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Whatever your politics or where you live, the hot topic is the 45th United States President Donald Trump and his family. Recently, I read an intriguing Town & Country article about whether President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will actually assume the duties of First Lady. Because Melania Trump is not following the traditional path that is expected as First Lady.

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I most definitely do not follow traditional paths at any time in my life. When I was a young girl, I had a crush on a boy. He was sweet, smart, athletic and very kind. When there was a dance coming up, I asked him to go with me. He turned me down gently, explaining he was not allowed to date yet (we were 11 or 12 years old). Devastated, I picked up my broken heart and carried on.

Countless times I’ve told this story, people (especially of the older generation) asked me if it was a Sadie Hawkins dance. This is the crazy notion that a girl can ask a boy out for that specific type of dance. For the record, it was not a Sadie Hawkins dance. I liked him and wanted to go with him. That’s it. Simple.

No, I did not follow a traditional path. Of course, my dating life did not follow a traditional path either; I’m married to an amazing woman Danielle who is also my business partner.

This leads to my non-traditional career path. When I was 15 years old, I was bedridden due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Sleeping 18 – 22 hours a day was not conducive to the active life I had of school work, volunteering, part-time work and a family life. I quit high school (& everything else basically) to aggressively rest and get healthy again. I wrote my GED when I was around 19 years old in the hope I would eventually be healthy enough to attend college and get a job. But at the time, it was still physically impossible. Basically, this put my life especially my education and career goals on hold. For years.

After years of multiple doctor visits, including at least one hospital stay and psychiatry visits to rule out anything and everything else, my family and I realized this was always going to be part of my life. I’ve experienced many ups and downs with this disease. Until I was 28 years old, I finally was in a position health-wise and in my personal life to get a job.

By the way, I fit in a year of college along the way which included working on the Student Union as Housing Coordinator (another story for another day!). When I started applying for jobs, I had to fight the fact that I was a non-traditional applicant. I had one year of college with virtually no experience. I had to convince employers that I was a good fit and I was not a flakey 18-year-old just out of high school (no offence to 18 year olds!). I was ready to work.

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Due to a contact, I was lucky enough to land a great job working in a home construction office. This job allowed me to grow with the role. They had nothing setup, no office processes and no systems in place to track their jobs except the bookkeeping system. I setup a tracking system, created documented procedures and streamlined the office. After four years, I was beyond this job and ready for more.

I transitioned from this starting position to land a role in a large corporation. At this company, I ignored the traditional path again. When opportunities came up, I went for it. I changed projects, tried different roles and put myself out there. Sometimes those risks worked out, sometimes they did not. Regardless, I built a reputation as an expert on processes, administration and leadership.

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These non-traditional career choices led to where I’m at today. I dreamed of writing all my life. I dreamed of working from home. I dreamed of helping people make their lives better. Today, I work with my wife as a Marketing Strategist and Copywriter in our own home-based business.

You know what? Maybe if I didn’t have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, maybe I would have gotten my college degree when I was 22, gotten married and worked at a corporate job for the past twenty years. While I do not wish Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on anyone, the lessons it’s taught me helped me in more ways than I count.

I do not follow traditional paths. Most of the time this is my choice. Here I am, because of a series of non-traditional choices and a crazy path. I know my path isn’t heading towards being the First Lady and that’s totally okay with me. Now that I’ve found the love of my life, working with her in our home business and writing as part of this business, I’m on the path where I want, correction NEED to be today.

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