Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Relaunch Class 2 Graduates,
April 30, 2019.
a career re-entry program for professional women.
I could give Relaunch a plug like a happy holiday letter, but this approach would not capture the full truth of this program. And it’s the full truth—that which includes the hard work and digging deep–that has challenged me at midlife to find my place in my full self.
April 30, 2019, I graduated from Relaunch with a group of incredible, smart, wise women, all of us trying to navigate our next professional step. Relaunch, a program offered through the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce by President and CEO Betsy Gardner Eckbert, provides foundational job skills, mock interviews, and renewed direction. An equally valuable piece for me though, was hearing other women share their obstacles and concerns, while listening to Betsy consistently emphasize our worth. Everything we did during our time away from corporate America is all transferrable she iterated again and again.
Yes, all of it.
Caregiving; managing homes, people, and problems; volunteering for schools, nonprofits, communities, and places of worship; and for some, overcoming health setbacks. Ponder all of this right now in the context of a pandemic and notice how valuable these skills are to the wellbeing of our communities. Our skills, both hard and soft, are more than transferrable. They are essential.
Betsy challenged us to explore questions like:
What is that “thing” that you do?
I mean really, what is “it” that you are most passionate about?
We plotted a plan to go do our thing, understanding that the process takes work, time, sometimes compromise, and sometimes standing firm; more than one, two, or three tries, and a bit of dogged determination. But above all else, a key factor emphasized keeping our eyes on our vision.
I was honored to have spoken at graduation. I chose to read my speech, as opposed to memorizing it, not because I was nervous (which I was), but because what I spoke about was raw and still too real for me to easily air, especially to a large audience that I mostly did not know. Reading was most doable.
I spoke about challenges and doubts leading up to Relaunch, including four significant deaths in a 14-month period, the last funeral happening the week of Relaunch’s first class. I chose to show up though, to step out and to hopefully step up. And so, I decided—ready or not—to also step out and read a graduation speech with my best effort. Giving my best, in the context of my current state, was what Relaunchers do.
One Year Later
Today, I’m still stepping out and slowly stepping up toward my authorpreneur vision of offering writing and speaking services that promote self-care, -awareness, and
-understanding. I specialize in empowering women to honor their unique stories, something I learned even more about in Relaunch. My vision board strategically sits on my desk touting “Momentous Living: better self, better world.”
Top Six Tasks
In a nutshell, these are “My Top Six Post-Relaunch Tasks” that are getting me closer to doing that thing that I do best:
- Developing my Momentous Living website/blog and mastering SEO. This is still a huge work-in-progress, but a critically defining and gratifying one.
- Clarifying my writing and speaking services, which focus on creative nonfiction and human interest storytelling.
- Offering and expanding Embodiment™ Memoir Writing Classes.
- Working towards Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest honor in Toastmasters International, a prestigious public-speaking organization founded in 1924. (Completion Spring 2022)
- Completing a refresher course and certification in editing to provide an additional service for best capturing stories of dignity, beauty, and fortitude.
- Staying grounded in my “shaping” core values: Simplicity, Humor, Authenticity, Perseverance, Intentionality, Nourishment, Grace.
Sometimes I wish I were further along my post-Relaunch journey (however “further along” is defined). But mostly I’m satisfied with my first year out, as it has been packed with a balance of hard work and enrichment, doubts and setbacks, and “super proud” accomplishments like winning a speech contest, successfully launching and teaching memoir writing classes, and further defining who I am as a writer, speaker, and authorpreneur. But I mostly appreciate an inner gratitude that keeps me traveling along my path, knowing that this path is the only one that will reveal my full self, my full truth, raw and so very real.
To the confines of my home to yours, wishing all my fellow Relaunchers continued forward movement through this pandemic and far, far beyond.
We’ve got this!
Please, stay well.
Please, stay tuned.
And please, stay momentous.