Posted Suzanna McCloskey on 3/8/2015 |Featured Columns & Series
This year, Girls on the Run will serve its one-millionth girl! We’re honoring this milestone by celebrating what makes each of us one in a million and by showcasing some one-in-a-million women who have made exceptional contributions to empowering girls and women.
Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized life balance coach, speaker and award-winning author who believes our inner life should be as rich as our outer life. She is the founder of Career Strategists, a coaching and consulting firm that helps people create careers that align who they are with what they do. Renée has led transformational events for women for 20 years and has certified facilitators in more than 10 countries to administer workshops based on her acclaimed curriculum. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12-year-old son.
Here's what Renée has to share about being One in a Million!
Q: Girls on the Run envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams! How did you start to realize your own limitless potential and pursue the path to where you are today?
Renée: I really came alive when I started doing communications internships in my chosen field of journalism. I loved seeing my ideas come to fruition, doing work that matters, receiving mentoring from my female supervisors, juggling projects, problem-solving and beginning to envision how I could use my gifts to serve and make a difference in the world. I highly recommend doing internships in areas you may want to work in, and the sooner, the better. Even middle school is not too early!
Q: Of the traits and achievements that help make you one-in-a-million, what stands out most to you?
Renée: I’m very passionate, creative, visionary, strategic and love to do things really BIG! This used to get me in trouble when I was younger (I would constantly overcommit and become exhausted), but now I’ve learned to ask for help and build a support network. You don’t have to go it alone—smart women ask for and allow themselves to receive help.
Q: Girls on the Run believes that big things are possible when you keep moving forward. One of the ways our girls experience that is when they cross the finish line at the 5k that celebrates their completion of the program. Can you share an example from your own life?
Renée: When I was ready to write my first book, I was approached by an agent and a big publisher. We began working together, but then it became clear we didn’t share the same vision for my book. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look/feel and be received. So I fired my agent and publisher and cashed in my 401K and opened my own publishing company—Balanced Living Press. I hired an amazing all-women team to help me bring this book out into the world. We hit roadblocks, made a lot of mistakes and experienced incredible highs and many successes, too. I felt that this project was a calling, and I knew it was uniquely mine to do. Today women in more than 10 countries around the globe are supporting women in their communities through leading self-renewal groups/retreats based on my first book. It’s an incredible feeling to know that you listened to your intuition/inner voice and a spark of an idea turned into something that ended up helping thousands of women worldwide.
Q: Which one of the core values of Girls on the Run resonates most with you and why?
Renée: The core value "Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent," resonates with me the most. We get to choose how we see the world. Are you a “what if...(up)?” person or a “what if...(down)?” person. Do you see potential and possibility everywhere you look, or do you think the worst will happen? Your perspective on life influences all your thoughts, actions and words. It’s healthy and recommended to feel all your feelings but also to recognize that how you show up in situations and relationships (open and excited or closed and shut down) impacts EVERYTHING. I hire women with positive attitudes because this has such a huge impact on our work team and our ability to be productive. Keep an open heart, open mind and think, “the universe is conspiring in my favor” and see what happens!
Q: One of the many things our curriculum teaches girls is how to recognize and work through challenges in productive ways. What is a challenge you have faced (or still face)? How did/do you respond, and what have you learned from it?
Renée: When I was much younger, it was often hard for me to work on teams. I wanted to do things my way (the "right" way). Over time, I learned that life is really about “people first and things second,” and there are so many gifts that come from collaborating, being in a partnerships and building on our collective strengths. And working with others is just so much more fun!
Q: What insight or advice would you offer a young girl today? What would you say now to your 8-year-old self?
Renée: I would tell my 8-year-old self to “be kind to yourself and be your own best friend.” So many times we think we’re not good enough, or smart enough or (fill in the blank) enough. But our ordinary selves are enough. Our presence is enough. Our “just being,” is enough. I wish I had had more mentors and family members remind me of this and tell me that I’m not my accomplishments. Just being 100% Renée is more than enough.
We also invite you to put on your party hat and check out our virtual One in a Million celebration at girlsontherun.org. We'll be updating it regularly with new activities and showcasing some of the fun ways people are marking this million-girl milestone with us!