As an elementary school student, my teachers told me I was special, yet I struggled testing into the gifted program. When I was in middle school, teachers did anything and everything to suppress my energetic spirit so I would focus on the mindless busy work they gave us during class.
As a high school student, my dreams to change the world were shoved back in my face by a teacher who was convinced I was the poster-child for “a generation marked by entitlement.” Slowly but surely, I began to submit to the lies and social norms piling up on me until I lost my fever for life and surrendered to conformity.
Throughout my time in high school, the more I tried to conform, the more restless my spirit became. I began to do everything I thought I was supposed to do- do well in school, drink on the weekends with my friends, and serve my community every now and then. However, this translated to- mindlessly getting by in my IB classes, compromising my values, and allowing something I loved to become a chore. All along, I knew there was more, and I still had an inkling that this unhealthy season of conformity would come to an end eventually.
My innate passions began to rise back to the surface and I could finally see glimpses of light in my future. Mind you, I loved every component of business, but entrepreneurship was the one aspect of the business world that did not entice me. Ironically enough, one event led to another, and I began through this class a partnership with Norwegian and Danish students to pursue social entrepreneurship, which ultimately landed me in Bergen, Norway the spring break of my senior year.
While there, I remembered what it felt like to be Regan again- this was the adventure I used to dream of when I allowed my spirit to explore freely as a child. This trip opened doors to opportunities, relationships, and answers that I had been desperately searching for during high school. It was my new Norwegian family who enlightened my eyes to the beauty that can be expressed in serving others through entrepreneurship.
Like science demonstrates, when light floods a room, darkness has no choice but to leave- the experience shined light into the dark place I had been justifying. My spirit woke up, it began to stir violently in my chest, and it flung me into a journey to finally discover who Regan was purposefully created to be.
While there, I met a man who invited me to an entrepreneurship institute during the following summer. Why not go, right? Who knew that would be just another divine arrangement that would draw me closer to where I’m supposed to be. During my time at the Institute, I was trained to teach their entrepreneurship education curriculum and challenged out of my comfort zone in more ways than one.
One of the speakers at the institute was the Director of Entrepreneurship at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia who, towards the end of the week, asked me to be his intern starting that summer. Opportunities to engage in entrepreneurship continued to bombard me, so I finally caved, leaned in, and decided to enjoy the ride.
How? I resolved to always answer, “yes” to every entrepreneurial opportunity that presented itself. All throughout high school all I heard people tell me was “no,” so I decided to transform my life and the lives I encountered by replacing the sea of no’s with a sincere stream of yes’.
At this point in my journey, I’ve discovered being an entrepreneur is like being a hipster. I true hipster would never call themselves or think of themselves as a hipster- they just are. Yet, there are tons of people who try to be hipsters (some being more successful than others). Well, that’s how I see entrepreneurs. Anyone can be an entrepreneur; I really believe that.
However, I also believe that some of us are created to be entrepreneurs. Just like true hipsters, I never wanted to be an entrepreneur or intentionally set out on any entrepreneurial endeavors; it just happened to me, I am an entrepreneur, whether I like it or not. That’s when you know you were created to do something: when it simply happens to you.
I fought being an entrepreneur and I ran from it, too, until I finally decided to embrace it. However, embrace is a weak word for accepting why you were created, it would be more accurate to say I live it. I eat, sleep, and breathe entrepreneurship. I’m known for it no matter what circle of influence I’m in.
Whether it’s starting a club to explore social entrepreneurship in Athens, being in charge of fundraising in a campus ministry, or a pesto business that combines all my passions into a unique business model, entrepreneurship is what I do, the entrepreneurial mindset is how I filter problems and ideas, and I approach everyday as an entrepreneur who believes tomorrow is going to be better than today for myself and everyone else in my spheres of influence.
You never know how or who or what will lead you to your purpose, but as long as you believe you have one and put yourself into uncomfortable and untraditional situations, you will discover who you are and whose you are.
There’s no way I would have discovered I’m an entrepreneur without an encounter with Norwegians, the Institute, and pesto. God is funny how he orchestrates our lives in order for us to be totally oblivious to our purpose, so he can be totally glorified in His purpose.