For years, I’ve said, “My lifelong dream is to be a motivational speaker and writer.” I’ve dabbled here and there, spoken at a few events and even auditioned and made the open mic night for TedX Charlottesville.
However, I’ve never really gone after it. I have lots of legitimate excuses. “I’m a single mom, I can’t have a job like that and support my children.” “I can’t travel to speak at engagements.” “My job is too demanding.” “When my children are older, I’ll be able to focus on that.” “I can’t really tell my story yet, but when the children are grown I can.”
All legitimate. All debilitating.
Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball. Late this summer, I lost my job through a down sizing. It happens. I know this. In fact, just about everyone I spoke to had either lost their job, or their spouse had. In my vast networking meetings, I met amazing people right here in Charlottesville. I’m particularly impressed with the women who had gone after their dreams and made it. Women who threw out their shingle and are living their dreams. Women who took those risks and saw their dreams and goals come to fruition.
Two stand out. Marijean Oldham and Amy Jorgensen. Marijean threw out her shingle and almost immediately found herself as a single mom. Here she is five years later, incredibly successful, happy and living her dream. She speaks regularly to groups and businesses about social media, PR and creating meaningful and impactful marketing strategies. Not to mention, sharing a glass of wine with Marijean always brings a smile to my face.
Then there’s Amy. In some ways, Amy’s personal background isn’t that different from mine and she found power in creating her own personal brand. She learned a new skill when online media was just starting and has grown with the industry. She started tweeting and blogging, and now others seek her out to speak. THEY SEEK HER OUT! Wow!
Both women are amazing. I mean really amazing. And both women shared with me hope and helped to stoke the embers burning inside of me.
My original plan was to continue networking, applying and interviewing for jobs and eventually landing a great job. I thought I had that elusive time that always seems to be in short supply. Fate had other plans. Within the week of talking with Amy and determining that I would use the next couple of months to begin my blog, build my website, start my twitter account and really launch my personal brand, I got a job offer. The next day, my house went under contract and I began an earnest hunt for our new home, which turned out to be two miles down the road in my neighborhood!
Time slipped through my fingers like sand, and I sit here on the first day of the New Year evaluating where I want to go, the steps I want to take to achieve those goals and defining success. I realize that I will not be able to tweet, post and blog something five times a day, something both women said was necessary to build my brand. However, there are things I can do. I can write one blog post a week. I can share pictures, quotes and inspirational things through Facebook, something I already do with my personal account. I can start small and take small steps to achieve my goal.
This New Year brings with it the chance to settle into my life, to live out my dreams and to take steps toward achieving my goals. I’m glad you are on this journey with me. I hope that through my blog, website, Facebook and Twitter accounts (I’ll get there eventually), you’ll find inspiration to go after your dreams, to listen to your inner voice, whether it’s whispering in your ear or shouting from the mountain top, and to boldly declare, “I am here! I matter! I have value!”
So define your dreams. Write down what matters most. Take that first step to achieving your goals. You won’t regret it!