Dream big. Be bold. Be both.
It seems simple in principle but many who have found themselves bestowed with the innovator title will tell you becoming a trailblazer, visionary or change maker is no simple task. Locally, however, Cumberland County has its very own case study to share her story.
Lifestyle educator, therapist and international presenter Stephanie Allen is one of 25 contributing authors to Dreaming Big Being Bold: Inspiring Stories From Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers. The opportunity, Allen said, came during a recent seminar in Ontario.
“I speak professionally, so I was at a convention for the Canadian Association for Professional Speakers in Ottawa, and I met a pioneer in this,” Allen said. “Her name is Paula Morand. She actually lived in Moncton for 18 years. Originally from Ontario and she’s since gone back. She is really vivacious and excited about helping people not only live their story but inspire and empower others.”
Following the conference, Morand invited Allen to be of the contributing authors and sharing her own empowering story. The invitation, Allen said, was her first writing assignment but accepting a challenge is nothing new to Allen. When she entered the realm of motivating and encouraging others, she realized if she were to reach a wider audience she would need to take on a role she worried over: public speaking.
“Public speaking is not something I would say comes naturally to me, although my family would say otherwise. When people say their number-one fear is public speaking, I would agree with that… and yet I knew I had to perfect some sort of speaking to have an impact,” Allen said. “You can work with ten people and it will take you ten hours, or I could speak an hour to 10 people and I can do that more easily.”
It was a decision that lead her to be in the right place at the right time to be invited to become a writer.
Now an award-winning instructor and speaker for over two decades, the Amherst-based entrepreneur traveled and found both success and failure abroad before returning to Amherst and turning her life lessons into both a lifestyle and career.
Allen’s story is a familiar East Coast take. Unsatisfied with the workforce locally, she traveled West where she found financial success. Later, finding herself on the wrong side of a calculated risk to the United States detailed in her chapter of Dreaming Big Being Bold, Allen was again faced with rebuilding her fortunes. Instead of being bitter or dismayed, however, she chose to take all the positives she accumulated up until then and make them the foundation of a new journey, one she shares as a speaker and inspiring others to do the same in her contribution.
“It’s my journey to the realization that everything you are actually looking for is right underneath you but we don’t know how to discover it, or we don’t have the clarity or the courage to really go for our dreams,” Allen said. Allen is making a donation of her book the Cumberland Libraries’ Four Fathers Memorial Library in Amherst, and copies will be available through her company’s website www.gatewaydevelopment.ca.
A Kindle version is available through online retail giant Amazon.