The most inspirational people are those who reached an inflection point in their own lives and careers and took the leap to change. This is how you make a true impact. This is how you change the world. This is what “living free” actually means. This is what it can actually do.

It’s easy to spot when someone is stepping outside their comfort zone in the public arena when we look at well-known speakers, authors, and athletes like these. But heroic acts of “living free” and risking the potential of exposure, failure, rejection, and disapproval are actually happening all around us, all the time, with the people you know and love the most.

Naomi had been working for an insurance company as an internal wholesaler since she graduated from college. She loathed it. At age 36, she gave birth to her first child and was so touched by her experience at the hospital working with her pediatric doctors, nurses, and sonographers that she decided to quit her job and go back to school to get her degree in sonography. Everyone in her family was shocked. She and her husband fought for months as they struggled to find the money to cover costs for nannies and sitters and to support her going back to school. It took four years for Naomi to get her certification. Today, she works at a hospital, empowering her patients with all kinds of ailments to better understand their bodies. She wakes up every day excited about life. She is a better wife and a better mom for it.

A single mom at 45 years old, Alicia quit her high-powered, six-figure career working for the biggest agencies in the world to mentor female entrepreneurs. People thought she was crazy, as did she for quite some time. For a while, she bounced around consulting for a few startups, struggling to cover the bills, until she settled on one up-and-coming startup agency. Within a year, the agency blossomed, as did Alicia’s spirit. She lost 20 pounds, fell in love, and ended up taking a full-time role as chief operating officer.

After 20 years of being a trader, Brian knew he had to step away and start over. The industry had essentially imploded, and with no proper college degree and no other experience, he went through what can only be defined as an identity crisis. Over the course of a few years, he dug deep to understand who he was without his job title. He took on a new career in financial advising and eventually hired a life coach to support him through the transition. He now writes blogs on LinkedIn (many of which have gone viral) on how to create a life with meaning rather than just make a living. His work is touching the lives of hundreds of people in his network and beyond.

Naomi is my sister-in-law, and I have never seen her so happy.

Alicia is my COO, and SimplyBe. is booming.

Brian is my husband, and he is thriving.

They are all my heroes. That’s because they became their own first. Through a series of sleepless nights, tough decisions, outside judgments, and deep-seated fears, each of them had to step outside their own comfort zones in order to change their lives, and having done so changed the lives of so many others.