I’ve realized how essential it is to surround yourself by both people you can learn from and that can learn from you, so joining Entrepreneur’s Organization in July 2018 was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.  In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to attend their events and be surrounded by extremely positive and inspirational people.  It’s the kind of energy that pushes you to create a plan to live the life you want and work hard to conquer your dreams.  This is constantly reinforced after attending an EO event, going to my monthly EO forum meetings, or simply taking the time to sit down and get to know another member in EO.  I had been searching for a group of like-minded people and now I feel like I’ve found an extremely solid one!

Three years ago, I finished the 10KSB business program which was the first of many things that pushed me out of my comfort zone.  It made me take a critical look at Shop4ties and ask myself what kind of business I wanted to run, who I wanted to be surrounded by, and how would I go about finding my purpose both personally and professionally.  After completing that program, I spent a year networking and getting to know people.  I set up coffees, lunches, and dinners; I went to various events; I even hosted some events of my own.  It was an incredible year and I met so many amazing people. I also exhausted myself: I’m not only a business owner but I also have my home life and kids, and they require a whole different level of energy.  It came to a point where I was done with running all over the city and trying to be everywhere and nowhere.  I asked a friend to recommend the single best business/personal decision he’d made, and he said to go join EO!  It’s been a year now and I’m grateful for that conversation.  In the time I’ve been involved in EO, I’ve gotten an ROI that doesn’t have a price attached to it.

Two weeks ago, I attended the mid-year EO board retreat in Milwaukee and spent the day with many inspirational entrepreneurs.  We brainstormed ways to better the EO Chicago chapter: making EO more diverse, increasing the percentage of female membership, and making sure the chapter provides the best value possible to its members.  It was inspiring to watch this group of busy entrepreneurs voluntarily spend their precious time and energy towards creating an environment where members can grow, learn and become the best versions of themselves.  How could one not want to be a part of something this?

I had many interesting conversations learning both about people’s successes and failures in both their personal and professional lives.  It was “real” talk, not surface level, and it isn’t always about a success story.  Everyone was willing to share and after attending that year of events and coffees, I realize this is something special and isn’t the norm.  I am someone who wants to dig deep quickly in “real” life conversations and for this reason, I’ve feel like I’ve found my niche with EO.  EO allows me to be me and be in an environment where this is both fostered and encouraged.  I feel excited about life’s journey and I attribute a good portion of this to the people I am choosing to surround myself with and who inspire me to constant elevate to live the life I want to live!