We all have a story to tell and mine is one of surviving multiple childhood traumas. To escape my home situation, I could have easily ended up a drug dealer, addict, homeless, in prison, or worse. I’m still not sure how those things didn’t happen. I believe I used my anger and fear to fuel my survival. One trauma after another taught me new skills, increased my agility, and built my resilience. I unknowingly tapped into my intuition, internal fortitude, and self-discipline allowing them to guide my actions. On some level I realized that growing up in an abyss of violence and shame did not have to define me, it would not define my children, and I didn’t have to continue the cycle.
As a single parent of two daughters I entered the corporate world, with a bit of an attitude, at age 22. I had no college degree but had earned my GED after dropping out of school at 16. I assumed that working in a business environment was the best way to make a living since I wasn’t receiving child support. What I saw there was more suffering. Fear, intimidation, bias, discrimination, incivility, and disrespect were rampant. I soon realized that my style at work (and in life) was to rock the boat, advocate for others, and disrupt the status quo when necessary. An introvert by nature, and lucky for me, I learned that change happens quicker with action than with words. Since then, feedback from others has validated that my demeanor is one of quiet strength and courage that makes a big impact and influences others. I now leverage that!
Realizing that my gift was the ability to facilitate transformation, and that most business problems are caused by human behavior, I decided to focus my mission on shifting behavior in the workplace. Once a high school dropout, I’ve now combined my hands-on business experience with formal education. I’ve completed two business degrees, a Master of Science degree in Organizational Psychology, and numerous certifications.
Despite my violent past I find it incredibly fulfilling to give back in various ways. Each year I volunteer 20% of my time to pro bono coaching projects, teaching English abroad, and helping foreign business executives improve business skills.
Through exploration with my clients, we set goals, root cause their business problems, redefine their value, explore solutions, and implement sustainable and measurable changes. The outcome of this process gives them the ability to drive bigger change throughout the organization.
Will you find other coaches and consultants who can do this? Absolutely! But no one else with core values built from childhood trauma. No one else that can apply personal lessons learned to help leaders build business agility, resilience, and influence. When I’m involved – things get done and transformation happens.
While I cannot change my past I can certainly use that experience to shape workplace culture.