Second Chances


When I came to the US many years ago, I expected to stay only six months. It was all I was contracted for and it felt like a dream come true nonetheless.

A dream I had had since the tender age of six, when I published my first poems.

Things don't always turn out the way we expect. I worked harder and longer than I could have ever imagined, and I was able to make those six months stretch into six years… and the rest is history, as they say.

This post is about how breakthroughs can happen with very small things and am proud to feature Ekaterina Walter video from TEDx PeachTree.

Ekaterina is Intel's social media strategist. She's a genuine, smart, and warm person, one I am honored to call a friend. We connected instantly when we were introduced at SxSW.

Her story reminds me a lot about mine.

A family filled with women for many generations (my grandmother just passed), and although we could not ever complain, we were certainly not swimming in anything but the public pool. I remember the austerity as a very young child in Italy.

Say what you will about me, I am no wall flower.

Things often turn out differently than we expect. My breakthrough came from the chance to make a fresh start. People who are bilingual know this, it is not just a matter of using a different set of words and sounds. Speaking another language literally rewires your brain.

There are cultural considerations as well. It's like having a 3D view of the world, enriched with the perspectives of our roots as well as the opportunities that come with trading places.

Have you ever relocated to a different city?

Multiply that feeling many times over for a country. All of a sudden you get back the freedom to be who you are. Without any-one or context holding you back.

Here's the thing though. When I came to the US, I was working two jobs while going to school and I took a chance working one job and going to school from here to there. The change that made what I did possible was in me.

I caught the opportunity without knowing where it would lead. Every day, we have the ability to make choices, 440 minutes to give and take a second chance. Things don't always turn out the way we expect or plan.

They're often better. Breakthroughs come in small packages, one minute at a time, in the moment. There are plenty of second chances starting now.