I write this blog with one purpose for my reader: INSPIRATION!
It’s for the reader that doubts themselves on a daily basis, that is me.
It’s for the reader that thinks no one will follow their idea, that is me.
It’s for the reader that is trying to gain enough courage to take action on a dream, that is me.
It’s for the reader who needs encouragement from others to validate their path, that is me.
It’s for the reader that has a dream and questioning what to do with it, that is me.
It’s for the reader that loves the motto “fake it until you make it”, that is me.
It’s for the reader who wants to make a difference in the lives of others and praying they are, that is me.
Here is what I have learned in the last 7 years trying to become a leader in my community, develop a nonprofit organization, inspire others who come in my path, and be a woman who strives to balance work-family life:
- The decisions you make every day should reflect your “why”.
- Having fear of the unknown isn’t a bad thing, as long as you’re living out the purpose of your “why”.
- Don’t allow challenges that come along your journey make you doubt your “why”, make it become an opportunity for growth to fuel you back to your “why”.
- You don’t have to be a leader among everyone, you just need to lead one person to become passionate about your “why”. It only takes one person to follow for you to lead, don’t wait until you have a pack, start with one!
- Become adaptable along your journey and allow the people who surround you to fuel your “why” and realize it can become stronger with direction and vision. But you must be open to change and learn to be a key player in your own “why”.
- If you don’t believe in yourself, why should others believe in you? If your not believing in yourself spend time connecting back to your “why” because that is where the real belief starts to develop and the love for it, is the love for yourself.
- Just because others might have a different “why” doesn’t mean yours is wrong. This world needs a lot of people leading, changing, passionate, and making decisions based on different “why’s”.
- Through life your “why” may change and that just means your are making decisions to get you closer to what your happiness is OR you have been able to learn how to clearly identify what it is as you have discovered yourself.
- The journey to live the life you dream about, takes commitment and dedication to never stop learning. Never in life will you be done reflecting, changing, and growing to be better. Becoming the best version of yourself will be ever evolving, and working on yourself will allow to make better decisions to living a life centered around your “why”. There is no finish line, and if you feel like you have come to your finish line, then you need to fuel your “why” for deeper meaning .
- Make sure you have mentors in your life who can help you stay true to yourself and your “why” along the journey. Mentors who will give you sound advice, make you dig deeper, question you to make you think it through, and most importantly believe in you and they are not scared to share in your joy!
If you are reading this and you are not sure what your “why” is, then ask yourself these questions: What makes you smile the most? What makes your heart skip a beat? What makes your belly flutter with excitement? What makes you happy? What do you day-dream about the most? What makes you the most proud of yourself?
My “why” isn’t just center around creating opportunities for those with disabilities that I wish for my brother, but it’s also empowering those in my path that when you believe in something you can achieve anything. My achievements and leadership is driven from my WHY. I knew it from an early age, and somehow through this journey I never lost sight of the why. It lead me to today.
Today we announced to my local community (Owensboro, Kentucky) the vision for the nonprofit organization I founded 7 years ago, known as Puzzle Pieces (www.puzzle-pieces.org ). Puzzle Pieces’ mission is to provide a safe environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities and promote independence, life skills, community access and involvement, social interaction, communication, self-worth and build trusting relationships between clients, staff, and families.
Since opening we have helped to support many families and individuals with disabilities. The drive for starting Puzzle Pieces came from my love for my brother with a disability and the lack of support services for him as he aged. I wanted more for him and we needed opportunities in our community. So, 7 years ago I quit my job as a Special Education teacher, to open a 501(c)3 organization that would create a community, social center for those with disabilities. Since then, every decision leading up today has been made centered around my “why” !
We announced that our future plans are placing all programs under one roof of a building that is 27,000 square feet, and in addition we are launching an Autism Center from 18 month to adult life. This could expand our reach to supporting over 200 individuals with disabilities.
The Owen Autism Center will house an inclusive day care, after school session, summer camp, and college support program. We will partner with our four local post-secondary education institutes to support a Peer Advisory Program for those with disabilities attending college, while allowing field practicums to occur at the center to gain first-hand experiences with those who have autism.
Today was an example of how staying true to your why, leading from your why, believing in your why, and sharing your why …makes BIG things happen! Don’t wish for it, make it happen! My “why” starts with my brother who has a disability ,but has evolved to so much more. What is your “why”? Lead from your WHY!