Take a Risk and Embrace Your Purpose



A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity for a new job.  The challenge is that I was working a couple of other jobs and making my own schedule. This made the idea of a 9 to 5  j-o-b less than appealing. When this position became available, a few people reached out and told me I’d be perfect for the role. I highly doubted I was their ideal candidate. However, my curious nature nudged me into researching the position more thoroughly. The more I learned and read, the more I realized that perhaps this was that time in my life where I had an incredible opportunity to marry my passion with my purpose. However, the 9 to 5 idea was far from tempting and  I remained skeptical.

I loved my life, after 20 years of business ownership, I was able to create my own schedule. I could either accept or turn down freelance jobs and my time was completely my own. I was able to spend the entire summer gardening and cooking, running on a whim, (versus getting up at 5:30 to get it in before work), and actually having friends over to enjoy a leisurely dinner. I loved it. But the truth is, I had this pull in my gut to seek out every  opportunity that came my way.

I don’t do well when I’m not seeking out or fulfilling my purpose. Although I dove in with freelance work and volunteering with two of my favorite charities, I still grew restless. The idea of sleeping in every morning didn’t appeal to me, a loosey-goosey schedule didn’t go well with my ADD and I found myself desperately seeking out “my place.”

Over 20 years ago I had a dream to start a business. I remember not sleeping at night just thinking about bringing my dream to fruition. My purpose and passion was crystal clear, I loved inspiring people and felt I was pretty good at it. I took the dreams and turned them in to reality and before I knew it, I had a thriving personal training business with staff and great clients. I was able to travel all over the world and share my insight on how to start or grow a business. I loved doing that. Talking to entrepreneurs and assuring them that with hard work, clear vision and excellent customer service, you can’t lose.

Teaching business skills in Durban, South Africa

I have always said that as long as I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, I’m on the right track and in my  place. A few years ago I woke up and I didn’t want to get up. In almost 17 years that had never happened. I knew something was amiss. It was like realizing you’re in a relationship that’s no longer working, it takes a long time to admit it and then do something about it. That’s exactly what happened to m e. I somehow felt guilty about not loving my business anymore. But I had also realized that I did what I came to do and now it was time to walk away and leave room for someone else. Fortunately, that someone else showed up and took over my business allowing me to go out and find my next place.

It took me almost 2 years to find my place. Steve Jobs sums it up. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

Looking back and connecting the dots pointed to this new position. All those years of giving business lectures to hopeful entrepreneurs. All those years of consulting and assuring weary business owners that failure sometimes happens, but it simply gives you what you need to build stronger and avoid the same mistakes. All those years learning the importance of networking and business building. These were all dots connecting me to this position. It became very clear that this position was to be my new place.

As of February 2, 2014 I took on my new role as President/CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. You might wonder why that after y ears of fitness? Check t his out for a better idea. But the truth is once I decided to accept this position, quiet confidence became my best friend. Typically women focus on the doubt and miss all the possibilities. As the first woman CEO of this organization, you can bet I went forward with trepidation. I also went forward with excitement and when people asked, “Why?” I simply responded, “Why not?”

I have written more than once about the beauty of hitting your 50’s. In our 50’s we’re more willing to take chances (which seems ironic), we’re more confident in our abilities, we are better able to listen versus trying to constantly get our two cents in. And,  we easily walk away from things that offer us little in the way of positive growth.

I just finished my first week in my new position. There were some amazing things as well as some tough decisions. But I’m up for the challenge and most importantly I have found my place. Every day I get to advocate on behalf of business owners, big and small. I get to find ways to help make other people successful. That is truly my purpose and I am passionate about moving that purpose forward.

My first speech as NACC President/CEO

Some people search forever to find their place, but very often that place is where it’s been all along, in our heart and mind. It’s taking what’s in your heart, combining in it with your intellect and creating magic.  I see all to clearly now how my dots connect and I am happy to say that I really like my new place.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!


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