Veterans and Memorial Day have significant meaning for me because they remind me of my Father's service to his country and that I miss him terribly. My Dad fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars and received several medals of honor including a Purple Heart for being one of the estimated 351,794 men and women who were wounded or killed in that war. I'm so grateful he made it home and was able to share his life and life's lessons with me up until he left us in 2012.
You may not know this, but my Father was the one who placed the entrepreneurial bug in my ear years ago, but it was his death that propelled me into action. You see, when he initially started to talk about things like create your own wealth, be your own boss, and take control over your life, I thought it was crazy talk. After all, I thought, weren't you the one spurring me on to get an education and great job?
But in retrospect, I do recall him asking me after every degree I obtained, "What are you going to do with it?" In other words, how are you going to take that knowledge and make it serve you.
As I got older, and more educated, achieving degrees of success, recognition and respect in my careers, I realized that I never quite found the right career for me. I'd either "climbed the ladder" and found there was nowhere else to climb, wasn't interested in climbing any further, or leapt to something new that also proved to be the wrong ladder.
And then I remembered my Father's words, "What are going to do with it?"
So I ever so gently put my toe into the "entrepreneurial pond" to get a feel for whether this would be the right path for me....whether or not this leap would be the right one. And let me just say, even that little step scared the shit out of me!
Every possible fear and doubt I could have surfaced and was quickly reinforced by many of my family and friends. After all, at the time I was an Associate Professor, Director of a Graduate Program, Associate Dean, Scholar, Researcher, published author in leading academic journals & academic textbooks, and my work was required reading at other academic institutions and cited by nearly 250 other authors. And that was after a career as an Attorney and Organizational Consultant.
Like so many others I was thinking, "What the hell are you doing?!"
But not my Dad.
He was encouraging and cheering me on. So through all of the external and internal chatter, I remembered my Father's words and kept moving forward.
When my Dad, my champion, my cheerleader, and my inspiration finally left us, that question "what are you going do with it?' became a powerful new mantra for me.
All of a sudden, my fear dissolved behind the courage of a 19 year old who joined the Army to fight for his country; a man who served two tours of duty; a man who came home wounded yet still found a way to provide for his wife and children; a man who went back and earned his degree at the same time I was earning mine; a man who attempted to fulfill his own entrepreneurial dreams but could never quite get it off the ground; a man who time after time took chances, risks, and made bold moves because he believed in himself and in his dreams.
So, on Veterans and Memorial Day when we salute what it means to push beyond fear & self-doubt and to act boldly with courage, I feel empowered and motivated to act boldly and with courage.
I can now answer my Dad's question, "what are you going to do with it?" by letting him know I've built a 6-figure business; I was on a TEDx stage; I have a monthly segment on a local morning tv show; I have 2 Amazon best sellers; I've been a keynote & speaker all over the world; I've been featured in and on the cover of magazines; and I have the absolute privilege of championing, cheerleading and inspiring so many other high achieving women who are also struggling with transforming, leveraging, and applying their brilliance to work they love and are meant to do in this world.
He still inspires and supplies the push I need to not live a life of regret, but instead to look past the fear and step into my destiny.
To my Dad (and to you), I say everyday, but on this day in particular.....never forget.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them." ~John F. Kennedy
Have a GREAT week!
Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,
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