This is a question we have been asked hundreds of times so here goes…
“I promised to make twenty-five “remember kindergarten” scrapbooks for the kids in the class and they are due tomorrow. Can you come over and help me?” pleads Patty.
That is a huge project and I have my own to do so, I volley-back with, “Well, if I do, can you help me paint my gazebo?”
Immediately with desperation in her voice, Patty responds, “Of course, what time can you come over?”
The books went over well, all the kids and especially their parents we thrilled. Now it was time to hit the gazebo, it took six hours and two coats to cover the very absorbent wood and that left us a lot of time to talk.
We talked about this and that, mostly our kids, but it was during that time Patty shared her dream of creating a doll company.
Fast forward almost a decade, now the kindergartners are high schoolers, and we are having dinner with several college friends. The men of the group splintered off to reminisce about old sporting triumphs and girlfriends, while we were left to talk about our future goals.
Patty shared a disturbing Oprah show she saw featuring a young girl who was actually eating paper so that she wouldn’t gain weight. I countered back with my own experience of a kindergartener crying because the other girls said she was fat.
That story segued into Patty bringing up wanting to start a company that produces positive role-model dolls. She actually attended the now defunct, IDEX show in Florida and found a wonderful designer that would make a clay scaled prototype composite of several, college age girls.
She asked me to join her and I told her I’d sleep on it, and let her know tomorrow. That night I remembered an article I read somewhere that said when you are looking to live a purpose driven life at work, one of the keys is to look no further than your own childhood dreams.
Thinking back to my childhood; I loved dinosaurs, miniatures, swinging on the swing set and I had an obsession with dolls. BINGO!!
I called her the next day to join her in her quest to change the way people think about dolls. We created play dolls that were not just used as a plaything but used as a teaching tool for positive body image, finance, and future goal setting.
The road to getting our product to market has been a huge challenge; we call it the roller coaster because of all the ups and downs we have endured. However, nothing is as satisfying as seeing your idea turned into a reality.
Have your chosen to follow your dream? Tell me your story in the comments.
University of Chicago