This past week I was visiting Utah where I grew up and went to college. I attended my high school and family reunion and was congratulated repeatingly on my upcoming book release.
I had one conversation that stayed with me and it went something like this.
Did you always know you wanted to write a book, was it back when you were in high school? I had to think a bit because my tendency was to say “I’m not a writer and no most definitely I never planned to write a book”. But just as it is so easy for me to come up with short business type “non-thinking” responses, I seem to be breathing more these days and seem to be quite a bit more reflective.
My answer was in general, I’m not quite sure? As I looked at my year book picture as a writer on the Bulldog Press, and remembered that I was also a staff writer on our high school literary magazine. I never once wanted to be a writer, or english major in college. I did know what I wanted to be and that was successful and I definitively knew at the time that I wanted to be political science major as I had political aspirations.
Although I didn’t want to be a “writer” in high school I certainly I knew I wanted to shape my own life, this drive led me to strive to go to an excellent college in Massachusetts where I was accepted. I write in my book about being disappointed in myself when I didn’t make Varsity cheerleading during freshman year tryouts as Junior Varsity wasn’t good enough for me. Again all this leading towards the confidence I had even as a young person with a personal drive to succeed.
While I was in Washington state this past summer I met with my very close friend Jeanette who saw me through a pretty horrible time in my life and she reminded me that I told her then that I said I would write a book. I don’t really remember saying this to her, although not a complete surprise, because with struggle for me comes aspirations for change. I do believe that I said this to her, this was about 4 years ago.
So to answer the question of when did I know I wanted to write a book, my answer
is I’m not sure, but as I write this today, I’m glad I wrote this book and this I do know. I knew I valued my voice and I think I always believed I had something special to say.
I likely began writing this book the day I put the pen to paper for my first employee handbook; when I was about 29 years old. Although I started my first company at 27, it took a couple of years before I had more than one employee and needed a handbook.
Now, what went into that handbook was not exactly what you’d expect to read in an employee manual. What I had to share was so much broader in scope. Without knowing it, I was writing the first chapters of this book, something that’s been coming together and writing itself for many years now.
“Who did I write this book for?” This book was written over the course of the two companies. All the while I’ve been writing down and maintaining the sort of information I felt my new employees would need to know to become a part of my company, part of my team. This book was written for the newly-hired recent college graduates, especially the new engineers and systems trainers I hired, to help them understand how to best represent me. I also wrote it to share what I’d learned about navigating through corporate America by always doing things the right way the first time. And perhaps most importantly, to share what I’d learned from the mistakes I’ve made over the course of my corporate experience.
As a first time author this book has morphed and changed as I have with it. Early possible titles for this book were everything from “You Better Know Your NFL” to “What Your Mother Couldn’t Teach You about Business.” As the book changed, so did who I was writing it for.
At times when I was writing, I would discuss possible chapters of my book with business colleagues; what I thought was common knowledge and what surely must be obvious to the seasoned professional. The feedback they provided caused me to think believe the opposite; that much of what I’d learned working in business wasn’t common knowledge, wasn’t obvious and wasn’t being shared.
I was encouraged by this and it drove me to think that my new audience for the book was business professionals in general who were looking for advice to get ahead in their careers. Around the time I started writing this book, I’d also become a certified business mentor and had begun to mentor not only my young employees but other professionals. The book felt like and is an extension of all the things that matter to me.
I have lived an amazingly blessed life. Certainly like most people though, I’ve had to move through some major struggles in my adult life. I lost my son at 34 weeks in utero. I feel that up until then I had never truly known sadness. I was 41 when that happened. It was then I realized how fortunate my life had been up until that moment. I’ve since learned to look at my life both before and after this happened with a grateful spirit.
Despite any challenges, however, I feel like I’ve always retained the positivity and enthusiasm of who I was as a young women. As an adult, a mother and a professional, I live my life knowing that true happiness comes from finding and living out your passion each day, each quarter, each year and then making sure without a doubt you never stop pursuing what you love in life.
I do this by making very thoughtful choices about where I live, who I surround myself with, and what pursuits take up my time. If I’ve gained anything from my experience thus far on this earth, it is that life is short and will fly right by you whether your eyes are open or shut. I believe my eyes were opened to a world of possibility when I was 7 years old and fortunate enough to dance at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Every day of my life I strive to remain open to change, growth, higher enlightenment and most of all love, viewing the world with the wonderment and trust of that 7-year old girl.
Short Answer: I wrote this book because of my passion for sharing my knowledge.