I just published my first book. After months of hard work brainstorming, editing and continually searching for the best words, it seems surreal that my book is completed and ready to be shared. I made the commitment to write a book after my grandmother passed away at 96 a few years ago, and I trust that she is looking down on me with a smile on her face and whispering, “I told you that you could do anything you put your mind to.” A huge shout out to my parents for their endless motivation and mad editing skills along with Mike, many of my friends and mentors that have encouraged me along the way and contributed to the book in so many ways.

Now, I am sure you are wondering what this book is all about.

Remember when you were a child and were told that you couldn’t do something? Hearing those words fueled your desire to do it even more. As we get older, we tend to take those words personally and fall victim to believing that we are not smart enough or that we do not have the right skills.

I can remember back to when I launched a nonprofit at the age of 18 and almost every corporation and foundation that I approached for partnership told me practically the same thing…I didn’t have the experience or skills to run a nonprofit.

Rather than feeling defeated, I let their words feed my desire to make a change in my community and grew more and more motivated to prove them wrong. And I did along with college and high school students demonstrating that young people are leaders today, sparking change in their schools and communities often without ever being recognized for their efforts.

Tell Me I Can’t…and I Will is a book of reflections on what I have learned thus far on my leadership journey with the goal of inspiring others with my words and calls to action. It is a challenge to anyone seeking to discover their purpose in life and the motivation to pursue that purpose and passion.

Despite our age, it’s time to stand up with confidence and tune out the naysayers. The authenticity that you bring to life at school, at work and in your relationships is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others. It will propel you towards your dreams and convince you to rise up when you fall. It is time to stop standing behind our fear of rejection and failure and start being open, honest and willing to expose the rawest form of you to the world around you.

Stand still and you will go nowhere. If change is what you are after, then you must spark a movement in your mind that is energized by your heart and soul.

Join me in declaring, “Tell me I can’t, and I will.”