Recently while having a cup of coffee with a friend, who also happens to be a high growth woman entrepreneur, we were sharing the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey. She commented that there was no one ah-ha moment for her, that influenced her decision to start her own company but rather a compilation of experiences. In that moment, I realized I had a very poignant moment that changed the course of my life. I have not shared this story with many people, however it was the catalyst for change and reveals my why.
In February 2018 on a snowy Saturday morning, I headed out to take my then 4 year old son to Japanese school which is a weekly ritual continued to this day. This routine trip typically takes an hour on any normal Saturday, I did not check the road conditions prior to getting on the highway however I soon realized this was no typical winter day, this was hazardous conditions. I grew increasingly uncomfortable being on the road. About half way to the destination, I lost control of the car. In a series of attempts to regain control of the car, we were t-boned and spun off the highway, landing in the ditch between the highways.
It was seriously one of the scariest moments of my life and I have three incredibly distinct memories of that moment:
I was then questioned by my 4 year old who I was talking to, and I told him myself.
That was the moment I decided I would not continue another year working at the hi-tech startup company I was working for at that time and that it was time for me to take my career into my own hands. Life is short; it can literally change in a matter of seconds. I had plenty of time to mull this over while recovering from whiplash. It was a sobering weekend and I’m not sure anyone really understood the impact of that event on my life and how it changed my perspective. That was the beginning of a major shift for me.
That experience served as a catalyst for me to start taking daily steps to change my life. For years I’ve been telling myself that I want to be a positive influence in the world and inspire others to reach their full potential. I love to learn, share experiences and get to know diverse people and what they care about.
I decided to take all I had learned from advising startup companies in Seattle to being in startups and having my own company to create unique education programs and resources for women willing and interested in starting their own businesses. My intention was to inspire women to reach their aspirations. Women in transition, working moms, work at home moms (WAHMs) were going to be my target market.
However through a lot of conversations, observations and research I noticed a few themes surfacing:
This learning made me pause, reflect and change the direction in which I was headed. I realized there is tremendous potential to change the trajectory of these patterns by working with women at a younger age. Working with girls, to be exact. I believe this holds the key to changing self-perception, cultivating potential and a mindset of what is possible. I’m no stranger to working with young people; I’ve served as a middle school teacher, a coach of speech and drama, a private tutor and an Executive Director of a non-profit that worked with high school aged girls. If I really want to be a positive influence in the world, why wouldn’t I use my experience and insight to inspire girls?
I remember what it was like. These are three characteristics of my tween profile:
I needed more positive role models around me and adults to show they cared about my personal development.
It’s been an amazing journey so far, with still more ground to cover and I cannot wait to see what positive change I can inspire. My journey is one of personal development and I want to continue it with others. I am at my best and in my flow when inspiring others.
That is my why. What’s yours?