Last year when I was in San Diego soaking in the final moments of the WELCOA conference after being honored as their Top Health Promotion Professional, I pulled out my journal.
I had one page left and decided to use it to list a few of my intentions and goals for the coming year. At the top of the page, I felt compelled to write this:
I closed the journal, returned home, and stowed it away in a drawer.
And then it happened.
I received a call from WELCOA in August of 2015 and was invited to speak at their 2016 summit in Orlando!
I hadn’t done anything intentional to “make it happen.” I hadn’t pushed for it. I wasn’t trying. I hadn’t even asked WELCOA if I could present or told them I was interested. I had simply put my intention on paper.
And my calling found me.
I was asked to speak about eating in a way that was refreshing, non-prescriptive, and welcoming. I couldn’t believe my dream was becoming a reality.
I knew I needed to keep the message simple yet compelling. I wanted to invite people to be curious about food and their bodies, not to judge them or “tell” them what to do. One of my goals and life missions is to reframe the conversation around food to move away from fear, shame, guilt and judgement and toward something that is inspiring, empowering, uplifting, positive, encouraging and supportive.
As I geared up for the presentation, my dad, who is one of my greatest mentors in business and life, sent me this image because he knows how significant the symbol of a butterfly has been to me lately.
I had to let that one soak in.
What if he was right?
What if it was true?
What if I was ready?
As I transitioned from, “I think I can/ Can I really?/ Why me?/ Who am I to do this?” to “I’ve got this/ I can do it/ I was born for this!” in the days leading up to the presentation, a sense of peace came over me.
Reading this passage from my devotional two days before my presentation was all the assurance I needed to know I would be given what I needed to do what I was called to do. I couldn’t help but feel as though the words had been written just for me:
I was humbled and encouraged by what I read.
“You have no reason to be afraid, Rachel.”
“I’ve got you.”
The morning of the presentation, I opened a gift and card from my husband, Bill, who knows my heart better than anyone. It was just the lift I needed to start the day. Another butterfly…and a pretty awesome card.
It was as though everything and everyone around me was supporting me, lifting me up, and speaking truth to me.
In that moment, I knew I was ready.
As I approached the stage on Tuesday morning, my eagerness turned into an adrenaline rush that flooded my body with a powerful surge of energy I couldn’t explain. I could feel the power of the dozens of people who were praying for me and wishing me well back in Baltimore and in that room.
For the next hour, I delivered a message of hope, encouragement and life to a room of nearly 400 of my peers and colleagues. We had the opportunity to connect, savor, laugh and be transformed by the truth about food.
What a privilege it was, a moment I will never forget.
I felt so alive.
I truly felt like the best, most authentic version of myself and was aligned in every way with the core desired feelings I declared at the beginning of 2016.
When my time was up, I stepped down from the stage, realizing that what I had just done was a challenging but defining step along my journey.
I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, the folks at the Institute for Integrative Health, and my church community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did to prepare me for this moment.
I’m so grateful.
Thank you to everyone at the conference who was kind enough to offer words of affirmation to me throughout the week. That is my #1 love language, so I was honored and humbled by the number of kind and thoughtful things people said. “Authentic,” “captivating,” “inspiring,” and “real.” Your words spoke to my heart and are what I aspire to do and who I strive to be.
One of the questions that excited me most was whether or not I’ve ever considered giving a TED Talk. Yes! Yes, I have. It’s one of the items on my new goal list. I believe it will happen one day, so I will remain open.
I will continue to pursue what makes me feel most alive.
I will surround myself with people who lift me up and speak truth to me.
I will dream even bigger dreams and believe they are possible.
My calling will find me once again, just as yours will find you.
Trust that if you are called, you will be equipped.
All you have to do is be patient, be open and listen.
And be ready for your time to fly.