“No Pressure, No Diamonds.” — Thomas Carlyle
I think of this quote when looking back on the pressure I felt from my parents to produce good grades.
While I performed fairly well through middle school, it became a struggle to meet my parent’s high expectations in high school due to challenges I had with organization, procrastination, and time management. It was that persistence, that pressure from my parents, which made all the difference.
The truth was I lacked strategies to deal with the increasing demands placed upon me and spent far more time than was necessary to earn good grades. My lack of study skills and organization caught up with me when I got to college and sure enough, my first quarter at UCSD resulted in what was to become my first, and thankfully last, failure in school. There were financial strings associated with my performance in college and I simply couldn’t afford to fail again.
The pressure was mounting…things had to change…
One of the most important lessons I ever learned happened during my first year in college. That lesson was to partner up with someone who was successfully doing what I wanted to do. I immediately began collaborating with and learning from students who were earning very good grades. I would look over their shoulders as they nimbly managed their time, organized themselves for success, studied effectively, met deadlines, and most importantly, still had fun!
I graduated from college with a degree in psychology and with little direction, I took a sales job that lasted only 2 weeks. You could say it didn’t work out. I was stuck. But not for long…in a moment of brilliance I realized what I had to do: go on an around-the-world trip! With every last penny I ever saved, I travelled around the world for 13 months until I ran out of money.
Ironically, my purpose in life came to me while surfing on the tropical island of Bali towards the end of my trip. I was broke but happy and wanted to pursue a life filled with meaning. When it hit me it became so obvious, I finally understood my purpose and it was simply to serve others. Invigorated with a renewed direction in life along with a love for education, I returned home and decided upon a teaching career serving students with special needs.
I learned how to reach individuals who struggled their whole lives…
My first teaching position was by far the biggest challenge of my life. Here I was, a first year teacher, and I was running a class of students with moderate to severe emotional disabilities and learning disorders. Talk about diving head-first into the deep end! However, I quickly developed a deep appreciation for the challenges some people are dealt in life and I faithfully served those students for the next 5 years.
While I loved being in the classroom, I felt I could be even more effective and have a bigger impact working one-on-one with struggling students. My deep understanding of learning disabilities, executive functioning, and ADHD had positioned me as an expert in my field. All the while, I had earned the deep trust of my clients through unwavering compassion and dedication to meeting their needs.
Today my practice serves adolescents, college students, and adults with executive functioning deficits. It is with great care, compassion, and acceptance that I serve my clients. Individuals with executive functioning deficits tend to carry more than their fair share of feelings of loneliness, guilt, failure, and inadequacy. My clients are proof it doesn’t have to be this way.
And so here I am today, just a person, that like you, has struggled at times, thinks differently, has had wins and losses, felt stuck in life, experienced adversity but refused to settle, and is always aiming for living a full and fulfilling life.
My calling in life, as it came to me in Bali close to 15 years ago, has not wavered one bit. My actions and decisions since that fateful realization are proof I am fully committed to serving others. “So what exactly is it that you do?” I am often asked. I help people be who they are, only so much better.
“You are, at this moment, standing, right in the middle of your own acres of diamonds.” – Earl Nightingale
And so my suggestion to you is this: partner up with someone who has been where you are but is today successfully doing what you want to do. Hopefully this person is caring and non-judgmental, eager to share and be a guiding light, and just as important, they understand you and your journey.
I look forward to serving you.