Today’s #MentorMonday, we’re highlight Kaley Lindquist (@kaleylindquist)! Kaley’s the Director of SC initiatives at @Care2Foster, and for the last two years, has served as a foster parent to over 18 children. Read how she’s made it her mission to live outside her comfort zone and live out her spark by reading her story below!
What would you define as your spark; that thing that makes you feel most alive, your passion, dream or purpose?
My spark is risking my own comfort to have a sense of mission. I’ve always chosen to take (calculated and safe) risks- big and small- for the sake of growth, my own and others. The easy path never tempted me. I strive to make a difference in this world both in my personal and professional life. My biggest fear as a college student was to be ordinary, to never do something incredible. While I now live a mostly ordinary life and recognize the beauty in ordinary things, I always felt my life needed to have some higher purpose. As a foster parent to 18 kids over the last two years and the director of a non-profit initiative that serves vulnerable children, I feel like I’m working towards that calling.
How did you find your spark?
I was very lucky to have some incredible female mentors in college who poured into me. I was able to see women who were so skilled in their field, so intelligent and deeply wise, but they were also fun and great friends, leaders, and mothers. I’d always been obsessed with being good- perfect in all things. As an Enneagram 1, I could be highly critical of myself and others, afraid of making mistakes, and often self-righteous. It was through the example of these women, their guidance, and their constant encouragement that I could explore who I was, what I wanted out of my life, and what I needed from my chosen communities. I didn’t have to be all things always, I just had to be myself. I allowed myself, finally in my mid-twenties, to not feel trapped in my own life and chosen path, but to seek opportunities to learn, engage, and grow. That’s how I decided to jump ship on chosen career paths when I didn’t feel fulfilled. Instead of committing to a path because I had a degree or experience or stability, I allowed myself to invest time, energy, and passion into new opportunities. I feel like I landed where I need to be in this season because I recognized my need for a sense of purpose and fulfillment in this one short life was worth the risk of what I was giving up. And I was lucky to have people who supported me.
How do you nurture your spark?
I nurture my spark by building community with people that I admire and trust. Being in relationship with wise, discerning, and passionate advocates helps me to never stop learning and growing. I am learning to view systems, organizations, and people more realistically, while not throwing in the towel when things aren’t “as they should be.” When I surround myself with loving friends, family, and colleagues who are also doing the hard work of advocating for what they believe in, I feel hopeful. I feel less alone in doing hard things. My motto has become “love does hard things.” I nurture my spark by engaging with people that are different than me or have had different experiences. Sometimes that means in relationship, but sometimes it means by seeking out opportunities to listen, read, or learn. That’s what is so amazing about modern technology- I can listen to a podcast on Spotify, watch a documentary on Netflix, order books from authors from around the world on Amazon without having to get up from my couch. Sometimes it requires being conscious of my choices of what media I consume. Am I seeking varied perspectives? Am I only hearing one side of the story? Am I challenging my own biases?
What is one piece of advice you'd give to young girls and/or moms raising daughters?
My one piece of advice for young girls is to understand that life is short, but it is wide. Don’t waste your time trying to find the perfect path- especially at a young age. There is so much in this world to experience and those experiences will change you. That’s okay. It’s okay to change your mind or to be a little unclear about which path to take. Engage in the uncertainty; don’t be afraid of it. Be open to learning and to listening. And, have fun! For moms, I’m certainly no expert, but if you can accept that too (that things change and that’s okay) for yourself and for your daughter, it will not only benefit your relationship, but it will advance both of your potential for growth. Learn alongside your daughter, engage her interests, and allow her to explore. She’ll find her way eventually- even if it’s not what you imagined for her. There are multiple paths to take to living fully in our calling and there is no mold for what life is supposed to be like. It was when I finally let go of the “should” that I could really thrive in my own skin, in my own life, in my own calling.
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