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In Her Own Voice: Cathy D on Reframing Difficult Transitions

Cathy Dalipe came to the DYL for Women workshop at an inflection point when she did not know what was next. After learning new tools and creating a community of support, Cathy has a reframed mindset and a renewed sense of confidence about the joyful future that she is designing.




Losing My Compass

When I came to DYL for Women in San Diego in May 2018, I was struggling; whirling in uncertainty and trying to regain stability in the midst of a confusing period in my life.  A chapter had ended, and I did not know how to let go and heal. I felt stuck, unclear and uncomfortable in that “neutral space.” I was ill-prepared to allow a new chapter to unfold.  

At the end of 2016, I made a difficult decision to step away from a successful and fulfilling 25-year career in international education.  I made this decision in order to spend time with my mother in the Philippines, who was then diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  Spending quality time with my mother and arranging caregiving for her gave me a clear sense of purpose, meaning and joy. Living in the Philippines for six months where life is simpler and the pace of life is slower was a much needed gift to care for my body, mind and soul!  It took me about two weeks to adjust, settle in and settle down.  Only then did I come to realize that through my ongoing need to strive at work, I had exhausted myself mentally and physically. I also realized that things that had previously driven me to strive were not as important anymore.  


Whirlwind Return

My return to the United States and the 18 months that followed were challenging, to say the least. My days were overshadowed by guilt and anger coupled with sadness and confusion.  I felt guilty for leaving work without a backup plan for a smooth transition to what was supposed to be next. I was angry for feeling guilty. I was confused because I was disconnected from who and what mattered most to me. I was experiencing deep sadness and mourning the loss of work and all of what that entailed, being far away from my mother and losing my inner compass.

Deep down, I knew I needed to take responsibility for creating a better life on my own terms and “get my mojo back.”  I decided that it was time to step forward, go in deep, do the “real” work and create a well-designed life: one that is full of joy, fully aligned with my values, one that welcomes and surrenders to uncertainty, and one that I am proud of, can dance to, play with and sing about.


Attending the DYL for Women’s Workshop

My husband saw my struggle and pain.  He did everything he could do to support me and bought me the Designing Your Life book  in 2017. When I first started reading, I wasn’t ready for it and couldn’t get through the first chapter.  Fast forward a few months later, a good friend of ours who had just retired after a successful 30-year career as CEO of Scripps Green Hospital picked up the book and spoke highly about the design principles for life.  He said the principles provided a solid framework to create a well-lived life as he transitioned out of his career and helped him clarify his next steps during retirement. Back to my husband. He happened upon the DYL women’s workshop link and passed it along to me.  Being intuitive and sensitive to what I was going through, he didn’t push an agenda. Despite my initial hesitance, the decision to register for the workshop was a pivotal turning point in taking another step towards creating a life that I want and deserve.




Internal Impact

The weekend collaborating with and brainstorming with a group of women in a supportive and safe space was transformative, and to this day, I continue to apply the principles learned.  Reframing has been vital to opening myself up to thinking of possibilities never imagined. There has been a fundamental shift not only in my mindset, but also in my actions and speech.  I am grounded in confidence and know my center and what I stand for. I know my worth and the value I bring to the table. I am confident about sharing my talents, achievements and accomplishments.  I ask for what I need and want and am able to confidently negotiate around these terms. I am not afraid to ask meaningful questions, speak my truth or make mistakes. I have the courage to go to the edge and prototype a few ideas.  I no longer have a need to please others, prove myself or believe I have to be perfect. I take responsibility for my decisions and consequences and don’t make excuses or blame others. I know that saying no and setting healthy boundaries around how and with whom I spend my energy and time also means saying yes.  I have no qualms asking for help, seeking out mentors and building community. I have learned the hard way that “no woman is an island.” And when those fleeting moments of self-doubt, stress and worry make an appearance, I am able to step outside of the fear and consciously choose not feed that energy.


Creating Community

Through the DYL May 2018 San Diego workshop, I met six other beautiful women from the San Diego area.  We have met every month from June through December 2018 to go through the book and workbook exercises together.  The monthly meetings provided a space for us to share our ideas openly. Thanks to the DYL Workshop, we have formed a special bond with each other and continue to thrive.  We also decided to go through another learning cycle together this past January in our desire to create abundance and to “peel another layer of the onion” in the unfolding dance with life.


What is Next?

As the next chapter continues to unfold, I am fully engaged in creating new possibilities around work, love, play, and health. I am excited to bring my strengths to the table, to operate in my ‘zone of genius’, and to create meaningful work that brings me joy, which in turn can inspire others. I am leaving the shadows of my self-doubt behind and stepping into the light of my confident self.  

It feels great to get my mojo back!