I joined Driven Woman when I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I was diagnosed with depression - sounds really harsh, as I'm probably the last person anyone would have thought to have suffered from it! But I had completely lost myself. Although now I wonder whether I ever knew who I really was.
I've always been very ambitious. Apparently I started telling people I was going to live outside of Spain when I was 7 years old and by the age of 23 I had left to never look back. (Now I'm like everyone else and go to Spain to visit family and enjoy the sun for a few weeks a year).
But my ambition was not necessarily traditional, or I should better say, I wasn't very focused because ambition was't encouraged in my family. My mum (she is awesome but has her failures) believes ambition is bad for society... I know, I know... she lacks a certain grasp with reality but I will not waste my breath there.
I spent a great deal of my life wondering what there was for me to do in this universe, trying different things.
I came from no money and there was cultural nurturing but no guidance. Over time I discovered that many of these things I tried weren't for me. My exploration included studying Business and working in an office for 7 years. Sometimes I think of it as a waste of my time but sometimes I see it as a necessary learning curve.
Then came motherhood... and huh... I got so much wrong kind of advice! The one little bit I needed to know (and no one told me) was "You will lose yourself for a bit, but don't worry, you'll find yourself back again". Well, in hindsight I can see why I got so lost... I went back to a job I was not passionate about after my first child (and I'm a passionate person), in an environment where my passion and honesty was not appreciated at all. It all but killed me.
Then I had my second child, I decided to not to go back to office work and to stay at home until I'd find out what I wanted to do. I have an extremely loving and supporting husband, it's really important.
Fast forward 3 years and I'm more lost than ever. I had tried becoming a chef (I love cooking). I went and studied a few courses. I was very tired of being a housewife and full time carer for my kids (who I love terribly but it's not who I am), and I hated what I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror. Then the depression hit me. It was most difficult time of my life. We are talking... not wanting to get up, having no energy to take care of the kids, or no desire for socialising.
Fortunately my hubby came in for a rescue! I started therapy (cognitive behavioural therapy, because I am a 'Doer', with awesome Louise, and then DrivenWoman (so many important people in that group that helped me but specially Miisa, Jennifer and Anne). And around the same time I started going to the gym.
Now, all of those factors (including my lovely hubby) helped me in getting where I'm now - I feel like on top of the world right now! But to be honest the canvas on which I was able to set all the colours to find the real Lara... it was DrivenWoman.
Their motto has become such a key guideline for me 'Enjoy the Journey', so much so that I tattooed it on my wrist!
Now I remember it all the time.
What can I say about this special group. We did some thought provoking exercises in every meeting and those really helped me. And taking the time once a month to set my goals. The fact that we were asked to leave our typical environments to think outside the box and expand our mindset was really helpful. DrivenWoman gave me all of those things.
But being surrounded by such a bunch of incredibly different, beautiful and powerful women that really empowered me. These are women who you would think have no issues, have no fears, women who are never lost. And then you listen to their stories and realise they do. You realise that everyone does! They are just like me yet they are incredible, powerful, beautiful and amazing. And they are prepared to share their darkest fears and their insecurities. And there is nothing like the learning you do from all of that.
The funny thing is each of us has a different reason/goal/motive to be there; but every single word, experience, though and bit of advice helped me turn my world around. It helped me to find myself. And to my surprise the person who I found, well I really like her a lot. It's the real Lara and now I love her.
I will always say when people ask me about my physical (I went through a body transformation and healthy style), lifestyle and spiritual change...
DrivenWoman helped me find to myself in a way I don't think anything else would have.
Its a place to explore, think, learn and feel empowered. Some days are painful, a little like when you go for a deep tissue massage and have lots of knots, it needs to hurt before it gets better; some days you are enlightened, some days you just laugh a lot, some days you cry at someone else's story... but you always take something with you which helps you discover who you really are, love who you really are and Enjoy the Journey.
I'm now too busy doing the best job in the world, so I no longer attend the meetings (which I miss, but I'm sure I will be back at some point). I am a better mum than I was, a better person to the people I love and I'm so happy being me.
Thank you DrivenWoman... you Rock!!
I love you guys!
Lara Bove is a former DrivenWoman member, former business advisor who turned personal trainer at Lara's Happy Lifestyle. You can find her transformation journey on her Instagram Larashappylifestyle.