Deafening. Paralyzing. Incapacitating. The roar of fear is merciless. My heart pounds, my stomach churns, and my mind races. My thoughts a barrage of endless questions that interrupt my momentum:
Can I even do this?
Am I smart enough?
Do they want to hear what I have to say?
Even though I struggle with doubt almost daily, I refuse to relinquish my dream to fear. I won’t let anxiety grip my heart or invalidate my core beliefs about who I am as a wife, mother, physician, and Christian. To paraphrase a beautiful statement made by Nelson Mandela, I wish for my choices to reflect my hopes, not my fears.
My dream, and also my fear, was born out of a simple request from a dear friend. I believe God designed the opportunity and put it on her heart as His gift to me. I was asked to lead two breakout sessions for a 2016 women’s conference centered around Romans 12:2. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
I was thrilled and truly honored that she asked me to carry out such a task. I gratefully accepted the invitation and began preparation, taking to heart her encouragement to use the breakout sessions as opportunities to discuss the impact of depression and anxiety on women of faith. My talk was extremely well-received, and generated an honest conversation about the struggles that many women face – balancing work, family, marriage, and self-care. It planted a seed, one I have continued to water ever since.
And here we are. I am embarking upon the journey to establish my own consulting company, Leesha M. Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH. It’s exciting, and it’s scary. My earnest desire is to cultivate healthy minds and harvest hope through public speaking, workshops and seminars, and my blog. I want to transform people’s lives through a fresh, honest, and engaging approach to mental illness education.
Still, pesky doubt nags. I don’t know anything about starting a successful consulting practice, let alone running one. It’s a steep learning curve, perhaps with more questions than answers at this point. There is certainly not enough time in the day for me to check off everything on my to do list. But in spite of this, I will move forward, squelching fear and doubt, allowing God to stretch my faith as He leads me and orders my steps towards entrepreneurship.
I decided to start my blog, aptly titled Cultivating Minds, as an easy way to connect. Here, I will discuss a myriad of topics including parenting, depression and anxiety, and work-life balance among others. I will share personal anecdotes combined with helpful strategies that will hopefully resonate, make you laugh, and help you learn from my experience.