Debra Swersky
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The You Today

It was my third Wednesday morning at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC). I had claimed my seat for 1 Million Cups and was about to introduce myself to one of the other event attendees. As I approached her to ask if she had ever been to 1 Million Cups before she said, “I have and you’re the one who asks all of the really good questions at these things.” I was dumbstruck. Me? I mean… Of course! Yes, that’s me.

While living in Boston I had lots of jobs, I attended tons of events, and I took copious notes. Through it all I believe that each experience I had in life shaped the way that I approached my transition to Dallas, my future. That said, the people that I worked with every day in Boston got to know me. They got to know the type of work that I did, my quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and where I was a little rough around the edges. More often than not, and unfortunately so, they didn’t take the extra moment to recognize the progress that I made over time to smooth out the edges. They watched me “grow up” and felt like they already knew me.

After moving to Dallas I read “The Miracle Morning” and happened upon the following quote, “Where you are is the result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment on.” As I took my seat at 1 Million Cups that Wednesday I thought about that quote… but where I go depends entirely on who I choose to be from this moment on.

When I left High Start Group last year I started to make some big life decisions for my personal and professional development: Where was I going in life? What did I want to work on? Why did I want to work on it? Who did I want to work with and why? How and when did I want to work? As I sat on my loveseat earlier this year, day after day, typing away, I answered these questions for myself. I created and “found my why” and started a non-profit, IDEA for Africa. I started paying attention to the times of day where I can be most effective, and how and when and where. Most importantly, I got myself out of my comfort zone (OOMCZ!) and found books and resources that I enjoyed reading and working with and sharing with others.

Upon moving to Dallas I felt the luxury of repositioning my storyline and pitching the “Today Debra” and not “the Debra that you watched grow up.” It’s refreshing and is one of the neatest parts of moving communities… Yes, I recognize that it’s a luxury.

Hal Elrod of “The Miracle Morning” also popularized Jim Rohn’s quote, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” Though initially confusing to me, I’ve interpreted this quote to mean that you probably won’t naturally succeed at what you want to do unless you practice (personally develop), because success is something that you achieve by becoming the person that you practice being. Hal refers to the concept as “level 10 success.”

So, here’s the deal, though I’d love for everyone to experience moving cities… or move to Dallas, I think that you can reposition yourself - whether it’s at your current company, or for a job interview, or in a market that you’re pursuing, or in life - to better represent yourself as you currently are instead of holding yourself back because people know you as the person that you were. 

Debra Swersky