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I wrote a book; yes, this book. It only took half my life to write it. I’m officially an author.
I started thinking about becoming an author when I was in my 20s, even though I didn’t have a clue what I would write a book about. I wasn’t an “expert” on anything then, and I’m not an “expert” now. I’ve written this book from my heart, based on truths and lessons I've learned in my life; It’s my passion, purpose, and mission to help others “Be who they came to be.”
Before we begin, let’s take a step back to the stories behind the books that never got written and the story behind this story.
Not long after graduation, I married my college sweetheart, Scott. We were both determined to start successful careers. He studied chemical engineering while I pursued a communications degree; he went to work for an Engineering firm, and I was one of those “odd balls” who graduated from college and said, “I want to be in sales!” After multiple offers for mediocre sales jobs, I applied for a job I was incredibly underqualified for but seemed like the perfect job for me. I figured, “What the hell!” and faxed in my resume (yes, this was still the age of the fax machine). No kidding, I got the job!
This was my first lesson in the real world: never play small. Even if you’re “underqualified,” you can make up for it with tenacity, hustle, attitude, and work ethic. The job was as a “National Marketing Director'' for a publishing company—we produced marketing brochures for high-end, custom home builders. I traveled the country meeting with builders and closing deals. It was invigorating, fun, and a great way to get my feet wet in the sales world.
Like many sales professionals, I hopped around a bit before finding my dream sales job. Who knew that my dream job was with an online job board. But it was, and I LOVED it. It was the early 2000’s and job boards ruled the employment space. I started in sales and worked my way up to leadership. I led and managed two sales offices before I facilitated their national sales training program.
Not only did I love this job, but I also loved the company and the culture. Sales and leadership was my passion. I loved the entire sales process—from that first cold call to the million-dollar close. It was fast, high profile, fun, and incredibly fulfilling. And I was good at it. So naturally, in my 20s, I tossed around the idea of writing a book about how to be successful as a young professional in sales and sales leadership. I even had a book idea centered around “Mistakes I made as a young sales professional, so you don’t have to.”
In my 30s, my husband Scott and I started our family. Ben was born when I was thirty, and Jack was born when I was thirty-two. I will be sharing more about becoming a mom; Ben and Jack are definitely my most significant accomplishments in life, but having children changed me and my career path. I no longer wanted to be hustling million-dollar deals, managing salespeople, and traveling two to three days a week; I wanted to be home and present with my children.
So, . . . I made a big change. I left the corporate world and shifted my career to a home-based business. Never in a million years did I think I’d climb the corporate ladder to leave it all behind to work from home, but I did. And it was the perfect “fit” for my life; I could still flex my sales and leadership muscles while being at home with my boys.
During my 30s, I outlined a book celebrating Moms and encouraging new traditions. For instance, on a baby’s first birthday, celebrate the mom, not the child. Instead of bringing gifts for the baby, bring gifts for the mom. The entire party is to pamper, nurture and celebrate the mom and her baby. Yes, of course, the baby would still get to eat its first piece of cake, but let’s face it, it’s not like the child even remembers their first birthday. It’s the MOM who is worthy of a party. If you’ve had a child, you know that the mom is most deserving of gifts and praise when her child turns a year old.
That book never got written . . . but I still think the “1st Birthday” idea is pure gold.
I’m in my 40s now, and I was destined to write this book, Be Who You Came to Be. For years I pondered a note my grandmother left for my son before she died: “Be who you came to be,” she wrote, “Love will guide you.”
She had the gift of beautiful penmanship and spent hours every week writing letters to family and friends. Most of her notes were just catching us up on her life—what she was reading, what was for dinner that week, what her rose garden looked like, what our ornery grandfather was up to, and always an update on her dog, Cookie, and two cats, Love and Chris.
But the final note she penned for my son was different. It was a heartfelt letter of love written by an eighty-even-year-old woman to her great-grandson. She put on paper her thoughts on his authenticities, what he might be like, and the man he would grow up to be. The last two sentences of this note she signed, “Be Who You Came to Be. Love Will Guide You.”
Such a simple yet profound piece of advice; I’ve thought about it every day since. I’ve thought about this advice not just for my boys but for me. “Who did I come to be?”
And so here I am at age forty-four—a wife, mother, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author of my first book.
In addition to the social media platforms on which I share daily, I’ve spent the last four years as a keynote speaker for various companies, conferences, and organizations. One of the things I’m constantly asked by speaking bureaus and women who attend my events is, “Do you have a book?” Until NOW, I would say, “Not yet, but it’s in the works!”
The truth is, I’ve written and rewritten this book a hundred times. But for some reason, I just couldn’t get it right.
"This was my first lesson in the real world:
NEVER PLAY SMALL."
"This book is your OFFICIAL permission slip to
BE WHO YOU CAME TO BE."
I consider myself a lifelong learner. Strong business acumen is something I’ve always prided myself on. And I joke that nothing will make you more intriguing at a cocktail party than being well-read. (That’s a fact. I’ve been testing that theory for half of my life.)
If you spent an afternoon in my office, you could thumb through the business books that line the shelves. On these shelves, you’ll find an array of sales and leadership books from unknown authors to well-known business advisors and 21st-century thought leaders.
For years, I envisioned my own book on that shelf, a book that might land on the business book section of your bookshelves (or in your Kindle library). But for some reason, I just couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t write the “business” book. The business-book format wasn’t really my style, and with each chapter I wrote, I felt pangs of imposter syndrome.
Then, an epiphany.
I couldn’t complete the book because the book wasn’t a reflection of the AUTHENTIC ME. I realized I didn’t really want a business book after all. Both my true north and innate desire guided me to write and publish a book that looks just like the one you’re reading now: hard cover, not typical size, gold foil, pretty fonts, quotes to remember, small chapters to read leisurely and ponder for days, lots of stories and a pretty enough book that you’d leave it on your coffee table and gift one to your best friend.
That was ME. That is me. And this is my book.
This is the author I came to be.
The manuscript I spent twenty years trying to write was finished in about six months.
It has been said that our perception is our reality. I had this insane notion that to be taken seriously as a speaker and emotional intelligence practitioner, I needed a business book. Once I freed myself of this insidious lie, the writing and process started flowing. The words appeared on paper, and the pages came to life.
One of the many truths I discovered while walking through this journey of becoming an author is that too often, we find it necessary to live in a world created by other people, with all of the expectations and demands they put on us. While living in community with expectations and responsibilities can be helpful, it can also cause us to wither away if we associate our identity with other people’s lists of do’s-and-don’ts.
One “aha” I hope you have while reading this book is that you have to stop trying to fit into “containers.” Instead, you must create your own “container,” soil, and space to live the life you desire. Be who YOU came to be and create the life you’ve always dreamed of.
So, thank you for reading my book—my authentic, non-traditional business book.
Do me a favor—snap and post a pic of yourself with the book (maybe sitting near your coffee table or desk) and tag me on Instagram. I want to see your beautiful faces and the spaces the book is spending time in.
This book is your OFFICIAL permission slip to BE WHO YOU CAME TO BE.
I know, it’s easier said than done. Putting our authentic self into the world can seem intimidating, scary, and perhaps even impossible. But trust me, the world is waiting for you to be who you came to be.
The ideas, perspectives, lessons, and advice you’ll get from this book have been tested, lived, and compiled my entire life. I share ONLY what I know as a truth, what I love, and what has worked for me.
My wish is that in the time you read or even skim this book, you will get closer to the authentic version of you. Give yourself PERMISSION to show up as the authentic, perfectly flawed, beautiful YOU. The world is waiting for you to shine your bold light.
My favorite coffee mug has the Michelangelo quote on it: “I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set him free.”
Let’s start carving away at who you came to be.