A Love Letter to All Super Women in the World
How to Reinvent Yourself: A Love letter to all Superwomen in the world.
I see you. You are a super woman, but you will never admit it because you are too humble and you never make a big deal about anything you do. You are an overachiever, but you will never call yourself that because nothing you have done is a big deal for you and you still want to achieve more. You have a tendency to give, and give, and give until there’s nothing left inside you and either you collpase and crash in exhaustion, or you snap in rebellion. And you have a very high bar for what you think is right and what you think is perfection. You are harder on yourself than anybody else. Sometimes he feels it’s hard to get up in the morning just because of the high expectations you have of yourself. I know because I have been there.
Hi, my name is Dr. Diely Pichardo-Johansson. I’m a retired physician and life coach. I’m also a mother of four children, including twins with special needs, happy wife of my soulmate—after having been happily divorced, now I’m happily married. And, oh, I almost forgot: at recent cancer survivor.
A Story of Burnout and Reinvention
I am a storyteller. So, since none of those titles will tell you who I am, I’m going to start by telling you a story. And I know many of you super women out there may find some similarities in your life, in the past or in the present.
About ten years ago, I had finally finished my medical training. You know how things are: medical school, internship, residency, fellowship, an extra master’s in clinical investigation… (Yes. I needed an intervention. I needed someone to tell me, “Please, you need overachievers anonymous!). I had finally finished a zillion years of training and a multi-six-figure salary for the first time in my life. And that wasn’t all. With that Latin American mentality that you need to have the children soon, I had four beautiful children, including twins.
From the outside, my life was perfect, but I was unhappy. I was restless the best days and miserable the worst. I felt I was living someone else’s life. I felt there was a parallel dimension somewhere, where the real me lived. And if I didn’t do something fast and I was going to miss that and I stay trapped in that life I was living.
My mother used to say, “When God taps you with the right hand on the shoulder, you better listen—so he doesn’t have to smack you on the head with the left hand.” Suddenly, everything in my life started going wrong. My marriage was collapsing. I had been trying to save it for years. I had been trying to really killing myself, trying to make that marriage work no matter how miserable I was. My job was collapsing. My daughter, the one with special needs, was having health issues— including seizures, needing a feeding tube and multiple hospital admissions. That moment in my was my version of touching bottom.
If there is one message I’d want you to keep today is this: Pay attention to when God is tapping you on the shoulder. We, superwomen, don’t touch the bottom the usual style. “Oh, I went bankrupt, got drunk, slept on the gutter, shot a little heroin—and then I redid my life.”
No, we don’t do that. We keep going until we are almost dying. We don’t touch bottom in that way. We are too in control of our lives, in control for bodies, in control of our works. So the way we we touch bottom, the way God taps us on the shoulder, is when we start receiving in our lives all these things that we have no control of.
If right now in your life, you happen to be dealing with something that is out of your control and is the incredibly frustrating—for example, a pandemic— be happy. This is your opportunity to re-invent your life. That is God tapping you on the shoulder—maybe smacking you a little bit.
The Way Back Up: Speaking the Truth to Myself
So at the time, about a decade or so ago, I started a journey inward. I realized that until then I had just followed commands, followed instructions. The instructions of my teachers, my professors, my parents, my religious leaders. I had lost contact with my inner voice. I had lost contact with my inner compass. And everything started with looking at what I really wanted, who I really was, because I had forgotten it. It started with reconnecting with my real self.
And the first hard lesson was that I had to get the first “F” of my life, but I couldn’t continue that unhealthy relationship anymore. And I fought it with all my heart. I am not a pro divorce person; I am a pro authentic happiness person. I can honestly say I did everything. And I walked out of there knowing there was no one thing I hadn’t done. Taking the decision to say, “We are done; this marriage has to come to an end.” Nobody had to cheat on anybody. No drama had to happen. (Well, there’s always drama in divorces) Walking out of there was one of the biggest, hardest decisions of my life. And also one of the best things that ever happened in my life.
That was just the first step of the journey. The next step was that I had to ask myself, “What do you really want?” For the first time in my life me, Diely. I didn’t have my parents anymore. I didn’t have my husband anymore. “What do you really want?” And the first answer that came was. “I want girlfriends. I haven’t had friends, sisterhood, in a very long time. I want friendships.” The next step was, “I want to go to Europe.” The next step was, “I want love.” I had never fallen in love for real my life. One of the reasons I had ended my marriage was because you cannot fix something that never worked. I had never really been in love. I didn’t know what falling in love head over heels was. That was the third thing, “I want to find my soul mate.”
And at the time many people around me, reflecting my inner voices, told me, “You’re crazy. You are a woman in your mid to late thirties, a mother of four, two kids with special needs, a daughter with a feeding tube. You’re not going to find a man who’s going to want to carry that baggage.” And I lived in a retirement town in Florida, where there was no single men around. And the ones who were single didn’t want to date a doctor. Everything seemed to be impossible; and I proved the pessimist wrong. I am now happily married with David, my soulmate, the love of my life, but that’s a long story I’ll have to tell you some day.
And that was just the beginning. My journey is far from over. That was just the first step. Later on, it was a matter of reconnecting again with my creativity and becoming a writer. I’ve published eight books since then, number nine, my first self-help book it’s in editing process. [Subsequent note: Now eleven books, including a self-help book]
After that, it was the process of reevaluating my career, and realizing that I had made the exact same mistakes when choosing my career and staying in it that I had made when choosing my first husband. Not listening to my inner voice, trying to force myself to love something I wasn’t loving.
Did I mention that I was a hematologist-oncologist? Becoming a cancer patient while you are a hematologist oncologist is kind of a funny story I’ll have to tell you some other day.
But the thing is: my life is far from perfect; it’s still a work in process. But I was able to create miracles in my life. And everything started with three steps. And I want you to pay attention because those are the steps we’re going to touch more in the future episodes.
How to reinvent yourself in three steps
The first step was reconnecting with myself. What did I really want? What was I really feeling at every given moment? And it is harder than you think after you have spent your whole life following checklists. My life had been a never ending checklist of milestones I had to complete. And now there’s no map anymore.
After you reconnect with yourself, then you decide, “What exactly do I want in my life?” Complete clarity.
And then that will unavoidably trigger our resistance and our inner blocks. And that’s step number three, releasing those blocks we have. From the blocks of thinking we don’t deserve it, to the inner blocks of having conflicting voices inside us giving us different information.
Yes, it was worth it
So it is possible, miracles happen, and you deserve to be happy in your life. And that’s the last part of my story. A couple of years ago, I saw myself, a hematologist-oncologist, facing a cancer diagnosis. And for about 72 hours, thinking, and I was metastatic, that my days were numbered and that was going to die. And do you know what crossed my mind when I was digesting the news that, in theory, I had metastatic cancer?
“Thank you, God!” Thank God I hadn’t stayed in that unhappy relationship. Thank God I had found my inner voice. Thank God I had gone to Europe. Thank God I had met David. Thank God we had traveled so much together.
Because life is short. If there is a second thing that I want you to get out of this video today, that I want to nail in your brain, is that life is short. We cannot live life for what someone else is going to think, or what the society is telling us we’re supposed to be doing, or anything. We only can live for what we really want.
And the third thing I want you to get from this video today is that three step process that we will be elaborating on more in future videos. Step number one: reconnect with what you really want. Step number two: clarify exactly what you really want. Step number three: work on releasing your blocks.
I’m not telling you anything new. I’m sure you have heard this before, but I am here to tell you: it works and it’s worth it. Waking up every day, knowing that everything I’m doing is in harmony with my real self, with my authentic self and knowing that all my choices are guided by my core values is one of the best, most joyful experiences of my life. Any hard moment that I have lived in my life was worth it.
And by the way, I almost forgot, my daughter’s health has benefited tremendously. As a physician, I’ve always been a believer in the mind-body-spirit connection, and how our lack of joy and our suffering can reflect in us losing our health. Well, I take that farther. I think that our own happiness (or lack of) reflects on the health of our loved ones. So if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for them. Because when you are joyful, when you are living the life you are supposed to live, when you are fully satisfied, working in alignment with your true self, you will have more energy to give. You will have a lot more to bring to the world.
Thank you. If you liked this video, please repost it. I would love to hear from you and would love to hear your comments. Thank you, bye.