Last week I had the honor and privilege of speaking at my first national conference in Boston. It was an incredible milestone for me and I knew this going into the opportunity. However, I didn’t fully comprehend what this milestone meant to me until we were leaving. In fact, it was actually on the Uber ride to the airport that the significance of this event hit me.
It is no secret that Boston is a college town. We managed to squeeze in a quick Boston Duck Tour and there I learned that a third of the city’s population is college students. So safe to say it’s a true college town!
Josh, my hubby, used the time away as a mini-vacation, and each day ran about 8 miles exploring the city. He would return back to our hotel room sharing how he explored the campus of Harvard and MIT. With all this talk about colleges, you would think that I would of put it together…but I didn’t. Until we drove by the school on the way to the airport and perhaps that was intentionally done by the universe to ensure I didn’t dwell in the past but instead take it as a sign of gratitude for where I am and who I am today. The school I am dancing around mentioning is Berklee College of Music.
Did you know someone in high school who had their path to college all mapped out? Perhaps what they did in high school was predominantly dictated by where they ultimately wanted to end up? In a way, Berklee was that for me. But because I was afraid and I waited too long, I was nowhere close to being prepared to audition for Berklee and pursue the music degree that I had always longed to have. I had stayed so quiet about my dream that my parents weren’t able to even guide me in the process so that I had any sort of chance. By the time, we were choosing colleges in high school, I remember requesting an info packet from Berklee and wishing that it could be a possibility but knowing that it would never be.
Now here is where the story begins, that many of you are familiar with. I did begin my college career pursuing music as a vocal major at a different college and it was one of the epic failures of my lifetime. It was while I was grieving this failure, that I was directed to the world of Human Resources and it is because I was grieving that I didn’t resist. I literally was desperate to be good at something, I needed some sort of confidence booster. I found it in HR. I was good at it and I began to build a career.
A little over two years ago, a new but familiar theme began to emerge on my vision boards. They were images of stadiums filled with people and usually an artist or groups of artists performing on stage. The images still resonated so strongly with me and now I knew that they could possibly materialize in another way. My speaking career is a growing child, I personally would say that perhaps I’m a toddler right now still amidst my periods of tantrums and testing out my boundaries. But speaking has given my voice a new arena and an art form to express myself.
In my last weekly reflection, I shared about the vulnerability and authenticity that has been emerging in my work ever since I released, From Heart to HRart. Written words have become my new form of artistic expression, one that I had lost for so long.
In my bottom desk drawer, there is a folder of songs that I have carried with me since I was a child. Specifically, they are pages of lyrics and the melodies still bounce around in my heads, I often refer to it as the folder of “The Songs I’ll Never Sing.” The folder has become a great source of reflection and gratitude for me because it serves as the foundation of my artistic expression. I can see how I have evolved and grown as an artist even if they aren’t truly songs.
Despite, whatever critics may say later in regards to my presentations in Boston. Inside I know I showed up and brought my best. For the first time in a long time, once I began to speak the opinions of others seemed to matter less because I was there to serve in a way that causes a stirring for every individual in that room even if just for a second. Even if that stirring was a strong sense of dislike, discomfort or disagreement with what I was sharing. That stirring was still a feeling that will generate some sort of internal thoughts that leads to the most powerful kind of learning, the learning about ourselves.
So as I drove by Berklee at 4 AM that morning. (Yes! It was a horribly early flight!) The stillness of Boston allowed me to be grateful for how this story is coming full circle. Boston used to be a city that seemed a million miles away holding dreams that would never come true. Today, Boston is the city where my dreams begin to come true. Thank you.