Charisse…where do I start with Charisse? So many memories come to mind. The first time I saw Charisse’s beautiful smile was when she applied for the SOAR! Scholarship in 2009. She did not win that year, but she didn’t give up. Months later, she attended our San Fransisco CONFIDENCE Workshop. I still remember her raising her hand and asking how it was possible to pursue your own dreams without taking from your family’s needs. What a beautiful, authentic, heartfelt question. Charisse is a kindred homeschooling mom. With how much time homeschool and regular family life takes, it’s easy to wonder how more time can be carved out for other pursuits…especially your own dream building pursuits. But when the second year of SOAR! started, Charisse applied again.
This was her submission video.
Fast forward to September 2011. I’m in Sacramento for our CONFIDENCE Workshop, and I invite Charisse to second shoot my Minis the day before. She has been working hard every week at the SOAR! Scholarship Program for nine months. She has faced some of her deepest fears in the business coaching calls. And she has dared to look beyond her assumed limitations. Charisse has done the “heavy lifting” work of building a dream all year long. I’m eager to sit face to face with her and ask where she finds herself.
What she said brought me to tears. She told me, with firm conviction in her eyes, that she now believes she can build her dreams…she really believes it. Her dreams are hers for the taking. She knows she has what it takes and this doesn’t take from her family, it gives to her family. When mama follows her dreams, everyone learns how to dream along with her. Spending the year following her dreams, working hard at it every week, has not only transformed her but the whole family. wow…
What Charisse said is the heart of SOAR!. Whether our SOAR! Recipients have a photography business in ten years is not the issue. My vision was that SOAR! would empower women to know they were capable and worthy of all they desire. When a woman knows she is worthy of her dreams and takes action, not only is she lifted up but also the world around her. Charisse is a living testimony of this.
Here are a few words from Charisse…
Whew, what a year. It is hard to believe that it is already over. It has been a full one at that! A year ago, Linda Baylis & Genie Ohashi were walking up to my doorstep with a pink box and a video camera. What a surprise it was. I have met so amazing people during this year. I have made and fulfilled many goals. I have learned a lot about myself that I had not realized before. And yes, during this process, I have also fallen short of my mark on occasion. However, this year was not about perfection, but about growth. Growth as a person, growth as a business woman, growth in my artistic pursuits and growth in my role of a mom who can also pursue her dreams without fear. Okay…maybe not without fear, but definitely having a better vehicle with which to circumvent those fears and not let them get in my way.
Along the way, my creative eye has grown along with new desires of accomplishments yet to be made and challenges still to be taken on. However, during the process of this last year, I have participated in some art shows, hung my images in a public venue and got paid for my work along the way. While this fantastic year with the SOAR! Scholarship has come to a close, many new doors are opening as we speak. The biggest door that has opened is the door to my personal dreams. I want to thank SOAR for not only enhancing my photographic toolbox, but for helping this homeschool mama see that it’s okay to color outside the lines again.
If there is anything that I would encourage you to do after having this year with SOAR, it would be to set your own expectations and strive to meet only that. Others will often have an opinion of who you are, where you should be in your business, or what you are capable of. In reality, only you really know. Live and dream authentically. Stay true to yourself and give generously. It will come back to you in more ways than you know. I hope we meet again either in the SOAR forum, Soarority on Facebook or on my blog. It has been a pleasure taking this journey with you all.
Dream it … Own it.
With incredible pride and joy, on behalf of all the SOAR! Partners and community, I launch Charisse Rhodes to SOAR! with her dreams!
Charisse, it is a honor to call you friend and be a witness to your inspiring journey. We celebrate you today!
Your Cheerleaders Forever!
Me Ra, Brian, Wendy and this awesome community!
*I invite all of you to leave a comment of encouragement, love, celebration, wisdom…or all the above, in celebration of Charisse today!