I was first told to give up in 1997. As a high-school junior in rural Pennsylvania, my passions for leadership and world travel were quickly being hemmed in by public school counselors and limited family finances. Refusing to believe that central PA was the end of my adventure, I set my sights on the US Air Force Academy, a full ride scholarship and an opportunity to travel the world. I rejected the status quo in search of something greater.
Seventeen years later I looked back over a college degree, a successful Air Force career, travel to a dozen countries, and a second career as a covert CIA intelligence officer. With a wonderful young family and comfortable life in Washington D.C., I realized that the status quo had caught me! I was compromising personal growth and ambition in exchange for a government paycheck, an unfulfilling job and a congested city. I was dangerously close to giving up and accepting a fate common to many people when my hero arrived.
My rescuer came in an unexpected form; my 10 month old son. My son’s genuine curiosity for the world around him reminded me that I shared his passion to explore new things. Over time I had let work, family, and other responsibilities sideline that passion. My passion for leadership had been similarly buried by years of doing what other people expected of me instead of what I felt called to do. My son’s ability to tap into his passions, despite the distractions around him, inspired me. He showed me how to live for ‘Me’ and how to appreciate life ‘Now’. For all children, life is fascinating, challenging, and energizing because they live for the joy and they live in the present.
Struck by my son’s example, I was compelled to change my career, my lifestyle and my location. I committed to pursue the life I wanted instead of the life that had happened.
My successes thereafter connected me with others who had taken similar risks and found great personal reward as a result. With each person’s success story, Me.Now. grew from an idea to a reality; from a mantra into a movement.