Empowerment is contagious, no chainsaw required.


You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
You know you are going to have a good day when one of your first “To-dos” is to return the chainsaw you rented.  Why do I, Shannon Pruitt, have a chainsaw in the middle of Los Angeles, you might ask?  The answer is no, I have not completely lost it, but when I rented it at our local Home Depot, the rental guy did ask me half-kidding, half-serious if I was planning to go on a rampage.  I desperately wanted to make a sarcastic comment back about news headlines and “Los Angeles” woman goes nutty in  a Home Depot parking lot sabotaging cars or something”, but instead, I tempered my instincts and responded with only an “only on some bushes” as my sarcasm could be misconstrued and I might be taken away in a straight jacket (and the image of me being tied down and taken away is humorous but not so great for my longer-term goals), but I digress.  Somehow this chainsaw in addition to my week last week gave me the feeling that I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to and for me the chainsaw was the icing on the cake.The week kicked off with my participating in a host committee meeting for a very esteemed honor that the Pruitt family has received from the March of Dimes.  As I have said before, the March of Dimes is an organization near and dear to my heart and so many of you were so amazingly supportive when we set about to raise funds in the ‘March for Babies’ back in March/April.  As a follow-up we have become even further involved and with my Book Proposal getting closer to being done, my plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to the March of Dimes can become even more of a reality.  In addition to the enclosed Newsletter post I was asked to write (yay!),

Our honor to write for The March of Dimes Newsletter!

we were asked to be the “Mission Family” for the upcoming fabulous March of Dimes Signature Chefs Event here in LA.  After wining and dining the crowd of 300, we will share our story with the evening’s guests which will hopefully inspire a great amount of gifting to the March of Dimes.  The feeling of warmth that I get from this honor as well as all the activities we have been aligned with the March of Dimes as of late, is like the feeling of a cup of hot coco in front of fireplace when it’s freezing cold out. It’s peaceful and settling and you feel like everything is right with the world (I realize this metaphor may be a bit tortuous for those of you experiencing a heat wave, but pretend it’s dead of winter and you may feel slightly better).  This feeling of empowerment ignited me to sign up for my first ever Blogging Conference, called #Blogher11.  As I am quite shy naturally (you would never know this by my seemingly outgoing appearance, trust me it’s forced), these types of conferences are like wearing neon yellow to the first day of school and realizing that neon is so last year.  Additionally, as the word ‘blogging’ is quite natural these days to this community as well as marketers, I realized that we were still a bit niche when I told my sister I was going to a ‘blogging’ convention and she started giggling one of her infectious giggles and she then informed me that she was envisioning me in a Star Trek convention with a sign, bloggers unite.  Her image made me laugh outloud but I would not be detoured and off I went for the Pathfinder day.  It was a very lovely experience and I found the women interesting and empowering in their own right.  With women like Jess Weiner (@JessWeiner), Katherine Stone (@paspartumprog), the Sensory Processing Disorder Network (@Spdn)/@yormond), Moms Rising (@momsrising) all of whom do their part to be change agents for the issues that affect so many women, families and people in general, I found the day enlightening and came home with inspiration to keep pushing forward in all aspects including my new home.

I know you have been waiting patiently for the chainsaw part of this story, and well, here it is.  As I came home all fired up, my dad and stepmom arrived that night after a long drive from Oregon. The next day, my dad set to work in project managing our house.  He dove right in and the next thing I knew we were at Home Depot in the throes of a full-on melt down of both babies as he held E, feeding her her bottle, while I held Q who now hates his stroller and only wants to be “Down, Down, Down” while we hurriedly searched for closet rods, plywood, self-adhesive window shades and paint for the outside of our house.  It was pure comedy as passersby watched our juggling routine.  When we did finally make it out of the store, I remembered our most important purchase, the rental of the electric chainsaw.  As we look to enhance the curb-side appeal of our new home, it has become increasingly important to clear out some clutter.  Up until this point, KSP and I had gotten a few bids from gardeners to do the work, but after my week of empowerment, I decided we should do it ourselves (and by that I mean, KSP and my dad.  The Bougainvillea has some serious thorns!)  I also decided that the most effective way to do this, would be with a chainsaw.  In my dad’s experience the electric chainsaw would do the trick and so it was….a conversation about rampages, a deposit of $50 and I had me a chainsaw!  Somehow when I picked it up off the counter I felt this huge sense of accomplishment.  It was manual, it was labor and it was awesome.  Between the picking up and dropping off of the chainsaw, my experience was sadly a bit limited, but even in the carrying of the device I felt the strength and excitement.  KSP and my dad did all the work (although I mopped the floors by hand, took the twins grocery shopping and managed the babies so my own work was not relaxing but not the same as the physical high you get from manual labor).  That night, the inspiration carried over to the mini’s as well as I laid them both to sleep in their cribs in their own rooms for the very first time.  Q did well and lasted all night.  E on the other hand got so upset she projectile vomited (for the second night in a row, different circumstances) and we put her back in her chair, but we tried and for all of us that was an accomplishment.  My point in all of this is that taking the first step toward something that makes you happy or inspires you can come anytime you want it to and the ripple effect of that feeling of empowerment can lead you to do other things that you may not have considered or that you have always wanted to do, but felt nervous or shy or just didn’t think the time was right.  One of the most salient points one of the women said in my “blogging” convention, was, “don’t be afraid to begin”.

What are you waiting to begin?  A new hobby, relationship, job, research, business, volunteering, Twitter account? Like the prophetic Gandhi says, you may not know the results of what you do, but if you do nothing there will be no result…so, today whatever it is big or small, I would love to hear it, because your inspiration and empowerment can inspire and empower others to make it yours and other’s ‘newfavoritedayday’!

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