I was a confident child.
Two events changed that. As a high school junior, I transferred to a new school. Inserting myself into existing groups fell outside my comfort zone. Instead, I often read in a bathroom stall, walked the halls, or sat on the floor at my locker.
At the same time, I was targeted by a bully−an older student with a troubled background, whom I didn’t know. (Two decades later he contacted me to apologize.)
Facing a bully without the support of friends caused a shift from confident child to self-doubting teen.
Concluding I wasn’t smart enough for university, I served coffee in a donut shop after I had graduated. I did attend college a year later, yet 25 years passed before I fully realized what I was capable of.
My path to revived confidence came through self-discovery and created my mission: to help adults and children discover who they are, what makes them unique, and maximize their potential.
“Apologies suggest approval matters more than self respect.”
Can you share how you regained your confidence?
For years, other people told me who I was. I was fortunate to have affirming parents. However, in the workplace I allowed other people to shape my view of myself.
I was told I talked too loud and was too enthusiastic. I asked too many questions. I was too smart for my own good. I got ahead of myself and was too future- focused.
I was an “ask forgiveness” person instead of asking for permission. I monitored and suppressed my tendencies to be “professional” instead of a misfit. I wound up in a mental straight jacket and often apologized for myself.
Two people came into my life at the right time: executive coaches Roni Holcombe and Steve Lishansky.
Roni sharpened my view of my potential when I was selected for her leadership program. Steve helped me push beyond the “rules” I had created that held me back.
These mentors reshaped my thinking. I wasn’t “too” anything. I was done being who others wanted me to be and became determined to make an impact my way.
You stated your mission is to help others maximize their potential? How are you doing that?
I’m determined to bring self- awareness to all. But it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the jar.
I certify coaches and consultants to help others maximize their career and life using a framework I created called YouMap®.
When I was a coach, I tried many assessments but clients didn’t always find them intuitive or actionable.
After a lot of research, interviews, data gathering, and trial and error, I uncovered something I call the Four Pillars of Career Fit™.
These pillars are the strengths, values, preferred skills, and personality of a person. The pillars reveal how you work, why you work, what you like to work on, and who you are – your interests and needs.
YouMap® reveals your unique contribution. Ultimately, dissatisfaction is always revealed in one or more pillars. I put the framework into a book, YouMap, to increase access.
People would write me, “I wish I knew this sooner!” So, YouMap® Youth and Teen assessments were created to bring life-changing awareness to kids.
In February my book, Maximize 365, releases. Everything I do is to maximize others.
You mentioned you were bullied. Do you think knowing yourself would have helped you?
Without a doubt. My seven- year-old has a YouMap® Youth profile. We talk about who she is. She’ll say, “That’s not true” if anyone tries to throw shade. If I knew myself, I would have had a more unshakable foundation rooted in truth.
I was convinced I wasn’t intelligent. Yet, my YouMap® shows four of my top five strengths are thinking talents: strategic and futuristic thinking, idea generation, and curiosity. It reveals my primary personality type is the Thinker.
I believe seeing who I was in black and white would have helped bully-proof me.
Imagine a child learns they are a thinker, internalizes it and reinforces it with stories and social proof. When this child is called stupid by a classmate, he or she knows it’s not true and exactly why. Truth is an anchor.
I wrote a four book children’s series to build confidence through self-awareness in elementary-aged kids. The first book, You’ve Got Gifts!, releases November 10, 2020. A beta reader told me the impact on her son has been “profound.”
You said, “It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the jar. Why is that?”
A few factors are at play but, overall, it’s an inability to objectively self-evaluate.
You’re too close to yourself. You’ve been with yourself since the day you were born.
This creates a tendency to underestimate yourself. Just listen to some of the ridiculous conversations in your mind.
Do you tell yourself: “I’m not good enough”, “I’m an imposter”, “No one will hire me”? What about, “Who am I to ?” You wouldnever speak to people you care about like this.
Also, you are born with your talents, and because those talents come easily, they can’t possibly be a big deal.
Besides, since it’s easy, anyone can do it, right? Not at all. Only one in 33 million people have the same top talents according to Gallup research.
Self-awareness is the top predictor of career success. The people killing it in their careers know their zone of genius and how to communicate what they do best to those who need it.
If you could meet someone who is no longer living, who would it be, what would you ask and why?
Sir Joseph Brant. I am a direct descent of Brant, who was the most well-known Indigenous person of his generation, largely for his prominence during The American Revolution.
He was a military and political leader who met many of the most significant Anglo- American people of his time, including George Washington and King George III.
Brant was a misfit. He was criticized for not being “Indian” enough for his willingness to adopt elements of European culture.
I would ask how he stayed true to himself despite criticism because it can be hard to stand firm in the face of relentless opposition.