Debra Swersky
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Journal

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$500. Laptop. Go.

Let’s rewind a minute. I get that a lot of people at this time send out their “end of year mashups.” To an extent, this is “one of those”… but it’s not. I’m rewinding because I found myself sitting down with the same person that I had been sitting down with at this exact same time last year. But this year the conversation was totally different. 

One year ago I was sitting down with my boss to give my two weeks notice. I had my resignation letter prepared, my shpeel memorized, and my next steps only marginally solidified. Coincidentally, one year ago, the love of my life and I had decided that the offer letter that he had received from his interview in Dallas would suffice to give us a reason to pack our bags and head South. To think that I would be back in Boston (visiting!) and chatting with my former boss one year from that moment was not a thought that could have crossed my mind…

The year-in-review in 100-words ==> IDEA for Africa became a registered 501(c)(3). We recruited a Board, became the hosts for GEW/Rwanda, and hired an employee. I spent six months developing, testing, and planning my personal/professional move to Dallas. Graduated from Babson. Lead (coached, mentored, and trained) a consulting team of four girls in Rwanda. Fell in love with my newborn nephew. Moved to Dallas. Took the honeymoon that “was never going to happen” to Australia and New Zealand. Officially launched my personal brand in the DFW start-up community. Bought a house. Secured my first contract. And now I’m in Boston, visiting. <== Actually 100-words.

How was the conversation different this year? (Ha!) For one, I was way less anxious. But, more importantly, we were talking about the work that we are respectively doing and having a very intelligent conversation that didn’t involve employer-related nonsense. If anything, we were thinking about how to work together! 

How did I get here? Well, I flew to Houston, ran through the airport to catch my connection, and then sat on a delayed plane head to Boston. (Not kidding.) But really, I answered the question from Entrepreneur On Fire’s Lightning Round: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world that was identical to earth, but you knew no one, you still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have, your food and shelter... taken care of. All you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7-days? Day-in-and-day-out, seven days a week, for months straight last year I listened to EoFire. I heard this question every single day. And every day I worked on my response…

So, $500. Laptop. Go… in 100-words ==> I focused on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At all times I was comfortable with how I was “physically” presenting myself (sneakers and all). I kept all my resources in the “safe” zone. (Including finances… but became way more conservative.) Made use of the laptop to identify communities of like-minded individuals who could benefit from my “belonging.” Tested them in Boston (the CIC and Impact Hub) and then joined them in Dallas (the DEC and The Grove). And now I spend a lot of my time trying to “self-actualize” in an attempt to build my confidence and “self-esteem.” <== Actually 100-words.

And that is my “year in review”… which means I get a head start on 2016! Right?

Debra Swersky