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Published November 13, 2013, 03:04 PM

How Mommy got her groove back: Rebecca Undem creates website to help women find harmony at job and at home

OAKES, N.D. - Rebecca Undem was working in a job that didn’t align with her skills or passions. Her younger son was often sick and she was constantly shuffling him around so she could be at work.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

OAKES, N.D. - Rebecca Undem was working in a job that didn’t align with her skills or passions. Her younger son was often sick and she was constantly shuffling him around so she could be at work.

“I felt like I was continually letting someone down,” Undem says. “And for sure myself, but that wasn’t even the point.”

She felt bitter and negative, the kind of person she doesn’t like to associate with, much less be.

Moving back to her hometown, changing jobs and raising two small children all made Undem start to wonder what her place in this world was.

Undem had lost her groove.

Taking the scary but liberating step of starting a home-based business helped Undem regain her sense of self and harmony in her life.

Part of her business venture is a website and online community designed to help other moms get their groove back.

Her “How Mommy Got Her Groove Back” website features a blog with Undem’s thoughts on entrepreneurship, motherhood and attitude. It’s also the launching pad for her “Groove Community” – a virtual networking group for women, particularly those in small towns with home-based businesses.

Undem says she wants to show women they have a choice in their professional lives – for example, their hobbies or interests could be careers – and help them overcome self-limiting beliefs.

Undem says “groove” is feeling completely authentic and using your unique gifts and talents.

“When you’re not using them fully, it’s soul crushing,” she says.

MAKING MOVES

Undem graduated from North Dakota State University in 2003 with a business administration degree. Her first job out of college was in financial services.

“I was good at it, but I didn’t necessarily feel passionate about the work itself,” she says. All the rules and regulations didn’t fit her personality.

In 2008, she reached out to Tonya Stende, president of Dale Carnegie Training of North Dakota. Undem became a Dale Carnegie training consultant on a contract basis, focusing on central North Dakota.

“She’s a phenomenal trainer. Clients just love her,” Stende says. Undem and her husband, Jeremiah, also moved back to Oakes in 2008. He wanted to farm with her father. Her mom had started a seasonal pumpkin patch Rebecca would help run.

“I never thought I would land back there. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t,” she says.

Their son was born in 2009. In 2010, Undem got a job offer to be organizational development director for a nonprofit.

She loved what she was doing with Dale Carnegie, but the stability and financial security of a traditional job appealed to her.

Looking back, Undem says she was motivated by fear. That’s one reason why, when she returned from maternity leave in 2011, she started to lose her groove.

Undem loves to positively influence other people through training, and wasn’t getting enough of that in her job.

Working for other people doesn’t work for her, Undem says. It’s like she wants to run, but someone else has her shoes, picks her route and dictates her pace.

In 2012, she started her own network marketing business with Rodan and Fields, and this spring left her director position and returned to Dale Carnegie Training.

SMALL-TOWN STRUGGLES

Undem soon recognized the challenges of building a network marketing business in a small town.

There’s the limited population to build a customer base or team. Residents are often over familiar with each other’s dirty laundry. There can be a sense that one needs to conform, Undem says.

Undem says she’s been told she’s “too big for this town.” Her senior year of high school, Undem says she was voted biggest ego. It was hurtful, she says, because inside she struggled with confidence.

After moving back to Oakes, Undem says she hesitated getting involved in the community, preferring to share her gifts by doing training in Jamestown or Fargo. Putting herself “out there” would open herself up to criticism and intense vulnerability.

Part of her journey to regaining her groove meant being more authentic, and not letting others’ opinions dictate her decision. She says she’s delving deeper in to the community as a result.

She also recognized that other women in small communities likely struggle with the same issues.

Women’s business ventures are often trivialized, Undem says, referred to as “little” or frivolous.

“Women who run home-based businesses, we need a tribe. We need a support group,” Undem says.

She wanted to create a way for them to network, share best practices and brainstorm ideas.

GETTING GROOVY

The Groove Community is modeled after BNI International, which promotes word-of-mouth referrals.

Members meet as a group online twice per month, more often individually if desired. Undem plans to also offer in-person events and retreats.

A six-month membership costs $79 per month. A 12-month membership is $69 per month. Undem describes the cost as an investment.

“I’ve seen this work. It works face-to-face. There’s no reason in a committed group it won’t work virtually,” she says.

Marilyn McMurray, a former co-worker of Undem’s who is now an empowerment coach, lived in Casselton when she was building a network marketing business, and says she often felt isolated, especially in winter.

“To be able to click on the computer and see Rebecca and get support from her and others, it would have been amazing,” she says.

With Undem, what you see is what you get, McMurray says. “Her interest in others and passion for others and her authenticity is her all the time. That’s what I really enjoy about her.”

Stende describes Undem as strategic, relatable, high-energy and engaging.

“At the end of the day, she truly cares about each and every person working with her,” Stende says. “I think in general, we can all get our groove back in some way.”

Undem hopes she can help others do more, achieve more, and be more.

“That’s getting your groove back. When you step into that moment when you realize your gifts have value to somebody other than you. It feels really good,” she says.

Her kids can throw off her groove, but Undem tries to reframe those moments and the obligations of motherhood as blessings.

“I still have tough days, but I feel so at peace with the direction I’m heading in and confident in spreading the joy I feel, even in my small community,” she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

Getting your groove back

Rebecca Undem offers these tips for moms on how to get their groove back.

- Be authentic. Be you.

- Find your passion. Do it.

- Set boundaries. Say no if you want to say no. Recognize true obligations vs. self-imposed obligations.

- Take stock of what and who is shaping you. With whom do you spend time? Are they genuine or fake? Optimistic or negative?

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