Susan Lake (left) and Laura Meeks, life coaches, each with distinctive and compelling personal stories, speak at the Idyllwild Library on Saturday, Aug. 5. Photo by Marshall Smith

Two stories to inspire and empower

Susan Lake and Laura Meeks, both life coaches who focus on living one’s dream and personal empowerment, tell their stories at the Idyllwild Library.

Lake is small and energetic, using her career as a writer/designer artist as a platform to coach her audiences about how to use their creative energies to find personal fulfillment.

Meeks, a Minnesota native, is tall, laid back and folksy, telling her story of change with gentle humor, humility and total absence of ego.

Lake began her career as a music educator, with a degree in Music Education from the University of Bridgeport. She fashioned a successful career as a performer, teacher, educator, director, producer and designer.

Meeks dreamed as a kid in rural Minnesota of flying planes, because, as she remembered, “If you can fly planes, you can get out of Minnesota.” That dream would lead Meeks to becoming one of only 25 people in the U.S. certified to occupy all four seats on a B-52 bomber — pilot, copilot, navigator and bombardier.

But that was when Laura was Laurence and that is the story she’ll be telling — of how she realized a truth about herself, and, with the help of her wife Annie, was able to authentically embrace that truth.

“When I met Annie, we were both in the Air Force,” said Meeks. “But early on in our marriage, I started to recognize this fantasy of being a woman. Annie and I talked. I remember this specific discussion. Annie asked, ‘Do you want to live as a woman?’ I answered I didn’t know. Then, Annie said, ‘Here’s the deal. I will continue step by step forward and giving it my best.’ Then I said, ‘I’ll slow this down so that we have time to adjust.’ We’ve been married for 31 years.”

Both Lake and Meeks counsel on finding the courage and support structures to dream and become one’s most creative and authentic self. Lake and Meeks have their own takes on how to do that. Both are published authors and have built successful careers as life coaches.

Meeks, after retiring as a major in the Air Force, formed a multi-million-dollar consulting firm ThinkQ Inc. with wife Annie. Meeks now uses that corporate expertise and management experience as part of her life-coaching presentations.

Lake’s transformational and self-empowerment discussions are driven by her artist’s point of view. She teaches creativity as a keystone to living a life that matters to the individual, and contributes to the wider community and the world. “We are all artists and it’s accessing our creativity that helps us manifest who we are — from the inside out,” said Lake.

Meeks talks of how freeing it was to have the support of Annie as she made her transition from Laurence to Laura. “Do you know how hard it is for most men to keep a secret like that?” she asked. “It’s like holding a brick at arm’s length for 24 hours a day. Annie’s an incredibly powerful woman and together we were able to choose a path that was worth living. We grew up together in our marriage.”

Two women talk empowerment techniques and tell their life stories — “Living Bold” and “Laurence to Laura” — at the library from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 5. There is no charge to attend these talks and all are invited.