I grew up as an almost-only child, with one brother 10 years younger and another brother 20 years younger (he was born 9 months after I got married. I’ve never really gotten over the weirdness of that).
I think my mother wanted me to be pretty, popular and graceful. Like her. Instead, I was a big, gangly kid with a few close friends, who jokingly called me “Grace.” I liked being alone with my books–lots and lots of books–as many as I could carry home from the library every week. I studied hard. I got good grades. I went to college, and got a good job as an engineer. And, I hated it. I felt like a little part of me died every day I went to work. I wondered, at 22, looking at all the older engineers around me stooped over their desks, if this was as good as it got.
So, then I did something completely different. My husband and I built a large direct-selling business. I learned a lot about people! I learned that I actually liked interacting with people. I just wasn’t very good at it. Several books, seminars and “No’s” later, I started to figure people out.
Then the kids came along and all my energies went into kid-related activities. Playgroup, sports, homeschooling, etc. I was a happy stay-at-home mom for many years until one day my husband called to say he had been let-go. This just happened to be a few days after my terminally ill mother had come to live with us. We also had 3 teenagers.
We bought a business and I started attending networking meetings. I even started giving short talks on business networking. The business floundered with the poor economy, so I took on some odd jobs with the census bureau and as a cognitive skills trainer. I expanded my ability to communicate.
In the fall of 2009, through the encouragement of friends and Toastmasters, I decided to look into becoming a professional speaker. I realized that the area in which I had seen the most personal growth in my life was communication, specifically, the day-to-day small talk.
One year later, I published my first book, Small Talk Big Results: Chit Chat Your Way to Success!