After about a year of collecting other people’s stories, it was time to look at my own story. It’s often been difficult for me to talk about my early life in a positive way because there were some not-so-positive things going on. I searched for an analogy that would work for me and came up with this. There are footnotes, if you need them.
I’m in the business of creating happy endings. That’s because my life has been the stuff fairy tales are made of. Let me tell you a little about myself. My mother died before I was nine (1). My easy-going father married the prototypical wicked stepmother (2). She was emotionally distant and physically abusive, and, lacking henchmen to do away with me, she sent me off to Grandmother’s house, where I learned to cope with the resident big bad wolf – my abusive alcoholic grandfather.
I spent a lot of years hiding and being quiet at home while being myself and building strength at school. (3) When I was thirteen, my father died and I began to figure out that my rescue fantasies were just that.
By the time I got out of college, I kissed a lot of frogs (4) and figured out that I needed to be my own Prince Charming and that I could create all the good things I wanted in life on my own. (5) All this makes me a great coach. I know how to help people create what they want – whether it’s a totally different life or a few tweaks, whether it’s leadership skills or retirement planning – I can help you see into your crystal ball (that really means take a good look at yourself) and build on what’s revealed.
I’ve developed some useful skills along the way. Since I’ve worked in education at every level from pre-school through grad school and coached and consulted in corporate, non-profit and government settings, I’ve been able to transfer my own skills to a wide range of settings. Turns out that book Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is right. If you can figure out how to manage four year olds, you can help anyone manage any staff. I’ve coached women returning to work, managers wanting to be happier and more productive, people who felt like failures or had no self-confidence and successful women who wanted just a little bit more in their lives. I’ve been all those women.
Of course, I have I have formal credentials as well. I hold a doctorate in Adult Education and Leadership, with a focus on Workplace Learning, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and master’s degrees in Educational Psychology and Counseling from New York University. I am the current the President of the IAC, an IAC Certified Coach and Board Certified Coach with a doctorate in Adult Learning and Leadership, and Masters’ Degrees in Counseling and Educational Psychology. My Women Living for Today and Tomorrow workshops were featured in The New York Times. I am also a published author, with articles and book chapters on midlife, stress, transitions and transformative learning, including my Life Blueprint series, Mapping Midlife – Sensational at Sixty and the forthcoming Fifty Over Fifty: Stories and Lessons from Fifty Women Who Changed Their Lives.
But I think the first part of the story is more important and I’m pleased to have found a way to tell it.
What’s your story?
Footnotes (sort of)
(1) think Snow White or Cinderella or so many other little girls you remember from your childhood
(2) following the plot line
(3) This reminds me of Little Gerda, from a fairy tale of perhaps Norse origin, who learns survival skills from a band of bandits in the forest.
(4) Yes, The Princess and the Frog
(5) This reminds me of a movie version of Cinderella – Ever After – starring Drew Barrymore.