Our Greatest Wounds Are Goldmines

As a girl, when my mother referred to a time before I was born, she would say, “Back when you were just the light in your father’s eyes… ” and then tell me a story. As a girl, I wasn’t sure if I understood what being the light in my father’s eyes meant, but it didn’t matter, because when she said it, I felt wrapped in my father’s love and reminded of just how special I was to him.

My father was a legendary man. People recounted stories of his superhuman feats with awe and admiration. He was six feet, six inches tall, and everything about him felt strong, certain, and generous. Although he looked formidable with a long beard, tattoos, and Harley Davidson leathers, strangers were mysteriously drawn to him. I think they could feel his commanding leadership was sourced in goodness and honesty.

If you were to stereotype my father for the generation he was born in, the hobbies he loved most (anything with an engine), and his sheer masculinity, you might imagine that he felt barren without a son. But oddly, I never once felt him aching that I came out a girl. As my mother always said, “You had him wrapped around your little finger.” He doted on me, played with me, comforted me. There was a purity about our connection that I simply swam in as a child, but as an adult, I now know it was a rare and even mystical alliance between father and daughter.

When I was 13 years old, I was at summer ballet camp thousands of miles from home, training to be a professional ballerina. At 5 a.m. the phone in my single dorm room rang. It was my mother’s voice, shaking and exhausted, “Your father is dead.” I remember lying on my twin bed, the pastel turquoise and white striped sheets spreading around my body like a maze, my whole system frozen in suspended disbelief, and then, screaming poured through the quiet halls of sleeping ballerinas.

My father was kingly, and like an industrious king, he was an ample and strong provider. Financial scarcity was a breed of fear I’d never known. In the midst of my and my mother’s shock and grief of losing him, his death was also a quick, powerful contraction of our financial reality. Like being bitten by a lethal snake striking fast, my nervous system was immediately overwhelmed with a primal fear for survival.

To this day, his death is my deepest wound. As much as I’ve healed and grown through it all, my grief of losing him still comes in haunting waves. But his death was also his last great gift to me, for it held the fertile seed of my life’s purpose and sweetest contribution.

My father’s death was the reason I left home at 15 and moved to New York City by myself, determined to (at least) control my financial fate in an otherwise uncertain world. His death was the reason I soon earned three times my mother’s salary as a secretary; learned how to manage money from a husband and wife team on Wall Street; and began traveling to foreign countries, coming face-to-face with the global disparity of wealth—the uber, uber rich and the super, super poor—that my Middle American upbringing was blind and silent to. His death was the reason I vowed to become part of the solution, and went to college for Economics and International Affairs.

At this point, I was still fairly unconscious that I was bent on alleviating global poverty in order to save others from having the financial rug pulled out from under them, like I did.

Then it all came clear.

As a result of my Father’s passing, I was hypersensitive when watching my girlfriends, who are artists, healers, and creative types, struggle financially and try to raise children without financial security. And because I had been self-employed since I was a teenager and learned so much about financial literacy to keep myself safe, I kept noticing that my girlfriends were building businesses based solely on their passions, gifts, and talents (which I love!), but without the requisite business skills necessary to create a profitable business for them and their families. Out of this, my company, WINC (www.WomenInCommunity.com), and my life purpose, emerged. WINC showed me the vision of helping women build successful businesses that change their lives, their families’ lives, and ultimately, our communities and economies, all over the world.

In discovering my life’s purpose, it was like being shown an intricate review of my entire life and how my deepest wound had birthed my greatest contribution of helping women become financially secure. Through working with hundreds of women entrepreneurs in WINC’s business training program, I discovered that I am not alone. The majority of women I work with are birthing incredible businesses from wounds that took them down on their knees and literally forced them to gain profound wisdom simply in order to survive.

One woman is helping teenagers learn healthy sexuality, another is supporting the elderly in dying, another is bringing stress relief to overburdened mothers, another is using her upbringing in Montana to create sustainable jewelry design. The list goes on and on and on. With this hard-won wisdom, we—women entrepreneurs—are transforming our culture and economy by providing for ourselves and our families.

I’ve come to find out that our greatest wounds are goldmines.

If you’re trying to start a business or hope to grow your current business, I lovingly invite you to look closer, and closer still, at the greatest heartbreaks in your life. You just might find your profitable life purpose in them.

Recently, I gave a talk to a packed house of women entrepreneurs on finding full alignment with our purpose. While writing the talk, I realized that “my” purpose is not mine after all. WINC is my father’s purpose and my mother’s purpose, for they are the ones who literally birthed it. The light in my father’s eyes—containing the whole arc of his life and death—was the seed, in the shape of me. The sound of my mother’s voice giving me daily support, long after he was gone, provided the sunlight, water, and soil for WINC to bloom.

The glorious and gory details of my life’s purpose were born through my parents, including the wounds I received from them. This, too, is a mystical alliance.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What great challenges have you overcome? What glorious and gory wisdom have you gained, just by surviving? Have your wounds already revealed themselves as goldmines? Or, perhaps are you seeing anew how they could?

Myka McLaughlin

About the Author | Myka McLaughlin

Myka McLaughlin founded WINC (www.WomenInCommunity.com) in 2011. She’s worked with hundreds of women entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses that change their lives, their families; lives, and our communities and economies all over the world. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, and travels to WINC communities in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and her home front Denver, so much that she’s a tired of traveling—even for a Sagittarius!—and is excited that WINC Sisters in other cities will soon be leading the WINC community around the country. Myka graduated with distinction from the University of Colorado with a degree in Economics and International Affairs. "I believe women entrepreneurs all want the same thing: to help a lot of people and make great money doing it." You can view her website at www.womenincommunity.com.

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17 comments to "Our Greatest Wounds Are Goldmines"

  • What a beautiful story Myka, thank you for sharing!

    • Carrie, thank you so much! It was a tender journey to write it. I also noticed how different it felt to write such a personal story, when usually I am writing only in service to helping a woman with her business. I of course am super curious how your wounds are turning into your goldmines!?! Willing to share? Hugs galore, Myka

  • Love this story and grateful for your willingness to dig deep into your “wound” to glean the treasures that you’ve shared with so many of us. Such a gift and inspiration your are to us all Myka!

    • Oh, Many, thank you. There’s a big dark treasure chest down there that appears to be an endless archeological dig!!!! Know the feeling, Sister? It’s only in retrospect that I can see and feel all the glory… I try to remind myself in the present that the yucky stuff is where all the juice is… but it is just not as easy to see it when I’m in it. Any windows you will share about your goldmines in the rough? Sending you so much love! Myka

  • Beautifully written and so true, as hard as it can be to face sometimes. Thank you for sharing your story and your gifts with us all!!

    • Hi Elizabeth. Oh, thank you, beautiful woman. I appreciate you mentioning the writing as beautiful. I can make up stories that its just the nice thing to say, but I’m going to embrace it instead and soothe the part of me that feels like I haven’t written prose for a long, long time. I’m super curious what you think about our parents being the originators of our life purpose. Does it feel true to you? What’s your life purpose in relationship to your family been like?

  • Oh wow, what an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing it. I love the idea of looking at the heartbreaks in your life as inspiration for your business. Looking back at mine, I am realizing that that’s exactly what I have done, without even knowing it…

    • Andreea, thanks for sharing here! I love hearing of you just now realizing how much you’ve built in your business from your heartbreaks. And… I am really not surprised. I see it so often with women I work with, and often, when they are struggling to figure out what their business really is… its their big ol’ sad/scary/hard experiences that illuminate their deeper calling in business. Amazing, really. And if anything about this is true… then … there is NOTHING to be afraid of, dare I say, ever again!

  • Yes, a beautiful version of your truth, love! I appreciate very much the phrase “Mystical Alliance,” and notice this as a unique idea that lifts out from your story and into this reader’s mind and heart. Yes, the deepest cut of our darkest wounds serve often as the literal blood nourishment of our greatest gifts! I certainly know it to be true in my own life, and, as you so artfully share here. :) Your words are generous, they are thoughtful, and they speak of that looking or reaching deep into ourselves to understand, ever more deeply, what guides us and in turn, how we thus might guide others. Thank you for writing. Love, love, Nikki

    • Oh, well, its just the best feeling ever to have my BEST FRIEND here! What’s more is that you helped me clean up the story, on the fly, with all your mastery in words and writing. If any of you ladies are submitting Truth Teller Stories, I so encourage you to reach out to Nikki. She’s the most amazing writing and editor EVER. I love you Niks, and yes… we are also a mystical alliance.



    • Mama Laura! Oh, love, its so sweet to hear your wisdom. I love the sense of connection to each other that underpins our survival AND exuberance. There are so many challenges that we all face. Like Hafiz says, “We are all holding hands and climbing. Not loving is a letting go. Listen, the terrain here is far too dangerous for that!” Thank you for holding my hand and climbing, together. As Sisters and one human family.

  • Mary Harbison

    HI Myka,
    This is beautifully written and very compelling. Yes, I have always followed the wounding, and the healing, into my work with others….sadly for me the survival fear appeared later in my story and has not been a focus. As a result I am one of the women that can learn and grow from your gifts, honed in the fire of this precious human life.
    Thanks for your fearless sharing, and for your work that has arisen from that story!

    • Mary, oh, hi! I can feel the weighted truth of how much you’ve followed the wounding to reveal healing for both you and all the people lucky enough to work with you. It seems that we get multiple themes to work with, and in different phases of our life. There’s been a new one in town for me these last years, and goodness gracious, I don’t like it! Boy I kick and scream that it must be an error in the matrix, but deep down, deeper down still, I hear the voice whispering… Spirit’s got you, everything is gonna be alright…. you’re just getting “honed in the fire.” I send you so much love. I’m glad we’re in this story together, surviving and thriving in the fiery current that carries us.

  • The always beautiful , poetic and revealing Myka.. Thank you for sharing
    Your Daddi is right with you and so proud of you as you continue on your path
    of repeated successes , entirely of your own creation.. My love .. .love you always and forever

  • Julia Allison

    Beautiful, my love. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Thank you Myka! So beautifully written. I have a saying that “Our greatest gifts lie behind our greatest wounds” so I am a big believer in everything you are talking about here. The shadow work I have been the past few years has unearthed my gifts in so many unexpected ways.
    With love,