When I was a little girl, my dad gave me a bookmark.
On the face of it, it wasn’t anything remarkable. Just a white piece of cardstock with a lime green tassel. In fact, I probably would have forgotten about it by now if not for what happened next.
Shortly after giving me the bookmark, my dad was killed in a plane crash. Just like that, the four little words printed on the front of it — Dare to be different! — made up the last piece of advice I would ever get from him.
So at only 10 years old, I committed my life to following that advice.
Fueled by the knowledge that life is unpredictably fleeting, I began to live a daringly different life, consistently pushing myself out of my comfort zone to go for my biggest dreams.
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Illustration of my dad by his best golfing buddy Randy Booth.
Sure, that’s resulted in a few haircuts that weren’t worth the risk and more than a few regrettable outfit choices, but it’s also led to some once-in-a-lifetime experiences like working for multiple multi-million dollar companies, a US Senator, NFL team and even — *pinch me* — the Super Bowl!
After a decade in corporate sales and marketing passed, I dared to leave that path behind to design a career that allows me to share my experience while pursuing my passions and purpose.
While that move was admittedly terrifying, it has rewarded me with even more pinch-me-moments like speaking to audiences across the country, becoming an Entrepreneur™ Leadership Network Writer and having a viral video featured in USA Today. (Cheers to a life where sipping wine and singing on camera is considered a good day’s work!) And that brings us to the moral of this whole story…
At merely 10 years old I learned the importance of making the most of the time you are given. The following decades have taught me that while it’s not always easy, it’s always worth it to step out of your comfort zone and into your full potential.
I’m here to help you do just that.
Lauren Pasqualone is founder and chief test subject of The Awkward Project, a real-time experiment to find out just how much a person can achieve by getting out of their comfort zone. When she’s not testing expert advice and science-backed strategies on herself, the corporate marketer turned keynote speaker, writer and business coach is empowering audiences across the country to step out of their comfort zones and into their full potential using the insights and systems she’s developed from her research.
Lauren is an Entrepreneur™ Leadership Network Writer. Her professional experience includes roles in leadership, management, marketing and sales with notable organizations like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Super Bowl, a National Historic Landmark and more. She holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing & Management Communications and a bachelor’s in communications from Florida State University. Lauren lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband — the Traveling Esquire — and their 11-year-old daughter.
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