"We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason."
The first time I spotted this quote was on Zig Ziglar's Facebook page a couple of years ago and after 28-years, I've finally come to really believe that everyone does cross our path for a reason. Good experiences, bad experiences, those who spark the happy times, others who cause pain... in the end, everything happens exactly how it's meant to.
When I first met Erica King, the founder of Running Divas and EKLife, I was probably at one of my most confused points in my life. There's nothing worse than having worked hard for something only to discover that it doesn't really make you happy.
I still remember our first breakfast meeting like it was yesterday. At the time, I was working full-time in a job that just wasn't the right fit for me and was pretty preoccupied with 'keeping up the act' for those around me. Why did I pretend everything was going well and that I was happy? In truth, I really wanted things to go to plan but I soon learnt that the universe works in mysterious ways. And the universe definitely had other plans for me.
Around 15 minutes into our chat, and my walls had pretty much collapsed around me and I was confessing that if I were to miraculously forget logic and reason for just one moment, I'd follow my instinct and just run with the wind. Running with the wind at the time meant quitting my job and starting my own business.
Roughly a year later and it feels like I've known Erica for so much longer than I actually have. So many things have changed - I did end up quitting my job (funnily enough, Erica shouted me a ticket to a Business Chicks' breakfast with Naomi Simson and that's when the realization that quitting was no longer an option, really sunk in) and am now running my own professional writing business.
While so much has changed, so much actually hasn't. Sometimes, it's the quiet moments that bring about the most important realizations about people. The moments that let you know someone's presence in your life has made all the difference. And how some people just understand the way your mind ticks.
There are times when all you need are those few people who help to nudge you on your way when you're struggling the most (and in my case, usually trying to hide it). Erica has definitely been one of those people for me. It's rare to find a person who is encouraging, supportive and yet, expects nothing in return. More to the point, it's not often you'll find a person who'll say "go for it!" without thinking of how it may impact them for better or worse.
Then again, I'm really downplaying Erica here because I know that she's made a difference in so many women's lives through Running Divas, an online women's running community. Too often, women are so busy competing with one another, they forget to realize that supporting each other is far more beneficial for everyone.
Running Divas isn't about who looks the fittest, who can run the fastest or who's even ever run a marathon ever before (for the record, I haven't). It's about women supporting other women and that's what makes it special. Erica is one woman lifting other women higher. It goes without saying we need more women like her.
And while Erica's next venture, EKLife, continues to evolve, I know that it will help women over 40 because at the end of the day, it's coming from the right place. Don't just take my word for it though; you can hear the passion in how she describes her new way forward.
"EKLife is an opportunity to share life, laughter, learning and joy with women over 40 so that we can all live our best lives. I've searched for many years to find just the right way to communicate with women in their forties so that we can connect and be fabulous together. EKLife is a very personal journey. It's my voice to the world."
Interested in learning more about Erica, Running Divas and EKLife? She's featured in the launch issue of This Woman Can magazine (out 8 March) - pre-order the next 12 months for just AUD $1.99 per copy right now.
Sarah Cannata is the founding editor of This Woman Can.