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Exploring Life & Business with Harriet Turk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Harriet Turk.

Hi Harriet, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve lived in Memphis for most of my life, and the culture, the music, and the soul of the city are definitely within me. I’ve taken many different career paths that all have one underlying thread–social service and connecting with people. I love learning about different people, their views on different topics, and trying to understand why they think, feel, and believe as they do.

To be known as a professional speaker and coach is so funny to me because, in school, I absolutely could not stand to give a speech or any kind of presentation–I was so, so bad at it! My college roommate still laughs at one of my terrible presentations during Speech 101. But, as I became interested in creating, developing, and implementing leadership programs, slowly, I became more confident in my ability to give presentations.

After several people encouraged me to go out on my own, I did, and 28 years later I’m still at it! In the last few years, I’ve expanded into coaching new and aspiring speakers, and have found that I absolutely love helping them take their stories and content and creating presentations that are meaningful and impactful.

Helping people be their very best in the business they were called to do is what I know I was also called to do!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Beginning my career as a very naive, young woman in the Criminal Justice field was a rude awakening to the harsh realities of some people’s lives.

After a few years of trying to find my way, I was asked to develop a youth leadership/alcohol and drug prevention/traffic safety program for the state of Mississippi. That set me on my path of working with youth, those adults who work with youth, and in turn, helping people live their best life.

Part of my job was to give presentations in schools, and people would ask, “What is your hook?” I realized they wanted some wild or wonderful story about my life, and I didn’t know how to answer. But, after a while, I realized that my hook was that I’m a regular person with everyday struggles with stories that many people could relate to.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a speaker, consultant, and coach, and I help people break through invisible, self-imposed barriers so that they can become unstoppable.

Becoming a professional speaker today is so different from when I first began my career. So many coaching programs only deal with gaining monetary success, but they forget about developing the actual presentations and impacting their audiences-one person at a time. To me, the financial reward comes from being good on stage, and so that is what I love to do–help people create and deliver presentations that matter.

I am also a consultant and work with businesses, teams, organizations, and individuals looking for direction with program development, collaboration, and connection. My coaching practice mainly works with aspiring speakers and helps them get on the right track so they can have a successful business and a life filled with purpose.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Once when I was at a crossroads with my career, I read a quote that said, “Sometimes, you just have to say yes and go.” I always think of that when I start doubting myself, my abilities, or wondering what the next step is.

Every year, I speak to thousands of people about being their very best, and I work with clients who want to up their game professionally, but sometimes I forget to do the same thing with my own life!

I can be fabulous in other people’s lives, but if I cheat myself and stay in my comfort zone, I end up miserable. To me, taking a risk means just going for something you want–and, even if I mess it all up, at least I know I’ve tried. Then, I look for what’s next.

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