Sharing one of my most vulnerable and treasured stories, originally published by University of Wellness.
I am unafraid to talk about my struggles, probably because I don’t view them as struggles, problems, hurdles or even speedbumps. They are just factors of or moments in my journey.
Do you perceive a hurdle in the distance and just stop running, for fear that you won’t clear it?
Yes? Ah… that’s what those wings are for.
A surface view of my journey looks like a fairy tale, the only child with adoring parents who, after nearly 50 years together, still hold hands with each other. The girl with the solid upbringing in a safe, middle-class town, who attended a private university and soon after graduation landed a high school teaching job on Long Island, NY… cue the Happily Ever After music.
But that’s just the surface. Do you ever feel like what your life looks like on the outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside?
A deeper dive into my journey reveals bouts of depression (common) and living someone else’s dream (even more common– am I right?!). I’ve been working with my therapist since 2005, when I was student teaching. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem at the time– I was supposed to be so happy, so satisfied with how everything was falling into place in my life!– but my spirit was feeling the crush of living someone else’s dream. Even as I write this, the anxious lump in my throat is returning, the lump I lived with for decades.
I was tired all of the time. I was overwhelmed. I was unsure about what I was doing and why I was spending every waking hour doing it. I see you nodding along as you read this.
14 years later and I’m stepping into my greatness. I made the conscious choice to find a better way.
In therapy, the great and patient E. guides me as I work through the “stuff.” Because I’ve committed consistently to doing the work on myself, I feel better than I ever dreamed was possible.
Now I have energy. Now “stuff” feels manageable (and I know what to do and where to healthily turn when it doesn’t). Now I am sure. Now I know my dream.
I found my wings– they were back there the whole time! Are you ready to find your wings?
Enter coaching– a modality to help harness and implement my gifts. Just like my T-ball coach helped me learn to swing a bat at 5 years old, just like my senior English teacher taught me how to “show, don’t tell” in my writing, coaches I work with now help me align my gifts and my dreams. They help me set a plan for success and accountability. They help me clear a path to fly.
Now that I think about it, I am living a fairy tale– but for the fairy tale to feel “right,” I had to position myself as the hero. I am not a character in someone else’s story. And just like in the fairy tales of our youth, the hero soars when she lets others, in those stories talking squirrels or fairy godmothers, in my story, coaches, help her plan, execute and follow through.
Now I coach to pay forward the invaluable gift that was granted to me. I am committed to helping others find their true happiness.