Today I finally gave my presentation to the IAAP, and I cannot express enough my gratitude to them (especially Debbie Blume) for believing in me and asking me to present…and further to be asked to present on the subject of “Passion”. 

The audience was amazing, and I was thrilled to get the chance to speak with so many afterwards.  I finally had to leave as the weather in Northwest Arkansas took another turn for the worse this afternoon, but it was absolutely wonderful while it lasted. 

Having discussed this subject to so many one-on-one or in small groups, it was absolutely daunting to be asked to present to a room of 200+.  Last night as I sat in my hotel room (bottom floor after the sketchy Arkansas weather this week) and ran through my slides and notes…I started questioning my material.  Was my stuff any good?  Were my funny stories EVEN funny?  Knowing my 5 a.m. wake-up call would come early and with a goodnight call to my “personal cheerleader”, I decided to worry no more and get some sleep.  At 4:30 a.m. I was suddenly awake, and I forced myself to roll over, go back to sleep and (still) not worry.  My first alarms started going off at 5 a.m.  When I have to get up for something important like this, I set multiple alarms…this morning I had five different ones set.

Yes, yes I know.  Don’t judge. 🙂

I should not have been nervous.  My dear friend Carolyn was in the parking lot when I pulled up and Debbie was there at the front door to greet me.  You have to love the warm smiling faces of those you know. 🙂  My “personal cheerleader” was a little sleepy, but I got his “Woo Hoo” text right before Debbie introduced me…and then Debbie spoke.  If I had not been so moved, I would have killed her.  She started talking about me…and got choked up…then I got choked up…we were a mess.  Why don’t I wear waterproof mascara?? 

Debbie was too kind in her remarks…and the audience was even kinder…I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did, but more than that, I hope they were inspired by the presentation to find their passions.  They certainly inspired me.  I know they liked the “Woo Hoo” part of my presentation…I have faith they have found their “Woo Hoo”…there was a lot of “Woo Hoo” shout outs the rest of the day. 🙂 🙂

Audra Christie, Sr. Director, Human Resources for Wal-Mart (Headquartered in Bentonville, AR) presented after me on “Purpose” and she was fantastic!!  What a personal testimony she has from speaking about her father to surviving 9/11/11 by pure accident.  I took lots of notes, but my biggest takeaway was her discussion on writing your own “life purpose statement”.  I call mine a mission statement, and I could not agree with her more on their importance.  It was great to hear others stand up and tell their own.  Lots of “Woo Hoo” and inspiration in that room today.

All of this got me to thinking….

I want more days like today. 

I want more days where I GET TO inspire a group of people, give them tools, build them up, and help them find something out about themselves that they didn’t know…or had simply forgotten.  I want more days where I take the time to BE inspired by smart, funny, brave, passionate individuals.  To be with these individuals who are all of those things plus they are living their passions.  Living them!

Today I met a woman who is the mother of four and a widow putting herself through school!!  I met a young mother of two, a wife who went from being a stay-at-home mom who went back to school and is working to get an accounting degree so she can become a CPA!!  I met a woman who was diagnosed with a serious illness in the last year and now she has an immune deficiency that impacts every area of her life and will for the rest of her life; her husband just got back from Iraq and cannot find work.  She asked me how do I find my passion again when I can no longer do what I am passionate about due to my illness?  Wow!  I prayed for God to give me the right words…and for the first time I shared my loss with a stranger.  We were both crying.  I hope I inspired her to discover new dreams.  I have faith in her. 

I could go on and on about these amazing individuals who opened me up as they opened themselves up.  What would happen if we were all that “real” with each other every day??  How would that change our lives?  What would happen if we all really believed that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to?? 

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and present today, and I hope that I will have the chance again.  Today might have been a “game changer” for me. 🙂  What I hope for anyone reading this is that you take the chance to step out of your own comfort zone.  Stretch yourself.  Try something new.  Take a swim in lake you for 30 minutes today and make a list of your passions.  Are you living them?  Are they even on your to do list?  On the other hand, if you are like me, are they on ANY of your to do lists?? 

….with passion and purpose…you WILL change the world…starting with your own…:)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! 🙂