Contributed by Stephanie Goetsch — HerExchange.com, Founder & Editor
I passionately love green tea in the morning, Dairy Queen Blizzards and fast-food. I’m a passionate friend and daughter, dedicated and loyal. I have been passionate about love, falling in and out. I’m passionate about white wine and long conversations with inspirational people. I’m full of passion!
But my heart belongs to business – my business; my love, my addiction, my dedication – my passion. Let me tell you how it happened…
In 1999 I entered college, ready to party and perhaps learn something now and again. That was until I entered a history class that changed me and how I saw the world around me. Stories of the past resonated with me, came to life in my mind and I thirsted to hear more. I got more when I joined my professor and a small group of classmates as we journeyed to Alabama – from Wisconsin – to collect oral histories from the foot soldiers of the 1960s civil rights movement. One by one, I participated in interviews with women that rocked me – their courage, conviction and strength. I didn’t know it at the time, but with each interview a spark was ignited, I was one step closer to passion.
Years passed, I walked the graduation stage and began a career in Corporate America. I entered a life of ‘9-5’, cubicles and squelched creativity – it wasn’t working. In fact, I was brutally unhappy. Where had my passion gone, my light? I lost it. I climbed the corporate ladder, received praise and raises, but to no avail. I knew that I wasn’t leading my best life; I was wasting time, precious days that I could not get back in a life that didn’t fit. But what was the right fit? I didn’t know.
Prayer and faith were my solace and lifeline. The bleaker my days seemed, the more I prayed and thanked God in advance for passion to be restored to my life – to be flooded with joy. I couldn’t see what it would be, the magical something that would bring me back to life. I couldn’t see, that is, until I could.
It was February 6th, 2009 about 5:00 PM. I had just finished another day at the office and hit the gym. I was at the gym – not to clear my head so much as to counteract the delicious fast food I had for lunch – either way, I was putting in a good run on the treadmill. BAM! I pushed the emergency stop button on the treadmill. What was that?! Clear and stark, my future washed over me. I saw, without question, an online community for women called HerExchange. Title, colors, look, feel and most importantly purpose were complete in me – in an instant. I was alive, in an instant. Passion I have never known, in an instant. Prayers answered, in an instant.
Over the next year, I fought like hell to bring my vision to life through business partnerships gone bad, disappointments and frustration. I dug deep and found strength I didn’t know I had; I discovered just how broad my shoulders were – they could carry a load. I was experiencing the passion and determination I had been praying for and I forged ahead for more.
Passion for me is HerExchange, my online lifestyle magazine created for women to share, connect and inspire. I now spend my days running and growing my business. I also spend my days interviewing successful and empowering women – hearing and sharing their stories. It is my greatest hope that every woman feels welcome, appreciated and motivated when she visits HerExchange. My greatest opportunity is to create a legacy of women inspired to be their best in my wake.
Two months after launching HerExchange, I quit my stable, consistent (hellish) job in Corporate America to dedicate myself to my passion. The leap could have been frightening – some days it was scary as hell – but I rode a wave of faith like the best surfer in the ocean. Light and passion had finally emerged and I will not let go.
It wasn’t until after HerExchange launched that I told my family about my decision to leave my previous job, and my income, behind. After swallowing her fears for my future, my mother – an admirable woman full of kindness and courage – reminded me of my childhood days always spent with a tape recorder in hand. I would chase down every member of my family, day after day, interviewing them: “Tell me about that make-up you’re wearing” or “I see you’re making cookies, describe the process.” I drove everyone crazy! If only I had connected the past to my present years ago! But, come to think of it, I needed each step in the journey to be here – strong, focused and passionate, stepping into to create my legacy.
Today, I wake up with purpose. I work long hard days, but oh, it’s so good!