We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Pletka and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My biggest success occurred when I started before I had it all figured out. No one is born knowing how to do anything. I had never written a book or recorded a podcast or spoke at an event. But I stepped into my purpose, to help other women find the goodness in the hard places.
I googled, YouTubed and asked a million questions. Excuses or lack of resources wouldn’t stop me.
Instead of fearing failure, I embraced it, because perfect is a lie. When you fail, get back up. When it doesn’t work out, take notes and re-route. The world needs what you have to offer. Start ugly, start unsure, start now.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We decided to work, live and educate on the road, traveling with our 4 kids to 45 states and 10 countries.
I sat on the end of my bed in tears, thinking life should feel freer, happier, but I felt stuck. We had started a tech company years early and worked from home, raising 4 kids under 7 years old. I had left corporate life to stay at home and now I was trying to convince a kid under 2 ft 3 to eat green beans. How did I get here?
I began to write about issues that moms rarely discuss, regarding postpartum depression, feelings of isolation, comparison traps, a lack of community and tribe. It started with me writing a parenting blog that turned into a weekly column. Moms reached out for answers in relation to responsibility charts for different ages and stages, on sex and communication. You name it, I wrote about it. It felt like free therapy.
As I began to write about the experiences of motherhood, I realized, we only have 18 summers with our children, if we’re lucky, just 18. What legacy did I want to leave my kids? How would I build deep-rooted relationships, create those fire-pit moments, if we were always too busy and hurried to enjoy each other? We were like rats spinning on the wheel: work, school, activities, repeat.
So, my husband and I hatched a plan. We decided to pull our kids out of school, to work, live and educate on the road. And my blog, stephaniepletka.com eventually turned into a book, Living Your Best Life, to help moms find the goodness in the hard times, to chase their dreams and write their story. The book became an audible that is turning into a podcast in the Fall: The Motherhood Mindset with Stephanie Pletka.
Our decision to hit the road created a paradigm shift within our marriage, within our family and catapulted my career, and turning our hurried life into a more fulfilling one.
The six of us have now traveled to 45 states and 10 countries.
It wasn’t easy, but we wanted the freedom to travel, to educate, and work from anywhere. We rented our home for 6 months, to see if this life was sustainable, one that we could enjoy.
We had so much fun experiencing other cultures, people and geography, we continued traveling for 3 years, by trains, planes, motorhomes and airbnbs. It was as crazy as you would imagine.
Our challenges included:
Picking a school curriculum to teach our kids. I didn’t even realize Pluto was no longer a planet. What was I thinking? Luckily, we choose a curriculum that included online teachers.
We rented a motorhome and I learned how to drive it by watching a YouTube video. Dear Lord, that was scary. We had to slam our brakes in rush hour traffic and the entire platter of chicken nuggets hit every square inch of the motorhome. We cleaned for days.
We traveled the entire east coast in an RV from Atlanta to to Boston, exploring the Smithsonian, walking the Freedom Trail, touring the White House and climbing the Statue of Liberty.
We took wrong exists and drove our 36 ft motorhome through Times Square in rush hour traffic. There were laughs and tears, mishaps and memories that we still talk about to this day.
I zoomed and wrote from every park bench, coffee shop, co-share facility and national park.
We rented questionable homes that looked great online that resulted in refunds. We stayed in a new condo where all our neighbors were the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.
We biked the Golden Gate bridge for PE credit, visited planetariums to learn the consultations, baked lasagna for the homeless under a bridge for Home Economics, and I wrote every day.
I interviewed women and wrote on topics that resonated.
As I wrote the book, Living Your Best Life, we were creating memories to last a lifetime. We kindled deep rooted relationships, as the kids learned time management skills, how to navigate train systems, manage a budget, negotiate, compromise, lead, and problem solve.
Our pain had become a platform of change, allowing us to live life to the full, instead of to the busy. If you’re looking to be the change, you have to create the change.
In the words of Benjamin Mee from We Bought a Zoo: “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a Shoutout to Arizona, if you were visiting for the first time, this is the itinerary I would plan:
We would hike Pinnacle Peak, a fairly easy 4-mile trail in Scottdale, AZ sporting 360 views of the most breathtaking mountains. We would stop by Frank and Lupe’s in Old Town Scottsdale for an incredible Mexican style lunch near the canals, drive North up to the red rocks of Sedona and enjoy the Pink Jeep Tour’s Broken Arrow trail, ending the week watching the Tucson Sugar Skull’s play arena football.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Together We Rise. Rowan Blanchard
My husband, John Pletka has encouraged me every step of the way, when I wanted to give up, because the process was too hard, too long, or too arduous. Most days, there is no finish line or flag waving you through the last lap, to cheer you on to victory.
But he was there, reminding me of my WHY, the reason I wrote and spoke and coached women to live a happier, freer, unstuck life; that my decision to move forward or not, was greater than myself.
When you are creating and building a legacy, it takes a village and John has been an integral piece to my success.
Linkedin: Stephanie Pletka