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Alison Rhodes on Pursuing Your Dreams
Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom, www.safetymom.com, and founder of Safety Mom Enterprises. I am a national family-safety expert and TV personality. Unfortunately my mission was born out of the tragic death of my son Connor to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1997. This profoundly changed my life and I became committed to sparing other parents the grief I experienced. While SIDS is unpreventable and unpredictable, childhood accidents are the leading cause of death for children 1–14 years of age. I felt that if I could help save one child’s life I would have done something in honor of Connor. My goal is to help parents sort through the tremendous amounts of information and misinformation in the media and make the best decisions for their family regarding health, wellness and safety. I also started a baby proofing company in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey areas, Safety Mom Solutions—www.safetymomsolutions.com.
You are a great success. Because of what you've accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to Inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
Everyday life throws challenges but also opportunities at you and sometimes you don't even recognize that something is an opportunity. While the death of my son was the most tragic and devastating event I have ever experienced, it also put me on a path leading me where I am today. My career is not just a job. It's a passion and, indeed, a calling. If you follow your heart and your dreams and do what truly inspires you, you will not only be happy but successful.
We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
Before my son Connor died I was a senior executive at one of the leading public-relations firms in Manhattan. I enjoyed my career and felt as if "I had it all." Once Connor died, however, it no longer was fulfilling. I knew at that moment that I needed to help other parents deal with their grief and, somehow, try to prevent other children from dying. I quickly became involved with First Candle/SIDS Alliance and took a seat on their board of directors. I went on to have three other children and it became apparent that childhood dangers don't stop when they get out of diapers—in fact they get worse. This is why I expanded my platform to include all children, newborns to teens. I also realized that parents are the role models for their children. As the saying goes, "a happy mommy is a happy family." It's important that moms in particular lead by example when it comes to healthy eating, an active lifestyle and good self-esteem. This is why as The Safety Mom I reach out to moms as well about staying safe, happy and sane!
You make it look easy, but I'm guessing you've experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
This past year has been incredibly challenging for me. I recently went through a divorce and have had to rebuild my life. I've learned tremendous life lessons about believing in myself and following the path that my gut tells me is right. I get my strength from my children. It's incredibly important to me that they be proud of me and respect what I do. I want them to understand the importance of following their dreams. I also gain strength from God, whom I believe is guiding us down our destined paths. We just need to listen. Finally, I know that my son Connor is my guardian angel and looks down on me every day.
We all have ideas on how to improve our lives, whether it be a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you "stepped off the ledge" with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
When my son died I had a successful position at a major public-relations firm. I was financially well off and wasn't concerned about money. Once he died, however, I knew that I needed to do more and quickly realized that my mission was to help save children's lives. It was a major jump "off the diving board" leaving my job and starting my baby-proofing company, Safety Mom Solutions. But I knew that I needed to be happy and satisfied in what I was doing in my life.
How can others do what you did?
Have a plan! Looking back, I would have sought the advice of more people—lawyers, accountants, financial planners, etc. But if I have a dream or an idea, I go for it! I hear so many people complain about how miserable they are in their jobs and the dreams they have but they're afraid to take a chance on making dreams come true. Obviously they need to put the foundations in place, but there are millions of entrepreneurs out there and sites to support them.
What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
I'm a big believer in daily meditation and reading inspirational books. Lynn Grabhorn’s books, Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting, are my bibles! I read a few pages every morning and it completely inspires me. I also start out every morning either taking a walk or getting some cardio exercise—even if it's just putting on some loud music and dancing around the room! I find when I get my blood pumping it helps me get psyched up for the day.
What's the greatest joy in your life?
Without a doubt the greatest joys in my life are my children. They inspire me, motivate me and ground me.
If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy—call it YOUR BRILLIANCE—what important things that you've learned would you want to pass on to others?
The death of my son profoundly changed me. It taught me to be compassionate and never judge others, because you never know what tragedy another person is dealing with. My son's death taught me to follow my dreams and my passion because they will lead me to true prosperity. And it taught me to be true to myself and follow my instincts. There will be people who disagree with me and sometimes even lifelong friends who might turn against me. But, at the end of the day, no one is walking in my shoes and only I know how best to live my life. Most importantly, everyone should have fun in life. She only gets one shot at it so she’d better enjoy it!
If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
I think every mother's greatest wish is to make sure her children have a better life than she did. My son has severe learning and developmental disabilities. I constantly worry about what the future holds for him. If I could accomplish one more thing in life it would be to find him the best specialists in the world, find out the best ways to help him and make sure that he ends up a happy, successful and confident adult.