But what really inspires and keeps me going are the private messages I receive reminding me of the power of words to help someone overcome a problem, or to find the courage to reach beyond circumstances to pursue a dream.
Most people who know me understand that I’m far more comfortable doing my thing behind the scenes, which is why I initially attempted to beg off when fellow blogger Julie Gorges contacted me to let me know she’d nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
Obviously I relented, and in large part because Julie herself is such an inspiration. She is the mastermind behind the blog Baby Boomer Bliss and has been writing professionally for more than 20 years. Julie is the author of three books, has written hundreds of articles and short stories for national and regional magazines, and won three journalism awards.
So, a big thank-you Julie! It is indeed an honor to receive this award.
What does inspiration mean to you?
The basic definition of inspiration is a person, place or experience that makes someone want to do or create something.
But there is no one-size-fits-all formula for inspiration. What inspires you can just as easily leave someone else bored to tears, which is why we all have such different reactions to self-help, motivation and personal development advice. But for those of us who aspire to make a difference in the lives of others, there really is only one way to measure our effectiveness, and that’s if someone is moved enough to take action.
I want to be the writer who inspires people to reach beyond “comfortable” to become the best possible version of themselves. ~Marquita Herald
Which led me to my first challenge. Recipients are asked to share at least 5 things about themselves that most people don’t know. I’m a pretty private person so there was plenty to work with; the tricky part was choosing tidbits to share that wouldn’t put readers into a coma in the process. So I decided to answer the most frequently asked questions I receive which have to do with how I ended up where I am and doing what I’m doing.
5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me
1. How I came to focus on resilience.
I grew up a Southern California Introvert obsessed with two things, art and sports – archery, gymnastics, diving and (do NOT laugh please!) synchronized swimming. Home life was … challenging. There were a variety of issues, including substance abuse. In spite of efforts to keep the family secrets behind closed doors the trolls were ever present and relentlessly bullied me throughout high school. Collectively, these early experiences spawned my passion for understanding and developing emotional resilience.
2. How I came to move to Hawaii.
My #1 most frequently asked question is how I ended up living in Hawaii. The short answer is my ex-husband. We were still newlyweds and I was busy working on a degree in commercial art. His friends had caught Hawaii fever and one-by-one began moving to Maui. They sent back glowing stories about paradise so he talked me into taking a 2 week vacation to visit them, and then began applying pressure to join the exodus. Eventually gave in, quit school and we packed up and moved here. At this point I’ve lived in Maui much longer than I did on the mainland so I consider it “officially” to be my home turf.
3. How I “faked” my way into a career in travel.
A week after moving to the Island I was sitting on the beach in Wailea wondering what I was going to do to make a living when I became fascinated with the construction of what was to be the Inter-Continental Resort. And just like that a dream was born, “One day I’m going to work there and maybe even get to travel to the other Islands!” That I had no experience in either travel or hotels was a minor blip in the plan, I was determined to find a way, so when I saw an ad for secretary to the resident manager of a resort condo complex I jumped at the chance to get some experience under my belt. The position required shorthand. I had no clue how to do that, but I wanted the job bad enough I was willing to try and fake it since the manager said there really wouldn’t be a lot of dictation. When I showed up for work just 2 days later I learned the man who’d hired me had been fired and the head of the condo board would be my boss until a new manager was hired. I knew I was in trouble on the first day because he dictated 8 letters and while I kept up pretty well in the beginning, by the 6th letter I could barely read my scribbles and I struggled half the night trying to transcribe my notes.
And so it went for the next week until one day he called me into his office, closed the door and then proceeded to declare that it was pretty obvious I did not know how to take shorthand. There was a long moment of silence and I thought “Oh, for heaven’s sake just get it over and fire me already!” and began to stand to make my dramatic exit. Then he did something totally unexpected – he smiled and motioned for me to sit and said, “Here’s the thing. Since you write so much better than I do, how about from now on I just give you the gist of what I want to say and you take it from there?” And that was the beginning of my 20 year career in the travel industry.
My life motto: You CAN, you SHOULD, and if you’re BRAVE enough … you WILL!
4. How I became a road warrior for the Hawaii travel industry.
This is another popular question, I suppose because of the romantic lure of being able to travel the world on someone else’s dime. I worked for the resort condo for about 6 months, but my primary mission remained finding a way to work at the Inter-Continental Hotel (IHC) which had just opened on the other end of the Island. When I saw a job posting for secretary to the resident manager at the IHC, even though it paid substantially less, I jumped at the opportunity because that was where I really wanted to be. I got the job and before long moved up to administrative assistant to the general manager and then assistant to the Vice President of Hotel Development. Great job and pay, tons of perks, but I wanted a career and to travel so I set my sights on sales.
Again, no experience, but the company had an executive training program that was a direct path to becoming a sales manager. The problem was that it required a college degree in travel industry management, but I wasn’t going to let that minor technicality stop me so I began hounding everyone from the hotel manager to the area vice president to give me a shot. They kept saying no, I kept quitting, they kept refusing my resignation, my friends (and then husband) all told me I was crazy, but I kept at it and eventually I got the ear of the V.P. of Human Relations, she pulled a few strings and I was accepted into the training program, with one provision. I had to keep working my full time job while I was going through training.
It was grueling and everyone (and I do mean everyone) expected me to quit, but instead I finished the 12 month program (with honors) in 10 months and was rewarded with a sales manager position and my choice of sales territory. The best part was that based on my success the company changed their policy and opened the training program to all employees based on their work performance and related experience rather than limiting the opportunity to only those with a travel industry degree.
And that’s how I fulfilled the dream that was born while sitting on the beach in Wailea, except instead of Island hopping, over the next 20 years I traveled to 50 out of 51 states in the U.S., and throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
5. How I made the transition from travel industry to coaching and writing.
While it was a blessing to have had such a rewarding career in travel, eventually the time came to reinvent myself – again. I’d lived in Maui for a couple of decades and I was more than ready to stick around and enjoy it for a change. Business management and developing training programs had become a big part of my job toward the end of my time in travel so when the opportunity presented itself to work from home as a small business coach it felt like the logical next step in my life journey.
It didn’t take long before I had hundreds of clients – many first time entrepreneurs – but they were spread across 3 Islands which made providing one-on-one training and support an ongoing challenge. So I developed a variety of training materials, set up my first website and began offering online courses and a forum for people to connect with others on the same journey. One recurring theme caught my attention, and that was how to manage the stress and strain of building a business while balancing family life. I created a course on developing emotional resilience for entrepreneurs that took off and the positive feedback led to my first book, Stepping Stones to Emotional Resilience.
That book led to more books and my first blog, and a year ago this month, the launch of Emotionally Resilient Living. But this is only the beginning and plans for this year include 4 new books and launching the Pathways to Resilient Living Learning Center.
Thanks again Julie, for your kind words, support and for the honor of joining the ranks of those who have received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! And to those who took the time to read this lengthy post, if there is one thing you take from my experiences, I hope it will be that no matter what your circumstances may be in life, if you want something bad enough – and are willing to work for it – you can make your dreams a reality.
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.