What does love look like?
Serendipity found me in the summer of 2008. My marriage was on it's last legs. I was raising two young children by myself. My natural joie de vivre had gone AWOL. My professional skills and diplomas were moldering in a metaphorical attic.
And then a chance meeting in a bakery in France turned everything around.
I felt that instant connection you get with some people. Over the course of our conversations, Kerry told me that she had a business idea. The bottom line was helping children, a passion of mine. I mentioned I had a business background and would be willing to help write a business plan. I figured I could jump-start my brain, whip out the business plan in a few hours, and continue on my path. Not that I had a path.
When I returned home and was able to grab time between preschool runs and laundry I started doing research for the business plan. And something amazing started to happen. It was like champagne bubbles began circulating through my blood stream. It wasn't just getting my brain back to work, it was watching every single experience and passion in my life just click into place and know - really know - that this was my life's work. This was what I was meant to do. Who would have thought that ending the hidden epidemic of child drowning was my purpose? Who knew that all my experience made me uniquely qualified? Who knew there was such joy and power in having all the pieces fit?
My path is not the prescribed and safe path. I'm odd, quirky, different, weird. My dad is still concerned that I'm not going to spend 40 years at a company with a pension plan. I chose liberal arts finance over business so I could study overseas and also take sociology and history courses. Spent a decade in consulting. Shortly after graduating from my first master's, at Kellogg, I turned down the chance to start a new practice for a major consulting firm and took a job selling dresses. Lasted 3 days before I was bored to tears. Quit and worked 6 different jobs while I tried to get my first business off the ground. Cut my budget to the bone, except for travel, which I deemed a basic necessity to the point that when my sleeper sofa broke I decided another trip to Europe was worth 2 years of sleeping on the floor. Married and moved to London and went back for my second master's in organizational and social psychology at London School of Economics because I am fascinated with how people and organizations relate.
Fast-forward to 2017. I have the best job in the world. Every day I am helping to save and improve children's lives, I revel in the power and beauty of water, and the solution to the problem is joy. I have been able to do extensive research, one of my favorite things, to determine how to best address the hidden global epidemic of child drowning. I have developed a social marketing* plan that I am implementing as I launch the not-for-profit Make The Minute Matter. I have an extensive global network and I work with some of the coolest people on the planet. I get to write and do public speaking. I have written a book on social marketing. Best of all, I informally mentor people around the world. It makes my day when I hear of their success or how someone has overcome a challenge.
As if my cup didn't already overfloweth, I still get to be the kind of mom I need to be for my now-teenagers. Plus friend. Plus daughter. Plus volunteer. Plus dog and cat owner. And I'm still traveling.
#ThisIsLove when you find you. You can't predict when, or how, or where it will happen. You can't rush it. You can't choreograph it. You can't force it. But when the champagne bubbles start fizzing in your blood, oh what a feeling!
*Social marketing is NOT social media, it is harnessing market forces to change behavior for public good. Rather than marketing to convince people to choose Pepsi or Coke, we use marketing to positively change how people think and act around water.