June R. Jewell, author of Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profit in Your Architectural, Engineering, Environmental FirmIn our world of singing competitions, high paid celebrities and athletes, and reality shows, many of us evaluate our own talent as if we are on the stage, and being judged. We label ourselves based on our perceptions of how capable we are, and compare ourselves to others. But you don’t have to be a well-known celebrity or on TV to feel like you have been successful. You just need to embrace your own successes, and feel proud of your ability to reach a goal. If you are passionate enough, you can achieve anything you decide to pursue!

I never considered myself athletic; in truth, it was the opposite of that. While I worked out at a gym, I had never competed in team sports, and every time I tried a new sport like tennis, I felt inferior and quit. One day at age 43, someone challenged me to run a half marathon, and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their Team in Training program.  My first thought was, “I am not an athlete – I can’t do this.” I had never even run a 5K! Somehow I got the courage to take the first steps and sign up. From that point on I became dedicated to accomplishing this goal, and raising money for this cause that I believed in so much. With the support of the amazing Team in Training organization, I ran the Country Music half marathon in April of 2005, and for the first time in my life, I felt like an athlete!

In 2010 I became interested in stained glass mosaic art. I searched around and found a small studio near my home, and started going there every week and learning how to create mosaic art. I felt inferior to the other artists at the studio, many of whom had been formally trained to be artists, and had a talent for design, color, and technique. Everyone at the studio, especially Bonnie Fitzgerald my teacher, was very patient, helpful, and supportive of me as I took classes and learned how to develop my own artistic ability. After just a year, Bonnie had one of my art pieces featured in a local gallery, and someone actually paid $50 for a small piece that I didn’t even like! Finally, I started to feel like an artist.

My real dream for a very long time has been to write a book. While I had written many articles over the years, I knew that I needed to get all of my experience from 24 years of working with Architects, Engineers, and other professional services firms into a manuscript that would help them run their businesses better. I have seen so many companies lose money because of outdated technology, culture problems and bad processes. I knew I could make a positive difference by showing them how to look at their businesses differently, and focus on making improvements in marketing, and resource and project management.

In 2012, I heard about the Write a Book in a Weekend virtual course run by author and book-writing expert, Donna Kozik. I decided to sign up for Donna’s course in September, 2012 to get the first part of my book idea onto paper in one weekend.  I locked myself away for three days, and banged out the outline and first couple chapters of my new book, Find the Lost Dollars. Donna was a great source of expertise, support, and advice, showing me how to improve my technique, and providing a ton of resources on self-publishing and book distribution. There is a lot to learn in this area, and I knew nothing about it when I started. Since then, I have finished my book, and can proudly say that I now consider myself an author. I highly recommend this course, and you can learn more here at my affiliate link.

The point of all of this is that you don’t need to be an Olympian, juried artist, or best-selling author to consider yourself an expert in something. All you really need to do is meet YOUR personal goals, and feel satisfied with your accomplishments and contributions to others. You can decide to be anything that you put your mind to, and your own definition of success is perfectly good enough to call yourself an athlete, artist, author, or any other title that you can imagine.

So what do you want to be?


RAISE Your Value: 5 Steps for Architecture and Engineering Firms to Uncover Hidden Value, Design a Winning Advantage and Charge More

More From the Find the Lost Dollars Blog...

How to Measure Your Culture

How to Measure Your Culture

Culture is a term that is tossed around quite a lot and used many different ways. While culture can mean a lot of things, it is often considered “squishy” and not measurable. Companies set goals to change their culture and then struggle to determine if they have been...

10 Challenges to Bringing Employees Back to the Office

10 Challenges to Bringing Employees Back to the Office

In my Monday afternoon AEC Crisis Roundtable, I hear similar stories of confusion, anxiety and dismay. The Covid-19 pandemic has created many challenges, among the most complex being how to bring employees back into the office. One leader, Rich, summarized the problem...