Today we’d like to introduce you to Bailey Heard.
Bailey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I lost my 30-year-old husband, Andrew, to cancer in 2013. I was 28 at the time and mom to our beautiful two-year-old daughter, Ellie. During the final months of Andrew’s life, he wrote two books, an inspirational blog and spoke all over Texas in between chemotherapy treatments. One of his final books, A Gray Faith, is about embracing our faith through the gray and uncertain parts of life. The book was published a month before he passed away.
His second book grew out of his quality time with our daughter, Ellie. He would draw pictures of her favorite animals with her while they cuddled up together in his hospital bed in our living room. After being shocked by the quality of his drawings (I had no idea he could draw!), I encouraged him to turn the pictures he drew into a book for Ellie, so he created The Ellie Project, an alphabet book full of animal pictures and character lessons he wanted to pass along in the form of love letters to our daughter. The wisdom in this book is applicable to people of all ages, not just children. I co-authored the book by telling the story behind the story, and published the book with Andrew’s original art and words in May, 2015. The impact of this sweet and powerful book has been beyond what we could have imagined. I’ve sold over 6,000 copies. You can check out the book at www.ellieproject.com!
Inspired by Andrew’s legacy of passion, faith, and a desire to give, I felt called immediately after he passed to share his writings with the world, along with the life-changing lessons I’ve learned from his short, yet impactful life. I’ve created a powerful keynote presentation, Living Your Legacy Today, about turning life’s challenges into a purposeful life. Now I travel all over the country sharing my family’s story and this inspirational message.
Has it been a smooth road?
No road worth traveling is without bumps and turns and I’ve had my fair share. As a single mom, I struggled with the roles of being both mom and dad, caretaker and provider. At times I was certain I was crazy thinking I could start a business immediately after losing my husband and becoming a single mom. I struggled to believe I could make a living for my family as a public speaker. As time went by I doubted this “calling” I felt so strongly about years earlier. I almost quit several times and an unknown illness almost completely derailed me, but every time I picked myself back up, dusted myself off and kept going. Every time my fears and doubts crept in making me want to switch career paths I thought about what my husband shared in his sweet book to our daughter, The Ellie Project, “Courage doesn’t come because you are big, strong or without fear. Courage comes because you aren’t big, you aren’t strong, you do fear, but you don’t give up.”
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bailey Heard story. Tell us more about the business.
I travel the country giving an inspirational keynote message about turning our greatest challenges into a purposeful life. In my keynote, I show a documentary of my family’s journey and share my late husband, Andrew’s, books Your Best Life Later, A Gray Faith and The Ellie Project (ellieproject.com). I write weekly inspirational blog posts at baileyheard.com which birthed from the outpouring of my heart while my husband battled cancer and chronicles my journey as a single mom after loss and how we are creating a more purposeful life through the lessons we learned from Andrew and from our challenges. I’m also a certified life coach and a co-author of The Ellie Project. I’m most proud of being able to take the lessons I’ve learned from Andrew’s life and from his writings and use them to help inspire others going through life’s greatest challenges. It’s been healing and fulfilling to continue sharing Andrew’s legacy. I think what sets The Ellie Project book apart from other children’s books is that it’s not just an alphabet book with pictures of animals, it’s an alphabet book with character/life lessons from a dying father imparting his life wisdom in the form of love letters to his daughter. It’s a father spending time with his daughter in the only way he could in his hospital bed drawing pictures of animals with her and pouring out his soul onto the pages of this book to leave a legacy of love for her. This book has heart and soul and is relatable and valuable for all ages.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think now more than ever the world needs inspiration which will only increase the demand for inspirational speakers.
- Website: www.baileyheard.com www.ellieproject.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @baileyheard
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebaileyheard
- Twitter: @BaileyHeard
- Other: TEDx talk: Finding Courage in Unlikely Places https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2icabWsRgk
Taylor Lord Photography
Photography by Alison