On May 2, 2019 I sat in a packed auditorium at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was sitting in the third row of Catherine Zeisner’s keynote, Class of 2030. She took to the stage armed with stories from her personal life, her life at school and the perfect amount of research to tie everything together like a nice little bow. She shared Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski’s lobster story where she reminded us that times of stress are signals for growth. She told us about her life as a marathon runner and what it took for her to achieve her goals. She shared stories about former students, a kangaroo that wasn’t really a kangaroo running through her school hallway, and the day she delivered a personal letter to an Olympian – one who once sat in her very own classroom.
I remember being completely captured by her message. She was a natural storyteller and as such had the entire audience hanging on her every word from start to finish. I remember being moved to tears, I remember laughing, and I remember feeling so inspired – a perfect balance. But what I remember most is what happened next. My friend and I sat there taking in the energy in the room as people around us packed up and crowded the doors to get to their next sessions. It was in that moment that I knew this is exactly what I wanted to be doing. I turned to him and said,
“You know what? I’m going to do this. I’m going to be on that stage. I have a story to tell.” We simultaneously looked at the stage and back at one another, and he said, “Yeah, you will.”
Tomorrow, 1 year and 9 months later, I will be standing on a virtual stage presenting my very first keynote at BYTE2021.
I worked relentlessly for almost two years to make this happen. I am grateful for every door that closed – it made me find other doors. I am grateful for every cheerleader – they reminded me of what I am capable of.
I’ve learned along the way that the universe doesn’t hand us want we want. It presents us with opportunities to go get it. We just have to be willing to see it.
I went for it. I did it. And this is just the beginning.