Why my high school yearbook photo matters. Reflections publishing my first book “The Year Time Stopped.”

I have been doing a lot of reading on visualizing and paving a path for yourself. One favorite book of mine is “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks talks about upper limits. What is it that we can achieve in life, and why don’t we achieve things we want? I never wanted to be an author. It was not a goal of mine. So what was my goal and how did I get here?

“Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten”

-Natasha Bedingfield

I randomly remembered my high school quote. I asked my mom to send it to me with the picture from my yearbook. I remembered that I talked about words in a cheesy Natasha Bedingfield song (no offense) so I wanted to re-read it, and look at my younger self for clues in what I actually wanted. What did Christina want at 17? I saw that I wanted to change the world and I was hungry and impatient.

The rest is still unwritten

The word “unwritten,” makes sense to me. It was the perfect word to describe where I felt I was in life. I had so much to say and such a big imprint that I wanted to have. I wanted to hope in that direction.

Using moments of reflection to pursue a path should never be taken lightly and I am proud of my seriousness in such a not serious quote. My future was serious for me. 16 years later I am #1 new release on Amazon and publishing the book of my dreams June 21, 2022, “The Year Time Stopped.”

Today is where your book begins

The funny thing is the majority of the book is not even my words. They are words of more than 100 photographers on 200 pages that talk about their inner most feelings emotions challenges creativity. It took us two years to pick 200 photos and stories and organize them in a way we felt encompassed that whole year.

It’s not necessarily that I thought I would write a book about myself as a 17 year old, but rather that words need to be read and said, and I wanted to help make that happen.

I want to get back to discussing visualization and why it is important creating the overall idea of what you want to have been in your life. Moving in that direction will give you the actual details along the way. You yourself do not need to think about the details. For example, don’t think, I want to publish a book but rather think about what you want to achieve. The umbrella is I want people’s voices to be heard or my own to be heard, the detail is one of the ways that happened was by publishing a book. It happens every day in other ways through my company, Scopio, but this one is more “in your face, LOUD.” Both efforts need each other to exist.

I grew up in St. Louis Missouri to immigrant parents that were as hard-working as you can get. I saw our lives change as they worked through this interesting and complicated country but I saw a magic in being able to create your own dreams, and that is how I feel with this book. The fact that you can have an idea and turn it into something physical – something that other people can use – other people can enjoy – in this case a historical document that I believe should be on every persons bookshelf for the next hundred years. In high school, I remember loving English class but never being recognized as even marginally good in this category. A mistake many teachers make is to overlook the passions in each person and give them their own interest areas to excel in. As a child of immigrants, many of our high school reading was “too distant” from my culture, and legacy and hard to connect with. That works against “under represented” children who have strong voices, but no visible outlet.

The legacy is not in the pages of this book but rather in the impact that it can create overtime. That is the part of where she says “drench yourself in words unspoken.” To create this book was not a simple task. It took two years. I started during the beginning of COVID. While everyone was panicking in the beginning, I spent all night figuring out how to save these images, so twitter and IG didn’t swallow them to never be seen again. My team helped me make technical changes to allow for this on Scopio and we began to give it a fighting chance. 10 months later after thousands of images collected, the book opportunity came.

Drench yourself in words unspoken

In curating this book, we had to talk with people from all corners of the world and put ourselves in their shoes. To go deeper in the quote, I had to drench myself in building a company over the past 10 years in order to be able to achieve some thing of a magnitude that I thought was worth my time here on earth. Drenching yourself is a perfect way to explain it because it is not necessarily the most elegant but it is the most real feeling.

Live your life with arms wide open

On the part where she says live your life with arms wide open gives me a time to reflect on this idea what does that mean with your arms open wide. Why did this part matter to me at the age of 18 and why did I need to know this topic intimately to build my company. Joy, the zest for life is some thing that I hope that my 18-year-old self can teach me more of. You always want to bend back in the direction of “arms wide open.” There are difficult topics we address on every page of this book, and I needed compassion to be able to talk with people talking about their parents being sick, loved ones dying of COVID, being thrown against police cars, and getting married in the most difficult time in history to celebrate your moment.

Overall sometimes a cheesy quote can really teach you a lot about who you are, what you have done, and why you feel that way, but the idea is to be intentional as you move ahead. As I am embark on releasing this book June 21, 2020, I can not help but think about how this happened and what led me here and why I could do some thing that many people think is impossible. I have done other things people think are impossible but when it comes to authoring a book, I know every person on earth “can.” 85% of people already have a book idea in their head. Publishing with Harper Collins one of the biggest publishers in the world. My answer to that is in visualization and aligning yourself in the direction that you want to go consistently knowing that you’re taking yourself seriously and that you have the power to direct. You have to stay in one direction I believe I did that I did not anchor my thoughts into many other places. Some people may find this boring but the dedication and discipline is what it takes to make a dent in a certain area no matter what field you are in. I challenge you all reading those to look back on your Younger self and try to remember the “you had in your yearbook or how you felt when you relieving high school. Do you feel that you are on the same path that you wanted to be? If not why? Have Time to daydream. Daydreaming is a productive exercise. Have time to wish. It is actually signals to the universe telling it what you want and helping you get there. This is real.