Tag Archives: never too late

Why Hillary is in My Dreams

You can be what you can see. -adapted from Marian Wright-Edelman quote

I don’t often have vivid dreams, but this one felt so real that it stays with me two weeks later.

In the dream I was attending a business event in a swanky hotel’s  ballroom, similar to ones I have been in many times. I was sitting in one of many rows of chairs set up for a workshop due to begin soon.

As I was waiting for the session to start, I noticed that the hotel staff was busy setting up chairs for a second event on the other side of the ballroom. I knew immediately that Hillary Clinton was coming to speak. I also knew that although my event would be fine (and ordinary and perhaps  flat) that I was called to the other side of the room where the excitement was palpable.

Without hesitation, I moved over to the other side of the room.

(Too typical I know), but I looked down and realized that I still had my pajamas on and immediately bolted home to get dressed.

After being temporarily distracted at home, I hurried back to the event, worried that I was too late, that I had missed the window of opportunity, and then looked down seeing that I was now only half prepared (as I was still wearing my pajama pants!)

But it was too late to return home and finish getting ready.

And with that I ran back to the Hillary event, snagging a front row seat and founded myself surrounded by several other women, ranging in age from twenties to seventies and beyond. As we waited for HRC to take the podium, I huddled close to these other women; our emotions palpable as we shared why we were there. Hillary Clinton did arrive in the end and it was just as spectacular as I imagined.

Politics aside, the symbolism of this dream is almost absurdly personal as I have been struggling with whether or not I should respond to a particular calling.

Do I stay where I am (the fine, but ordinary and flat side of the room)? Or do I take it up a level, where there is excitement, but risk? Can I do this? Am I ready (No. Definitely not, but perhaps, half ready. See pjs). And the most sobering question of all… Is it too late? 

When I awoke, I was inspired and clear-headed. After her defeat in 2008, like many, I assumed that Hillary Clinton’s window of opportunity to become the first female president had closed and now, here we are in 2016, it is once again a possibility as she has just made history as the first woman to be nominated for President of a major political party.

I know how HRC’s historic rise impacts my daughter and son and a generation of girls and boys across the United States who are watching a 240 year barrier lifted. (You can be what you can see.)

But, what moves me just as much, is that I also see the significance for a generation of women and men in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Women, who for a variety of societal and personal reasons, started toward a bold dream late or perhaps are ready for a new vision and calling.

No matter your political views, I hope that Hillary’s nomination serves as a powerful reminder, that despite defeat and obstacles and yes, age, that it is not too late to pursue your dream, to answer a bold calling…

That all of us, can do and be whatever we want starting today even if we begin only half ready with our pajama pants on. 

Do it. Take the risk. Began today. I sure plan to.

xo Paula

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When Your Potential Ends

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. -Nido Qubein*

I am conducting research as part of my work on a personal development program for young adults. In one of the books, I am reading (more precisely listening to on Audible) the author provides insight into the environment and characteristics that determine success in school and life. To illustrate the weaknesses of one model, he shares a story about a teen who attended a NYC charter high school. The student, Tony, did quite well academically in the highly-structured environment of the charter school and was accepted to a four-year university.

But when he started college, Tony floundered and after a couple of tries, eventually dropped out for good. Using Tony’s story, the author highlighted what was missing from this particular charter school and advocating for a formula that emphasizes traits like grit rather than a traditional model focused almost exclusively on intellectual/academic success.

During his research, the author interviewed and quotes Tony, now in his late 20’s and working at an AT&T call center. With resignation, Tony sighs,

“I really had a lot of potential.”

…and then not missing a beat the author continues with his growth mindset hypothesis.

And that’s when my next door neighbors may have heard my rant. 

Wait! What do you mean had? Had?

Tony is 28 years old; his dreams and the possibilities for his life are not in the past tense. Given the difficult circumstances of his early years, he has done extraordinarily well. But still he has the potential to do much, much more if he chooses.

Tony doesn’t need to accept his current circumstances as fate because of his college/teenage struggles no matter his history, but particularly keeping in mind that he was likely still recovering from trauma.

How ironic that a text that is focused heavily on the growth mindset (the malleability of intelligence and success) implies that potential has an expiration date?

There are countless famous, historic and everyday examples of people hitting their stride in every decade of life, literally until 100 years old.

Tony’s potential ends when he decides it does. And so doesn’t yours.

Take 5: 

Your potential ends when you decide it does. Take two minutes and consider what you have the potential for (maybe it comes in the form of regret or a tinge of if only) by brainstorming answers to this question:

What would you do today if money, time, or the opinions of others were irrelevant? 

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*source for quote: brainyquotes.com

Where to Start When You’ve Lost Touch with Your Dreams


woman thinking boat shutterstock“I will start by letting you know that I am so out of touch with what I really want that I have to ask my husband what I like.”

That’s how Shannon an independent, put-together and highly successful 50-something business executive introduced herself during a recent Reclaim Your Dreams program.

Although I haven’t ever heard it put in this jarring way before, her sentiment of feeling disconnected from her personal desires and dreams is a reoccurring theme with many of the women that I have met and worked with over the last six months.

Shannon has impressive credentials – an advanced degree in math (way before females in STEM were cool) and a current executive role in the software sector of the technology industry.

The problem was – it wasn’t her impressive. The hours were long, the environment soul sucking, and here is the part that matters most – she lacked passion for the work. Conscientious and skilled at execution, Shannon did her job well even though it wasn’t meaningful to her.

After too many years of staying in line, she was filled with painful regret and felt out of touch with her heart’s desires. Or so she thought.

As it turned out, her boldest dreams didn’t require major excavation – what lit her up was just a few questions away. All Shannon needed to do was give herself time and permission to….dream….without constraints.

She’s not quitting her day job – yet. But after just a few short weeks, she walked into the last workshop looking lighter and oozing with creativity. She’s started her first gourmet chef class and has bold, ambitious plans for taking action on her dreams to fill the world with ascetic beauty through plants and food.

Now it’s your turn. If you are feeling out of touch with your dreams and truest desires, start by asking yourself the big questions.

And by start, I mean take 5 minutes right now, grab a pen and paper. With zero filter or constraints and no requirement to share with anyone, brainstorm your answers to the following:

With no limits, indulge your dreams. For these next five minutes, don’t worry about obstacles like money or time or your age or any other boundary. For just these few minutes, don’t consider what’s prestigious or practical or doable. 

If you could do anything at all, what would be your biggest, boldest most fulfilling dreams or desires?

Ready go. For just five minutes, write down as many as come to mind. No filtering. No concerns about the how.

There will be plenty of time to get practical, I promise, but when you begin by giving yourself the freedom to dream, you will begin to reconnect with what really matters to you. Share in the comments one of your dreams – I’d love to hear and it will encourage other women to do the same!

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