Dare, Dream, Do

dare-dream-do.jpgWhitney Johnson impresses me in so many ways. She is smart. She is kind. She makes stuff happen. She wears fabulous jackets. And she's probably the only person I have ever talked to who ends conversations with, "So, what can I do for you?" Last year, unbeknownst to me, Whitney played a pivotal role in moving my book dream forward. And now, I'm just beyond thrilled that her book Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream has launched. It was such an honor to help Whitney kick off her book launch last night at Pivot Boston. Read on for some thoughts about this book and what I have realized about my life dreams, as well as to enter to win one of two copies of this awesome book.
About Whitney's book in general, it's probably easiest to share my official quote (that lives inside the book's first pages):

"As a lifelong dreamer, I was immediately intrigued (and even moved to tears) by Whitney Johnson's observations that women feel it isn't their privilege to dram, and that most people don't dream well in isolation. In this book, Johnson inspires a shift in mindset to resolve these two problems. She makes a case for the importance of dreaming and equips readers with the reflective fodder to identify their dreams and bring them to fruition via elegant prose, insightful questions, community-driven stories, and Johnson's own intriguing personal history. Whether you're trying to identify your dream, forge a new path, or confirm that you're on the right one, Dare, Dream, Do will inspire you to rock your personal space and also think beyond it -- whether that means paying it forward, creating collaborative teams, or showing your children how to dream."

Probably not surprisingly (per Asian stereotypes), my parents dreamed for all of their seven kids to become doctors or lawyers. None of us really hit that mark, with the exception that I became a doctor of philosophy, not medicine. As an undergraduate, my dream was to become a professor and my parents seemed pleased enough with this noble profession, despite the fact that I could neither prescribe drugs nor offer free legal counsel.

However, about seven years ago, when I found myself miserable in academia and my priorities changed with baby Laurel in our lives and my dad's health plunging rapidly, my dreams had clearly shifted. I wasn't exactly sure how to make things happen, by my new dream was to be my own boss and find joy and creativity in every day -- for my working hours to be worth it if I was going to work at all. And though I was determined to leave academia on my own terms, at some level I still did wonder whether I would disappoint my parents and their dream for me. What can I say, I've apparently got some traditional Korean daughter in me.

But my parents -- two people who had worked incredibly hard to forge the American dream for their family and who had drilled the importance of academics into me and my siblings from very early on (we used to have to drop and do 10 push-ups for every vocabulary word missed when my Dad tested us) -- surprised me. When I told my Mom I was going to leave academia and see if I could make things happen in the unknown (to me at the time) world of freelancing, she said, "All I want for you is happiness." And when I told my Dad, who passed away not too much longer after our conversaton, he paused, cleared his throat, and slowly said in his thick accent, "You know, I really think you would be a great diplomat. Or the first Korean-American talk show host."

Though I know my life is my own, I can't help but feel comfort in the ultimate merging of my and my parents' dreams for my life. I am my own boss. I have achieved happiness. I am joyful and creative every day. And incidentally, I employ diplomatic tactics more often than I could have imagined in my professional life. And the talk show host thing? Well, I came close when I hosted Life.Style with Christine Koh and we'll just have to see what happens from here on in.

I hope you will read Whitney's book. You will be inspired to hone in on your dreams. And to bring them to fruition. Look for Dare, Dream, Do at bookstores nationwide, as well as at online retailers such as Amazon, B&N, Indiebound.

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Congrats to winners Beth and Ellen!
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Now, want to be one of two lucky winners to receive a copy of Dare, Dream, Do? I was fortunate to pick up a couple of extra copies after Pivot Boston last night! Here's how:


  • Simply e-mail contests@bostonmamas.com with "Dare, Dream, Do" in the subject by noon EST Friday, May 11, 2012.

  • One entry per person (please do not enter off multiple e-mail accounts).

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    *Two lucky winners (drawn randomly via Random.org) will receive a copy of Dare, Dream, Do. The winners will be notified directly via e-mail and listed back at this post using first name only.