Birthdays are meant to be celebrated. Birthday musings and celebrating myself is the order of the day! Dolores Hirschmann celebrates herself on this special day by talking about her birthday experiences. She muses on her birthdays growing up and how she celebrates today with her family. Dolores also shares a bit of insight on her changing views on her birthday, and talks about letting her staff do the monthly newsletter she usually takes charge of.
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Celebrating Myself: A Birthday Episode
It’s my birthday. It actually feels weird to be the birthday girl, as you would say. I don’t know about you. I’m not sure how you have experienced your birthdays, especially if you are a woman, a mom, married, leading a family and being the one that is always baking the cake. As I wake up on my birthday, I can remember many past birthdays and this one is special. In the next one, maybe we can be together at a party somewhere celebrating together. That’s what I look forward to. At my age, it is almost like the end of a phase and maybe tomorrow is the beginning of a new phase. I wake up with so much to reflect upon. First of all, I’m grateful for my age, not everybody makes it this far.
I’m grateful for the family I have built, the children. Hopefully, I will have four of them for dinner. We never know who will make it or cancel last minute because they are busy now. They are all adults, most of them. I’m grateful for my four children, for my partner, my husband, Alex. We have been together now for many years. It has been a wild, amazing and incredible journey. Like anything, a journey is a journey. It has all elements of a journey. It has tears, sorrow, laughter so many moments of a deep feeling of joy, fulfillment and deep moments of sadness. It’s strange for me to be creating this episode for my birthday because I have had a difficult relationship with the day of my birthday.
I grew up in Argentina so July is winter. I was that girl in 2nd and 3rd grade that would never have her birthday party on her birthday. Why? It’s winter and who holds a bunch of kids in the house? Back then, we wouldn’t have places to rent like party places, for little kids’ parties so all birthday parties were at home. I would never have my birthday party on my birthday day or my birthday month because it was winter. I would always have a birthday party in September or October. My friends thought my birthday was in the spring of Argentina but it wasn’t. It was in July.
Nobody can disappoint something that you didn’t ask for.
Growing up, I had that divorced child birthday situation where I wake up and spend the morning with my dad and then have dinner with my mom or worse when my mom lived in Uruguay, which is a country next to Argentina, I sometimes would be with my mom and not my dad. Sometimes, it will be with my dad and step-mom and not my mom on the day of my birthday. There was always a little bit of sadness on the day of my birthday. Now, I am committed to experiencing the full spectrum of emotions of my birthday.
Maybe there is a little bit of sadness because I am in the US and half of my family is not here. It’s in Argentina. My mom is here with me. I’m very grateful and excited that she gets to spend my day here in the US at my home. My dad is not here so I know I will miss him. My siblings are not here. My best friends growing up are not here. My beautiful Argentinian team is not here. There are a lot of people that I will miss now and there’s going to be that speck of a little bit of sadness. Let’s go back to the concept of birthdays and moms because I think that’s another part of this conversation.
As a mom, I like to celebrate with people. As you evolve with your kids, we have four children, very young, birthdays were always busy days. On my birthday, it was one of those situations where my inertia of baking everybody’s cake for their birthday and making the plan for whatever celebration was going to happen has always continued that I would plan my birthday or bake my cake. As the years went by, a little bit of a feeling of, “I have five people who live with me. Let’s give them a chance to celebrate me,” and here’s the truth. They always disappoint me. The truth is they didn’t disappoint me because nobody can disappoint something that you didn’t ask for.
I felt that they disappointed me but the truth is I never gave them a chance. There was an idea of a celebration of how I wanted it and they have their own idea of how to celebrate people. Those ideas were not synchronized. There was a very clear expectation I had, which by the way, I never clearly communicated that wasn’t fulfilled. Every birthday was a little bit of disappointment. I have to say, I was setting myself up for failure every time. I was setting myself up to play the victim every time. Putting this out there, saying this publicly, I’m a little bit embarrassed but I also feel that at my age, it’s time, to be honest with myself and with my people.
I’m going to speak for myself. I’m not sure how you feel about this but there’s a little side of me called the victim side that always wants to come out and play. It doesn’t take much for her to show up. The cake wasn’t the flavor I wanted. “They don’t know me enough. They don’t take the time to know me.” The gift or the dress was a size too small or too big, “Maybe I’m too fat.” I’m a victim of me. The jewelry I’ve got was not exactly what I liked or I already have that one. “How can he or the kids forget that I already have that?” They don’t know what I have or not. I haven’t told them.
One of the things that I am committed and this is a gift to myself. I am gifting myself the release of my victim side. I am gifting myself the opportunity to play full-on me and to embrace without an idea of what my celebration should look like but allow and accept other people celebrating me in their own way. It’s taken me years to get to this commitment but it will change my life forever and I know it. One thing I’m committed to practicing from now on is allowing people to celebrate me, to love me and to have my back is really hard to do. It’s so much easier to say you love others but how can we love others if we have never experienced being loved. Not because we haven’t been loved but because we haven’t allowed that love.
Let me share a quick story of what’s happening that has also triggered this thought process for me and, in some way, has taught me so much. As you know, I am the Founder and CEO. Sometimes I call myself the CCO, Chief Clarity Officer of Masters in Clarity. We run a great company with an amazing team. We are very organized and system-oriented. We have so many processes and we are proud of operating from a structure and framework of planning, not putting off fires. We don’t run a company full of stressors or stressful moments. We move fast but we plan. In that fashion, we plan our monthly content about a month or two ahead of time. We have yearly content planning meaning, I know now what I’m going to talk about. For a month or two ahead of each month, we create the content.
The theme is set for the whole year but the actual pieces of content, the articles, blogs, newsletters are created about a month or two ahead. In early June, my team comes to me. They know that July for all of us is a busy month. I have a quite few long weekends. I’m taking some time off here or there. They said, “What if we take over the writing of the newsletter this month?” I do love to write and I write my newsletters every single month. I was like, “Sure,” not knowing what this looks like because I had a clear plan of what I was going to share this month. I like to teach people what we learn and share best practices but if you have not met me, you wouldn’t know that adventure is one of my top five values. I love to honor my value of adventure.
It’s so much easier to say you love others, but how can we love others if we’ve never experienced being loved?
Adventure can mean many different things. It could mean a new flavor of ice cream or letting your team run your newsletter. By the way, they said, “We will take over your newsletter. You can record the episode but we will also take over your social media posting.” I’m like, “Okay, sure.” You might have already received some of these newsletters written by my team. If you haven’t, you can access some of the articles from my website with our team’s articles that they wrote. What they decided to write about was, “What does it look like to work for Masters in Clarity and me as the leader of Masters in Clarity?”
Here’s what I have to say. I didn’t know until I started reading those newsletters that my team created that I was running two companies. I didn’t understand that I’m serving two markets, impacting two different populations. I didn’t understand that every day I show up to work, I’m serving powerfully, sometimes not so but mostly, two ideal clients. Let me explain. As I start reading what my team wrote, I read things like, “Working on Masters in Clarity has allowed me to understand and discover what I’m good at.”
Lora in my team wrote, “When I went to college, I saw myself eventually working in a corporate space. I imagined myself wearing business attire every day, attending boring meetings, praying that my penchant for running late would somehow miraculously shift into me being punctual. I’m hoping I would at least land a job for a company I sought or liked. Doing work, I felt kind of okay about it. Basically, I had very low expectations and thought that work was what you did for money, it was not about doing what you love.
When I first started working for Dolores at Masters in Clarity, the company was starting to take shape but she knew from the get-go that our job was to serve our clients at the highest level. To do that, we had to value and take care of each other. After several years of working with Dolores, I can tell you that she’s exactly who she says she is. She’s tack sharp, full of ideas and can sort through a mountain of words to find the perfect phrase that sums up an idea.” Lora wrote in her article that she doesn’t work for a paycheck, although she obviously gets one. She works for and with the people she loves. We call each other family doing work that she loves.
What else did I learn? Here’s another thing I learned. Anchiles wrote, “What to say about my boss? Let me tell you. She doesn’t behave like one. She’s one of the team. She works horizontally and makes us trust our criteria. Her charisma always floods meeting with good vibes, whether the mood is cheerful or serious. There’s a time for all of us to express ourselves our challenges, obstacles or feelings.” This is what nailed it for me. Faith said, “I want to share the most important thing that Dolores has taught in the past few years and that has changed my life.” She puts in parentheses, “I’m not even sure she knows this.” She shares that, “I taught her that change happens. It’s inevitable. Change is good but not always the safest option or comfortable. Being clear on who you are and what you can offer is the best thing in the world that you can give to anybody around you, including yourself and that’s true, whether you are an entrepreneur or you work for a company.”
I’m aware and intentional now. It’s something that we all know. If you are leading a team, you know you are having at least an influence, if not an impact but knowing and being aware of it, knowing and being intentional about it, are two different things. When I have allowed my team to celebrate me is I have realized that Masters in Clarity is an entity of itself bigger than me. Masters in Clarity is a group of souls, of human beings, who are supporting each other, working together, serving our clients at the highest level and that their experience in Masters in Clarity is part of their life journey. In my day-to-day work, I am serving an amazing group of human beings whose lives are aligned with mine and we are together working for a common goal.
We know that’s what a leader does but saying it out loud and understanding the honor, the responsibility and the opportunity that I get to have with women is blowing my mind. It’s making me recognize what is possible if I have a clear vision for my team and serve them powerfully as we together have a clear vision for our clients and serve them powerfully. When you shift something inside and all of a sudden allow the people in your world, random person you run into the street, spouse, team, children, longtime friend or anybody in your world to come into your heart, it is curious, amazing and magical what can happen.
I want to celebrate my birthday with you. I invite you to send me a happy birthday through @DoloresHirschmann on Instagram or LinkedIn. As I say this part, my brain is saying, “Dolores, don’t ask for that. That’s pulling attention to yourself. You shouldn’t do that. A good girl doesn’t do that.” Why am I saying this out loud? It’s because it’s true and that’s happening. It’s popping up but I’m saying to that voice out loud and in public now, “Shush voice.” That’s an ego voice playing small, being a victim or hiding my lights don’t serve me, my team, my clients, my market, my children, my spouse and you who I haven’t met yet but I would love to meet you. Maybe we can be on this life journey together as well. Happy birthday to me and you on your day. This is about celebrating our lives and my life because I, just like you, were born in purpose and for a purpose. I am committed to honoring this purpose for the benefit of all of us from this day forth.