“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I remember standing in my crib and watching my mother sing Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." And while I had no idea what she meant, she sang it loud and with an effortless comfort that revealed to me a life lived with no apologies. My mother never apologized for being smart, funny, or for commanding attention in just about any room. She never apologized for raising three kids on her own, or for becoming a successful advertising executive. She never apologized for teaching us to feel thankful. She never apologized for teaching us to believe in ourselves.

I am destined to live without fear or apology for who I am. I am unflinchingly honest. I am a terrible klutz. I am a loyal friend. I am a loving wife. I am an awful driver. I am a savvy businesswoman.

I will make it ok for others to be who they want without fear or insecurity. As a boss, mentor, mom, friend, and family member, I will help them do it without apologizing.

— Jessica Decklinger