Ever wonder how you got to the place you are right in that moment?
What factors were involved in leading you to your current moment? Where did you come from? What did you have to do to get where you are?
Looking back at my own life I find myself somewhat amazed at my own progress despite the fact it took a lot of hard work and determination to get to the point I am today.
When I look back at my childhood, I see a smart yet bullied girl from a lower middle income family in a small town of 23,000 who then became a teen mom in grade 10. My future prospects were not great. I doubted my own aspirations.
Many teen moms have trouble graduating high school, let alone post-secondary. Parenting is tough. Being a young parent and going to school is rough. People don’t tend to line up to cheer you on and that itself can hold teen moms back – the expectation of failure is set before you even begin so why bother trying?
Being armed with huge determination, I decided to challenge the world view and be the best damn mother i could be despite my age! It would have been easy to let myself surrender to failure. During this time I also suffered depression, was in and out of family court and suffered a bad stair fall resulting in several weeks of severe pain following by months of recovery. One might say my determination to provide for my daughter gave me the drive I needed to move forward, to succeed.
Going forward with determination is key to where I am today and where I will go. Knowing anything is possible is the catalyst that keeps propelling me forward. Sometimes I forget which is why we need reminders from each other. I forgot for many years that my future was unlimited and though life was pleasant, I lost my vision and was unsettled. I also forgot everything I had accomplished thus far.
In 1998, I was sued for grandparent visitation – access over and above that of the father’s access and there were validated safety concerns.
So what does a 20 year old girl with no contacts but a commitment to protect her child do?
In 1998, prior to widespread use of internet, of Facebook, of Twitter or even email, I first researched, joined and reached out to a group in the US fighting forced third -party visitation then launched a grassroots organization of my own in Canada. I’m not sure how I did it but I ended up giving several media interviews, being featured in Macleans magazine, a debate participant on Michael Coren Live and Jane Hawtin Live and even provided interviews direct from Washington DC to Canada AM in respect to the Troxel v. Granville case before the United States Supreme Court.
I taught myself how to write press releases, reach out to media, write HTML to build a basic website and so much more without any help from my local community and very limited assistance from the US organization.
The aforementioned are MAJOR accomplishments but I tend to forget them almost 2 decades later. How did I lose or set aside the drive that helped me make that happen?
The short answer? Life caught up with me.
The court issues took a toll on myself and my family. The many hours working for a cause with lots of support but no actual helpers became too much. I could not do it on my own and reaching out to others was not as easy as it is today. There was no Facebook and connecting with others going through the same thing was difficult. Many stories from the US were particularly heartbreaking. I am an emotional person and feel the pain of others intensely. I was overwhelmed and it swept me away.
But – I bounced back!
In 2002, I graduated from college with a Law Clerk diploma. In 2000, I enrolled 1 week after school started because I was inspired by Erin Brockovich to help others. I could change lives!
For the next 6 years, I was a law clerk in a small real estate law office. I was good at what I did but still needed more. Perhaps law school was the answer? Wrote my LSATs and applied but news that I was expecting a 4th child changed my path. Instead I decided to start my own business and apply the skills and knowledge i had been honing for years to a project of my own.
You might hear me talk about following your passion – of making sure that what you are doing as an entrepreneur is something that makes you feel fulfilled. This is because I started my first business for the wrong reasons. It was based on what we already knew – my office management and my husband’s work background.
As much as I disliked the products of our first business, it was the catalyst for where I am now – in the middle of developing EntreLaunch.org, a global program for young entrepreneurs.
What I Learned Through Running A Business
- I love events – meeting people, learning and so much more
- Socialight reminded me I can do anything, I must believe in myself and not to let anything stop me
- Twitter is the most awesome way to connect to people you may never otherwise meet
- Facebook is a great way to get to further know people you have met
- None of us know everything – not even the experts!
- We all need encouragement from our family, friends, community and peers
- When you do not love what you do, you are less likely to be profitable simply because you lack the drive to make it happen (it is easier to do what you love!)
- Always combine what you like to do with what makes you feel good and has an opportunity to make money.
- Be nice to everyone
- Build relationships, have conversations, get to know people
- Actively listen to others (thanks United Global Shift) and stop selling
- Give Forward
- Success is not a straight line and looking successful does not mean you are.
- it does not matter where you started as long as you are determined to get somewhere and willing to work for it
- Surround yourself with the people you emulate to be and not with the ones that hold you back – get rid of the crabs!
- Spend your time wisely – consider how you can reclaim time through targeted networking (choose relationship building opportunities), reducing TV, Video games or other time wasters
- Ask for help. Often.
- Invest in yourself
- Keep learning
There are so many more lessons that I have learned through the years but these are many that have led me to where I am today. In the last few years, I have far surpassed anything I could have dreamed of in my youth or as a teen mom. I was a delegate to the G20 YEA in Australia. I surfed. I have traveled to LA, NYC and Portland for amazing life changing events. I have stayed up all night in Times Square. I have spoke in front of audiences. I have met and became friends with amazing people. I have faced my fears over and over and completely escaped my comfort zone.
16 year old me did not believe I could reach this high. 38 year old me knows this is just the beginning.
Always know that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do. There will always be roadblocks but there are always options.
How will you get where you are going?