I was stuck in a rut thinking I needed to get ahead. I wasn’t where I wanted to be and worked too many hours with little progress to show for it. My focus was on numbers and results, although I had a larger purpose inside of me, to bring out the best in the people around me. Then, it hit me one day with a big 2×4 and I realized I had it all backward. Results first, not people had me upside down. I always believed people were the most important part of any equation, yet society taught me results mattered more. I wasn’t until I opened my eyes to see the importance of focusing on people first and then having the faith that results will follow. My happiness “wake-up call” ensued and lifted the fog holding me back from living my possible.

The moment that woke up my consciousness was a very raw experience at a diversity and inclusion immersion event, where my blissfully ignorant bubble burst. I discovered that I wasn’t impacting those around me as I was intending. I was welcoming while trying to bring out the best in people, yet I noticed my efforts were unintentionally being focused on people that were most similar to me. I felt tremendous guilt and shame when this fact came screaming into my conscious reality. At this training, I shared deep emotions. I even openly cried on several occasions in front of a diverse group of 25+ people, many unlike myself. My kids had never seen me cry before and I had been holding my emotions in check for far too long. I was exposed and vulnerable. This is where I found my authentic self awaiting. It was the jolt that I needed in my life. I just never realized it, existing comfortably in my sheltered bubble.  

I survived through it and became stronger as a result. I soon came to realize that my bubble didn’t burst, it expanded. Once able to see more clearly, my circle of possibilities grew and grew. From here I committed to being accepting of differences and began to believe there is a beauty in all of us, waiting to be unleashed. I vowed to be different, to make a difference. I decided to “walk the walk” and committed to continued exploration while owning my part in making a change for the betterment of us all. I declared from that day forward to begin using a pink pen as a constant reminder of this commitment. I decided that it was okay to be my authentic self in an environment that may not welcome it. I permitted myself to be a people-first, inclusive person that leads by example with a belief that we can make a bigger difference, together. To my delight, my shift was overwhelmingly accepted and embraced by many. This experience taught me the ability to be more accepting and curious while making positive connections. I now use a pink pen to write anything from a simple thank you note to signing million-dollar contracts. It is my constant reminder to embrace the differences that surround me every day.   

It is here where my happiness wake-up call exploded and put me on the right path for good. I found my “WG” or Watermelon Guy, which I now affectionally call the moment where my world lit up. It was the moment when everything became extremely clear and bright. It is my reminder to pause and remind myself that happiness is never far away and unimaginable possibilities are in reach. My third-grade daughter and I had an amazing moment together when we found the back of a “watermelon ice” lid sitting there, waiting to be found. I noticed it out of the corner of my eye and it was upside down.    

In turning the lid around, I brought into focus the pure joy of the moment, and in an instant, I felt myself turn as well. My “aha moment” ignited as I let my guard down, put down my phone and replaced pretending to be present with actually being fully present. I allowed myself to curiously look into the world for a connection. The kid in me came out and shared an AMAZING moment with my daughter.  

I recognized at that euphoric moment that there is so much inside all of us looking to jump out in a big, vibrant way. I realized that true happiness is within me and ALL around me. I started to look for the connections. It was then that I started to see everything around me change. I became open to the unknown possibilities of change. It has been an enlightening experience, to say the least, and one I wish everyone will experience in this short life. I felt compelled to write a 2-page business plan to help others with the process of living and seeing a life of what is possible. That original two-page business plan turned into a 200+ page book and the founding of a Company to spread happiness as a platform for change.  

This is not about being happy all the time. It is knowing that happiness is never far away. These events enabled my true authentic self to come alive. Believing in myself and that happiness can be the defining positive purpose in my life has allowed me to focus on bringing out the best in people ALL around me. These steps have helped me trust and live a life filled with curiosity and with an abundance of connections. I am reminded that sustainable happiness is always within reach and never far away. I have since found hundreds of these inspirational reminders and take notice of my daily “WG” sightings. It continues to give me a constant reminder to believe that results will soon follow if I put people first. Join me on this journey and unleash your happiness like never before.