The best bit of advice I could give would be to find your voice and be willing to help others find theirs too. I can remember in high school distinctly and confidently answering the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” by saying I wanted to be a lawyer. Well, guess what, I am NOT a lawyer. Remember to always be open to where your passions might take you and understand that those passions may change. In high school, I enjoyed debate and student council and a career around those areas just seemed to be the right direction to go. However, somewhere along the path of life from college, to starting into the workforce, to being a wife, and then a mom, my passions changed. I found I sincerely enjoyed work that revolved around communication and public service. I am humbled and thankful every day for the opportunity I now have as Mayor of Bentonville to put those passions to work.
I truly believe we are all meant to discover our true passions and never be discouraged from pursuing them. Assess your strengths, figure out what you do well, and then listen to that inner voice and just MAKE IT HAPPEN! Never let the fear of failure be what stops you. Learn to collaborate with peers, seek out a mentor, and discover your value. There will most likely be long hours, a crazy schedule, sacrifice, and valuable lessons learned along the journey, but those experiences will make you appreciate your successes in life even more.
Finding your voice and passion will also allow you to influence others around you. Learn to network and collaborate with others and continuously put yourself in places where you can help and make a difference. Once you have found your voice, choose to increase your contribution and inspire others to find theirs. Doing what you love will give you an inner drive to succeed and see others thrive.
What I desperately hope to instill in my own children and hope every young person can find in themselves is a strong belief in their own ability to do amazing things. I often use the quote “You can’t really ever fail unless you decide to quit.” Sometimes paths change and roadblocks occur, but Never Ever give up on your passions! You will find the things you work the hardest for, really are the things that give you the most inner joy in life. Develop your vision, be disciplined, and remember to let your conscience govern your actions. At the end of the day, you have to be able to lay your head down and rest and know your actions of the day were taken with fairness, honesty, respect, and contribution. I know you were made for great things and your potential is limitless. My sincere hope is you FIND YOUR VOICE and live life inspiring many others to find theirs.
I would be remiss to not end this letter by thanking the numerous people who have helped and inspired me along my journey of life to find my voice. I can not thank my team, friends, and family enough for their continued support. There are too many to name, but I must give a special thank you to my husband and children. They love me unconditionally and continuously support my voice in all I do. My final bit of advice is to always remember that you can’t achieve your goals alone. You will need the love, support, accountability and encouragement of others to truly find happiness and true success. You will sometimes need to set your pride aside and ask for help. Remember to say “thank you” as others help you find your voice and be an example to pay it forward by helping others to find their passion! My sincere hope is that you come to see the worth and potential in yourself and all you are uniquely made to do!
All My Best-