our family requires a bigger village than most. I have a wonderful husband who trusts my choices even when he doesn’t understand them. My mother is a great help. My son’s healthcare team, especially his PCA (personal care attendant), is top notch. I have neighbors and friends who help us out when we’re in a pinch—which is more often than I want to admit.
I have a few close friends and mentors who see things in me before I see them in myself. They hold that space open for me until I’m ready to step into it. I’m really grateful for that.
And in a spirit of full disclosure—the village isn’t complete without a great therapist, a fabulous house cleaner and a wonderful Indian takeout around the corner.
As a successful Brilliance-Based Careerwoman, what’s your best advice for other aspiring and active Brilliance-Based Careerwomen?
Know that your gift is valuable and is needed. Take responsibility for how you spend your time. Look for the activities that leave you more energized—and do those things more often. Trust that there’s enough in the world for everyone, including you.
What’s the best way for others to learn more about what you do?
Please feel free to stop by my blog: www.durgastoolbox.com.