My finger hovers over the submit button. “Okay, why not?” I ask myself. “What do I have to lose?” Sometimes, life feels like I am just moving from one brave decision to another.
Though I wonder where I would be if I hadn’t. Would I be happy? Would I have created the kind of life that I now have, one that I love?
Throughout my career, and my life, it’s been the people I’ve surrounded myself with that have most given me the courage to do the hard things. They have suggested the opportunity, given me that promotion, invited me into a community or to an event, or simply believed that no matter the choice or decision I would be fine.
Recently one of the bravest things I did was to publish a book of poems. It was a lifelong dream, one of my before I die I really want to do this dreams.
Publishing my own book became a real option a couple of years ago. I was meeting with a coach and we were exploring how to integrate writing into my career, and she took me to task with one pointed statement: “Shame on you for not sharing your gift with others.” Wow. Okay, that hit me hard (and might not have been the approach I would have taken) but she was challenging me, virtually shaking me by the shoulders.
In talking with her I was able to work through the options for publishing and my reasons for wanting to get the poems published at all, understanding that was incredibly helpful. As I navigated this, I also came to realize that my professional career and my creative writing could become more integrated than I had let them be up until that stage.
It was only a few months later that I decided to read one of my poems during my welcome keynote at AdventureELEVATE in Sedona. It was November 2021, and one of the first live and in-person trade events for the Adventure Travel Trade Association (where I was president at the time) since before the pandemic. It was an emotional gathering, and a good time to try something new. So there I was, standing on stage reading a poem as a way to express the feeling of being together again in community, and it seemed to go well. Not only that, but it was what we needed. And I could provide it, so I did.
Over the course of the year after that event, I edited and sorted through my poems, slowly crafting an idea for a published book. In January 2023, I took that rough idea and spread it out all over my living room. Piece by piece, I created a whole new poem–the arc of the book itself.
Alice Fogel, published poet and my professor from the University of New Hampshire, had recommended the idea to me a few months earlier when she learned of the challenge I was taking on to publish my book (ahem, back to being brave, over 20 years after university). “Remember,” she said, “the book itself also tells a story.” It was just the advice I needed and her encouragement was incredibly meaningful.
So today, you can find my published book of poetry called Ripple: A Book of Poems. And you can also read my writing here, where I hope to inspire leaders to be creative, courageous, and confident in what they offer their businesses, the world, and themselves.