There is something amazing about finding something you are passionate about. When I decided to do the Dove workshops, I had no idea the impact it would have on my own life. My reasoning for doing it was three-fold. First and foremost, I was keenly aware of the importance of this message and knew I was called to teach it to others.  Secondly, the experience of public speaking was good for me and thirdly, the networking involved would be great too. But I never knew that I would get so much back. Being up at the front of the room, talking to girls about self esteem has done wonders for my own self esteem. Last week I held a workshop for a group of girl scouts and one was the daughter of one of my CSUSM instructors. My professor was there along with a couple of other moms (I'm always glad when moms or mentors are there as well, because even as adults, the workshop is awesome). Afterwards she approached me with tears in her eyes, gave me a hug and said, “I'm so proud of you. You are so beautiful inside and out.” The genuineness in what she said was profound and messages like these for me are a little slice of heaven. It made my week.

Our world is so fast paced and technology oriented, with text messaging, emails, Facebook, Twitter, even blogging makes us lose touch with each other at the human level. But when someone stops to actually look someone in the eyes and tell them something great, it moves mountains.

As I look around the room at all the girls, I see so much innocence and wonder. They see the world with curious eyes, everything is still an adventure waiting to be lived. I can't help but smile when they share a story or anecdote. As the workshop goes on I tend to be able to see the shy ones, the sweet ones, the drama queens, and the one or two that really stand out. I was never that girl that stood out too much so I am always intrigued. She has her own unique personality and I can tell sometimes feels uncomfortable about it. Maybe the other kids think she's weird, but I think she is going to be someone special. I think the workshop speaks to all the girls differently but for this girl, I hope she embraces her unique self. I hope she realizes how special it is to march to the beat of her own drummer and stand out from the rest. I hope she doesn't wish she were “just like everybody else” and try to be someone she's not. I think I wish all these things for her because I am that girl now.

I spent years trying to be whatever society put on me. I looked up to fashion models and actresses and wished that I were different. That if I only had this or that, I would be happy. That if I did everything perfect and looked prefect, the world would love me. How could they not? It took me until I was 31 to realize not only was that unattainable, but exhausting and a bunch of bologna.

I finally learned to love and accept myself when I went through my own personal hell. I finally “got it” (and continue to do so) and then was able to look around and see how many other people were living their lives wishing and hoping to be something or someone else, waiting for something to happen so they could start living. I continue to be saddened by this. Yes, we all have struggles. Yes, we all have complicated relationships and heartbreak. But I keep coming back to this statement I made years ago that made me want to be a life coach:

You only get one shot. One chance at life. It's yours, no one can live it for you. There are no “do-overs”. Find what makes you happy and go for it, even if it's small. And love yourself. A lot.