Yesterday we announced the first three winners of the Share Your Epiphany contest. To help share their inspiring tales, here are the final two winning epiphanies in their entirety. Glen Weinzimer (Hollywood, Florida) donated $5,000 to The SMART Ride and Alissa Magrum (Austin, Texas), who donated $5,000 to Colin’s Hope.
CLIF Bar was born on a bike in 1990 during a 175-mile ride in Northern California on which Clif Bar & Company Founder and Co-CEO Gary Erickson had “the epiphany” that he could make a better tasting energy bar. Two years later the first CLIF Bars hit the market and the company was off and running. This past spring, we celebrated our 20th anniversary by asking people to submit their own epiphanies for the Share Your Epiphany contest. We selected five winners who each awarded $5,000 from us to the nonprofit of their choice in their name.
Tell Us About Your Epiphany
March 2010. Austin, Texas. I was a mom and charity athlete working 60 hours a week for an amazing cause (drop-out prevention) and organization (Communities In Schools of Central Texas), but something just didn't feel right. Something was missing. I was not fulfilled in my work life AND my body was injured. The Epiphany trigger was an MRI showed a torn left hip labrum and I was scheduled for hip surgery that would sideline me from running and biking (which is my sanity) for at least 4 months. My salvation: SWIMMING! I was told that I'd be in the water A LOT post-surgery. I am goal driven, so I needed a swimming goal and a goal that was not just about me.
So, I called Colin's Hope – a local water safety and drowning prevention non-profit founded by the parents of Colin Holst, a four-year old who tragically drowned in 2007. I was already a volunteer with the organization. I could swim and raise money for them, so I recruited some friends. We trained all summer, swam 4 miles in Lake Austin and raised $19,000! The Epiphany: After the swim, Colin's dad asked me to leave my very stable, secure and familiar job of 10 years to become the FIRST Executive Director and only staff person for Colin's Hope. I was scared! YET I knew a cliff to jump from to get me onto a new journey – one that would challenge me, excite me and allow me to work for a cause I believed in. Much like Gary's parking lot walk, I made a huge decision because I felt the energy inside me shift. I have now been the ED of Colin's Hope for 1.5 years and WOW! Nothing is perfect but my work is helping to save lives. AND I get to swim A LOT and pass it off as work. Thanks, Clif Bar, for the inspiration.
What Have You Done Since Your Epiphany?
The Epiphany to change the course of my career has been monumental. I have gained and strengthened my leadership skills. I helped catapult a start-up non-profit (and myself) into a HUGE phase of growth. I have proven to myself that opportunities to change yourself and your world will present themselves to you if you are open and if you let them. I know that the Epiphany has impacted me but it has also impacted many others through the work of Colin's Hope. Here is a snapshot of the impact ripples. I swam more than 100 miles to help raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. I have organized swimmers and together we raised over $90,000 for drowning prevention. I have ensured that over 100,000 water safety packets get out to families so that they can keep their children safe around water.
And the money we raised has provided swim lessons to children who could not afford them otherwise. All of that from one decision – the decision to throw the easy and familiar life to the side in exchange for the uncertain and the unfamiliar. How amazing it was to choose to listen to my inner voice and seek out the challenge – ultimately changing my life and the lives of so many others impacted by Colin's Hope.
How Have You Sustained the Spirit of Your Epiphany?
My Epiphany is fueled by my energy, passion and sheer knowledge that I am making a difference. I am powered by the passion of our volunteers and commitment of Colin's parents. I am more self-aware and know how to listen to my inner compass when it says change the course. I have made a pact with myself to always continue growing and reaching for the right thing – even if it is not the easy thing. And that change is sometimes necessary and what we need.