This is my story. I am sharing it with you because everybody starts in a different place and we are all unique. Our experiences are what shape our personality and when properly channeled, can be applied to many aspects of life. I am passionate about health coaching because I have been in places where I just didn't think I would succeed but I persevered and I just knew there was something better for me, I just had to find it.
Not sure where to start, or how far back to go, but I guess high school is as good as any.... I was mostly an academic in high school, but i played JV and Varsity basketball. I was not very good at it, but when i joined the team, I knew i was a part of something. Practices were grueling (for a 15 year old, unathletic girl, that is) but i made them work. I never really got any game time, but I showed up every single day because I knew that i had the potential to get better. If I could put myself out there and try (even though I knew I was hopeless at basketball), I thought maybe it will help another unathletic girl step out of her comfort zone, get in shape and be a part of this team too. I knew the coach was humoring me by letting me play the last 2 minutes of a landslide victory or total loss, but that didn't bother me. I took those two minutes and did everything I could to make a basket. I felt empowered to make a difference, show people that I cared about helping the team, even if the points really didn't matter.
By my senior year, I had started the application process for college, and I really didn't know what I wanted to do in life. So, I picked the most difficult major I could think of, at the most prestigious university that I knew of, and applied to the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). I knew my grades were strong, but there was no way that my SATs were even close to being good enough. I also did not go to a computer science based high school, so I had absolutely no experience with programming, either. On top of that, there was no way that I would even be considered for an academic scholarship (or financial aid), so getting in was pretty much an impossibility. I applied anyway. I figured, worst case scenario is that I got rejected and would go to a local state school, which was also a pretty great option.
Back then, you could schedule a tour of the campus and an informal, optional, interview with an admissions counselor to see if you had "what it took" to be a member of the CMU community. I made the appointment, put on my most professional-looking power-suit (YIKES- remember I'm 17 years old here, and a child of the 80's) and I walked into the office and acted like i belonged there. I absolutely felt that I did not, but, with my father's nudging and confidence in me, I held my head high and told her why I wanted to be a computer scientist. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember looking the counselor in the eye and saying, "I want to be a part of the future. I want to help show people the amazing things about life and how to be better". I walked out of the interview certain that I was not going to get in. I just felt like I was pretending to belong. A few weeks later, I received my acceptance letter in my mailbox and ran top speed back to the house (we had an very long driveway) to share the good news. As luck would have it, the Navy liked my application for scholarship, as well. The Navy's Officer training program (NROTC), thought I could make it through Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science program and gave me a free ride to the college of my dreams!
Years later, when I worked in the admissions office for a measly work-study income, I asked a counselor why CMU did these interviews if not required of all applicants. She turned to me and said "it's for the 'good kids'; the ones that wouldn't get in on paper, but the counselors see something in them that is needed to better our community." I quickly walked away and went straight to the back file cabinet where all the old files were kept (paper back then, of course), and found my interview sheet. (why hadn't i done this before??). Sure enough, right there is blue pen ink, with two lines under it to emphasize her point, spelled out my future "doesn't have the scores, but admit her, she has what it takes, she's a 'good kid'".
I didn't really make much of it at the time, but now looking back, I realized that my interviewer must have seen something in my sweaty, out of place, nervous, teenage dream. I ended up switching majors after my first year, and went on to earn a Mathematic Degree and a commission in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. I often think back on my choice to become a naval officer, and I get asked all the time, "why did you pick ships?" I used to smile, shrug and say "it seemed like the most difficult option. Why not be the pioneer and show others that it can be done?". And, at the time it was the most difficult option, at least for me.
I thought if i could master the most difficult challenge in front of me, that I could pretty much master anything. It would pave the way for others to do the same, even if it meant I could (and would) fail. I wasn't overly confident about it, (I was pretty much a worry-wart and nervous-nelly the entire time I was in trying to graduate and earn my qualifications in college and the Navy), I just stepped up and did "what it took". I just figured that if I could do something that was really difficult in the eyes of everyone around me, that I could show other people how it was possible to do, too. There weren't many female officers that served side by side with me, but the few that have, are the strongest, loyal and truly most amazing women I have ever had the privilege to serve with. We stuck together, helped each other and created futures that mattered for ourselves. We showed other women that not only was it possible to achieve, it was possible to excel. We were proof.
This is just the beginning of my story, but i thought it was necessary to walk you through how my mentality and personality have shaped my passion for sharing what I know to help others. I never really used my Mathematics degree for much, but I believe that it taught me how to study hard, stay up all night, and pray for passing grades, but more than that; it allowed me to show others how they could do it too.
When I was a senior in college, I had two young girls that were just starting out in the NROTC program (and there were only 4 girls total). I took them under my wing and I showed them that it is possible to make it, do well, and still have a smile on your face. I got to mentor them and show them my mistakes, how to course-correct (pun intended, I'm a surface warrior after all) and how to be better. I want to believe that I had a small part in their success, not only as strong Naval Officers, but as women who are confident, proud and strong.
By sharing my story with you, I want to show that my passion for helping women look and feel their best has always been important to me.
The drive to be better has always pushed me to be achieve things I never thought were possible and to help those who wanted it too.