Never Too Late

It’s never too late to make life what you want it to be. 

This week I had a great privilege to do some public speaking as a guest for two different events. Both great opportunities for me to continue in professional career development but also a chance to do what I love best…coach others by sharing experiences, stories and advice. 

One of the events was an invitation for me to do a “Lunch and Learn” with a group of male and female staff at the University of Chicago. They asked questions about my career journey, how to network, what to look for in a mentor, how to break the glass ceiling in the workplace, etc. It was fun and insightful for both sides in the conversation. 

When I arrived they shared a short list of questions to have me think about. The meeting ran more like an impromptu interview with questions shot my direction from anyone in the room. 

One question on the list that no ome asked but I wish they had. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

When I first read that question I got chills because it made me so happy. I am just 5-6 weeks from being 30 years old and totally LOVE that I can still be asked that. To me that means I don’t have to have had it all figured out by now in spite of what societal pressure tells me. 

I mean by some standards technically I’m behind the ball if I’m not in my lifer career, married with kids, owning vs. renting and the list goes on. But screw that because I am happy and free. 

Earlier today I was online and saw this great post that I wanted to share about where others were when they started success. Some of the most successful people started on that path late in life. 

No don’t use that to create excuses for what you are capable of creating and controlling NOW but think instead, it’s not too late if you haven’t figured it all out. It’s not to late to make changes in your life and create the life you truly want if you’re dissatisfied in even some small way with the one you have. It’s never too late. 

Whether you’re 18, 25, 30, 50, 75, 90 or anywhere in between. When was the last time you thought about that question. Have you made it to where you want or is there more to come for you. What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I will leave you with this other food for thought:

At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.

At age 24, Stephen King was working as a Janitor and living in a trailer.

At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.

Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at 40.

Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.

Samuel L Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.

Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at 52.

Louise Hay didn’t launch her publishing company, Hay House until she was 62.

This was also in the post and probs my favorite part.

“If you haven’t found your dream career yet, it’s not too late. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 30. Hell, it’s OK if you don’t even know what your dream career is yet. 

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.

Never tell yourself you missed your chance.

Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.

Whatever you were born to do, You can still do it.”

I am so grateful to have people in my life who encourage me to dream big in that way. 

Me with one of my Professional Mentors, Laura Hoke

1986. What a Good Year

A fabulous weekend celebrating my friend’s 30th birthday. She had friends and family fly in from across the country to join the good times.

The weekend kicked off with an 80s/90s baby theme. We dressed up in different styles from the two decades. The night was complete with throwback snacks and music. 

Saturday night was a fancy evening where we snapped hundreds of photos, danced, ate delicious treats and drank tasty signature drinks. 

I had such a great time and plan to steal many ideas as I plan for my own 30th birthday coming in less than 2 months. 

Age 30 is such a milestone. It’s the leap to another side of adulthood. 

I am reminded that 30 is another beginning, a new decade and life continues on, hopefully getting better with age is the goal. 

I don’t yet have a bucket list of things to complete before I reach the milestone. I have lots of friends who have done such a thing and it always sounded so cool. Maybe I’ll make a list of things to do in my year of 30.

Either way it goes, the most important thing I am focusing on is living life to the fullest no matter the age. I am having the most fun by focusing on that.

Keep Your Coins, We Want Change

If you had the power to change anything in the world, what would you change?

What a powerful question right? It can lead down so many paths and to so many answers. What do women, men and children around the world need – individually and collectively? What is broken, has been perverted, is full of distrust, hate, sexism, bigotry? What/Who is lacking love and respect? 

I have a list that could be almost eradicated if we lived out these major things: 

All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others. -Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“Imagine what seven billion humans could accomplish if we all loved and respected each other. Imagine.” -A.D. Williams

It makes me think of real life examples, movies, documentaries and even songs that get me emotional. I want peace in our world so badly in every corner of brokenness. I have heard whatever makes you cry or angry is part of your calling in the world. It might become part of your personal mission. 

There are a few such issues near and dear to my own heart. I mean, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” -Dr. Suess

Music has always been a strong communicator of things I wish for the world and all the people in it.

I think back to a couple years ago when I was part of a cool video to the backdrop song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and this year “Price Tag” by Jessie J which both have powerful messages to me now about things that are important. 

Love, empowerment and respect can help humanity focus on the right priorities which can impact the world we live in. It probably sounds too idealistic but sometimes you have to remain idealistic and hopeful otherwise you lose the point of it all.

We each are powerful enough on our own to change the world. We don’t need to just sit back and wait on the world to change.

We know we need change. One day I hope we see how much we need each other to see change. We Are The World. 

“We Are The World” Lyrics

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We all are a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Let’s realize that a change can only come 

When we stand together as one

Action Day!! Day 3 of M.A.D Leadership Chicago 

​The last three weeks I have been doing a series writing about this amazing conference I volunteered at in September. It was hosted by the Aspire Foundation and was a program focused on developing (mostly women) leaders who want to make a difference. 

If you want more back story, I would recommend you visit my blog to catch up on those posts. Today I am going to wrap up this series with the final day, my favorite…ACTION DAY!!

This is my favorite because without action steps or effort into a  tangible plan, a great conference can quickly go down the drain once it’s all over and regular life distractions get in the way…again. 

Action day when I attended a similar conference in London is part of what changed my life in this last year. I often keep my soapbox ready to chat about the value and importance of vision boards and Action Day falls into the same category for me. 

When I can articulate my vision, share it with others, write it down or have visuals for it, it will become more reasonable to achieve those things. You can begin to look for ways to open doors yourself or the right people who can help you or hold you accountable. After some time has passed you might look back and day, “Wow how did I make it this far?” I’ll tell you how. It’s because you had some version of Action Day. If you don’t know what you want or where you’re going, how can you know if you are even on the right track? 

On Action Day, you learn to say ‘Screw the Fear’ and give your vision some teeth. Action Day is not for the faint of heart as it will make you uncomfortable because a plan don’t mean ish without some action on your part. Yes, you actually have to DO stuff to achieve your dreams and goals. 

For the Aspire attendees, there were 4 sessions for the day:

1. Leading and Influencing Others

2. The Power of Your Network

3. Strategic Thinking & Time Leadership

4. Action Plans, Support & Accountability 

Again, the best way to wrap up this conference was with Action. So many people leave conferences with a whole lot of action and little thought towards implementation. But you don’t need a conference to have your own action day. You already know what you want to or need to work on. Follow through on the commitments you have made to yourself and others. Start today! 

Overcoming Obstacles: Day 2 of M.A.D. Leadership Chicago

The last two weeks I have been writing about this amazing conference I volunteered at. It was hosted by the Aspire Foundation and was a program focused on developing (mostly women) leaders who want to make a difference. 

You can read my first 2 posts here and here

Today I am sharing what happened on Day 2 of the event. It was appropriately titled, Overcoming Obstacles Day.

What is your biggest obstacle? How could you overcome it?

What is needed from you to overcome this obstacle? 

There were 4 sessions that day. The first session was about defining your purpose. Who are you and why are you here? 

Attendees were able to choose 2 speakers to sit with and share with. I sat with a speaker who has done ultra-marathons. She is also a businesswoman, wife and mom. She gave great advice and and tips on following your inner compass and going after your purpose to increase your impact.

Between sessions of course there was networking for attendees to take full advantage of the wisdom and endless connections available to those daring enough to seek them out. 

One of the most impactful sessions which was full of powerful stories on transformation came just after lunch on day two. 

3 speakers shared personal testimony about their journey past unbelievable hardship and struggles to a better future. They each found amazing women and men along the way who helped them push their lives out of darkness into light. 

It was hard not to shed a tear or two listening to some of the stories. 

One young lady, Nasreen, flew in from Nepal to share her story about overcoming a small-minded community where her mother told her sister to stay in a forced marriage with an abusive husband to Nasreen escaping to a big city and finding herself as a child laborer working in a sweat shop, making thousands of shirts a day in a tiny room. She eventually was able to leave that life and managed to start her own business then came in contact with someone from Canada who wrote an article about her. She’s also been featured in Forbes magazine which she had never even heard of. 

Sometimes you meet people with a light and love that cannot be explained. Nasreen is one of those people and I feel more wise having met her.

Other than a reflection session for some due quiet time, the day wrapped up with a session on collaborative leadership and the most fun project possible.

Here is the video for the Jessie J Price Tag tribute we did for our ‘Awamu (being together) project in Uganda filmed by yours truly.

Until next time mad leaders…

With Nasreen Sheikh from Nepal after she shared her amazing story