Live Your Legend Challenge #5 – The Elevator Pitch

Doesn’t everyone love a good story? As a writer, an artist and a budding public speaker, I am constantly thinking of the next story to tell.  I write from the heart and I find that personal stories resonate with others. I enjoy writing for others too, like today’s post on the NFED blog. My best speaking performances happen when I share a story that will touch your heart, make you laugh, and later, have you thinking back and wanting to find out more about the topic.

I have dreams of one day appearing on that round red carpet, doing my very own TED talk. I can see myself standing in front of an audience of school children, as part of an anti-bullying campaign, or as a motivational speaker. Of course this would also be supplemented by colorfully illustrated children’s books, and an autobiography for the older crowd.

While I’m certainly not the first person to share their own story in hopes of educating or motivating others, I know that since my own story has so many facets, I am adaptable to many different situations. I’d like to use my storytelling abilities to help others share their stories too. Not everyone feels confident writing or publicly speaking about their experiences, but with my skills, I could be their voice.

What stories do you enjoy hearing? How can I help you share your story?

March Motivation

Hey there! It’s been a while since I wrote a current-events post. As usual, I am busy thinking up so many things I want to do and trying to do everything at once and then feeling overwhelmed and rushed and anxious about life.

How do you find balance? I constantly feel the need to create things; to produce. Whether it be writing or drawing or painting, it’s like an itch inside me that I am forever trying to scratch. That’s why I like Zentangle so much – it is easy to bang out a quick drawing in a short amount of time, and most often it looks pretty cool.

A few weeks ago I was out in sunny Southern California at a work-related conference, and they had a motivational speaker give the keynote. He was billed as a magician and a corporate speaker, and my first thought was that his performance was probably going to be the cheesiest thing I’d seen in a while. Fortunately, I was very wrong. He was amazing, and quite inspirational. His name is Vinh Giang – here’s his promo video.

Once I got home, I looked up Vinh on YouTube and I watched a bunch of his stuff so I could keep the inspiration going. I also happened upon a TED talk by David Litchfield, where he talked about how he challenged himself to draw something every day for a year.

So of course I got excited and inspired and decided to give myself a daily art challenge. Notice I said art and not just drawing, because why would I limit myself? (Insert eye-rolling emoji here… )

You may have already found it, or seen my oversharing of my daily pieces on FB, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and wherever else I could find… but if somehow you missed all of these, my daily art challenge site can be found here:


I am already kind of regretting that I made it a daily challenge instead of weekly or something, but so far I have managed to do it every day.

Vinh says in his talks: the biggest illusion you will ever experience in your life is when you tell yourself that something cannot be done. I’ve certainly fallen victim to this mentality many times. It’s something I want to change – I want to believe in myself, that one day I will be a professional writer and a professional illustrator. I don’t want to spend my whole life just thinking of what might have been if only I’d tried a little harder.

So, I will keep blogging and keep arting, and one day I will figure out how to make it all work!

Throwback Thursday – Thoughts from a 25-Year-Old Me

It’s been a while since I did a TBT post. I pulled a random journal off the shelf to find something to share, and it just so happened to be one from exactly 10 years ago. At the time I wrote this, I had just left the religious group that I’d grown up in, lost my best friend in the process, and was about to quit a well-paying job to go back to school to finish my degree. My world was in turmoil!

I wrote this while I was spending a week in Vermont, watching my brothers while my mom took a trip to London.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I must remember to thank God every day for my awesome family and this amazing place we call home.

Tonight we had taco pie for dinner and then John went to a friend’s house. Nick practiced clarinet while I vacuumed my car (Dave reminded me to). Then we watched Dead Poet’s Society. That movie is so good. It makes me want to read poetry, write poetry and get out there and do a bunch of stuff before life passes by.

I was looking at pictures of Mom and Dad when they were teenagers. It’s so weird to see them so young. I mean, I’m older now than they were in those pictures. They look so mischievous and silly and happy and have no idea what their futures hold. Maybe they thought they knew, but of course life has a way of happening differently than you plan.

There’s a picture of Mom and her friend in the room that would later become the nursery for Me, Kris, John and Nick. They’re sitting on a couch in front of the window and there’s a box of records on the floor beside the couch and a Yes poster on the wall where our crib would later be. Obviously it’s before any of us were even thoughts in their minds. It just blows me away. It is so weird how you can life live without someone (like a child or your significant other) and then once they enter your life you can’t imagine it without them.

Life moves so quickly, yet when you’re wondering about the future it can seem so slow. Sometimes I get frustrated that you can’t go back. Not necessarily go back and relive a moment, but just observe. Like in Our Town, when Emily dies and she goes back and is able to watch her parents without them seeing her. Maybe that’s too painful. I’d like to rewind sometimes and see certain events again. Actually, what I’d most like to see would just be normal, everyday life from different perspectives.

I don’t want to grow old and have my life end. I know it’s a cycle, but where is the lesson? When do we say, “Aha, now I understand!”?

That was deep, right?

Also, I kept having crazy dreams about my ex-best friend… here’s a couple of excerpts:


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I had this elaborate dream that Deb and Jason came to a theater where Dave and I were going to watch a movie. They sat behind us and made all these rude comments about how I shouldn’t be with Dave. Then we ended up at their house, but it was just Deb and I. She was really upset about something and started stabbing me with steak knives. In self defense, I overturned a huge, heavy table onto her and killed her. Then I called 911 and ran into the street with my stab wounds (which were all in my face). When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics weren’t worried about me at all but instead ran inside to tend to Debbie. Then somehow I ended up in the basement of their house, but it was a huge labyrinth with tons of weird little rooms and I couldn’t get out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I had another dream about Debbie. This time I was somewhere like a wedding or something. Debbie approached me very happily and was like, “Heather! It’s been so long! I’m so glad you came!” (or something along those lines). She started hugging me and I pushed her away and said, “Get off of me! How dare you act so happy to see me when it was YOU who pushed me away?” The look on her face went from joyful to angry and then we started fighting again. It wasn’t as exciting as the knife-stabbing, table throwing incident of a few days ago, but still, it kept me thinking of her during the day.

Moral of the story: Don’t get on my bad side! I may appear sweet and nice on the outside, but in my dreams I will kill you and verbally abuse you!

I’d also like to add a disclaimer here: I am pretty certain at this point, 10 years after the fact, that I have successfully completed the grieving process over my former best friend, and all of the other friends I lost when I tried to break away from the herd. I won’t lie that it wasn’t an easy process, and there were lots of dreams of rejection and hurt. After a few years, I even went to therapy, (which I probably should have done at the very beginning) and that helped me immensely. So don’t worry – while I may at one time have been filled with angst and rage that presented itself in murderous dreams, I have since healed and moved on. Hooray!