Carmen is my tailor. She transforms my thrift store finds into perfectly fitted favorites. She lets me stop in without an appointment and turns things around in a matter of days. I’m a loyal if infrequent customer of many years.

Carmen is a no nonsense business woman.  “When do you want it, lady?” she asks directly in her noticeable accent.

Her small shop has two dressing rooms. There is a glass jar for tips at the counter where a window opens into a room with clothing hanging on one wall and large bright spools of thread on the other. An elderly woman with gray hair pulled back (whom I imagine as her abuelita—little grandmother) sits stitching.

Routinely I try to get Carmen to warm up to me, like I do my bank teller and my grocery cashier. Mostly she doesn’t. Last week she did.

I shared something that had happened in my life that week. “Oh yeah” she said with seeming disinterest as she carried on writing up my ticket, “What do you do?”

Upon hearing my description of being a coach, Carmen shared a bit of her story of being an immigrant, having come to the United States as a child.

“People don’t know how hard it is. How you have to leave all of your family.” She got quiet. So did I.

When she was a young woman, every Saturday Carmen studied English with a tutor. She smiled recalling how she “felt like a hot shot” when she learned to read the newspaper. One day her tutor asked Carmen about her goals.

Carmen answered with confidence. She wanted to become an American citizen. She wanted to own a home. She wanted to earn an income of an exact figure she named.

The tutor replied, “Camen. You have to be realistic.”

By now two customers had entered the shop and were waiting. I hoped they were listening as the story unfolded.

Carmen was now an American citizen she tells me with evident pride. She bought a house. And then a second house. She earns an income that far exceeds what was once simply a dream.

Carmen began with big dreams. She didn’t let her circumstances limit her or a dream diminisher stop her.

“I’m a go getter,” she said. “Talking with you has made me think about what will my next goals be.”

Carmen made me think about my next goals, too. She is a go getter, a goal getter, and my inspiration.

Coach Koenig

Are you willing to hold on to a big dream?

Are you allowing anyone to diminish your dreams?

Does Carmen inspire you to think about setting a new goal?

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