I’ve been reflecting back on experiences that patterned the way I have decided to live my life. And I’ve decided to share some of those life lessons. When I was 18, in between graduating from high school and meeting my future husband, I took a trip to Hong Kong with my uncle and aunt. My uncle was working in import/export and took me along on one of his business trips. Growing up in a small town I didn’t have a lot of experience with big cities, especially ones as populated as Hong Kong! But on my first afternoon, we were busily weaving through a sea of people in the streets when I stopped to catch my breath and nearly started to cry. I was just so overwhelmed. My aunt, who I must add has made the decision (along with most her children) to no longer speak to me, said one of the most profound things I’ve ever had said to me. When I replied I can’t do it, she looked me in the eye and said “This is life. And you have to decide if you’re going to be a leader or a follower.” I made it through the streets of Hong Kong and ended up having the most amazing vacation of my life. I returned home, met Todd, and started a new life. And as I’ve learned to navigate though moving to other big cities, infertility, and other obstacles, her words have chimed in my mind many times in the last 20 years. I’ve always tried to be a leader because of those words, and I think being a leader has given me amazing opportunities. So even though we no longer have a relationship, I’d like to thank my Aunt Dee for this life lesson! So next time you find yourself in a situation that overwhelms you, ask yourself one question: Are you a leader or a follower?