How I Got Here
As far back as I can remember...
...I wanted to be a teacher. I played school with friends, but I was never a pupil – I was always the teacher. Given that mindset growing up, it isn’t a surprise that I got a degree in music education and taught for a few years. It was okay, but it wasn’t great. I wasn’t having fun and some days I dreaded going to work. After a few years away from the classroom, during which time we were having kids, I found my way to corporate America. Training and development was a great fit for me and I loved it. I loved it until the training I provided didn’t fix the issues that employees were having. That was when I was introduced to the concept of change.
It just so happened that as I was working in an organization going through significant change, my own life began to fall apart, or so I thought. I found myself in the middle of a divorce, which led to many other changes in my life. I had been married for 15 years and had 3 children ages 7-13. We lived in a brand new house in a small university town where I was heavily involved in the community. As a result of the divorce, I found myself living in a big metropolitan area in an apartment, working a new job, while my kids lived with their father. My life was turned upside down. My mentor suggested that I take what I was learning about organization change and apply it to myself and my own life. I did, and I learned more about myself during that rough time than I had at any other point up until then.
Fast forward a few years...
...and the family situation had greatly improved. So had work! I was working with change and transition 100% of the time and loving it. No matter how much I learned and how hard I worked, I always found situations where I was perplexed by why the change was so difficult. I began to notice that leaders were excited about change initiatives as long as they didn’t need to do anything different personally. That fascinated me and eventually became the topic for my doctoral research. My dissertation is the result of 30 interview hours with 10 incredible people, 30,000 lines of interview data and months of sifting through what I had learned. The treasure in all the data was discovering what these individuals had done to successfully navigate ambiguous, difficult, personal transitions. I got to hear stories that no one had heard, and as they heard themselves tell their stories they began to see what had really happened during the change. They began to see how they changed during the process and each of them made a commitment to be more intentional about change moving forward.
I wanted my life’s work to be about helping people see in themselves and in situations things that they hadn’t seen before. There are many ways to make that happen, but the how isn’t as important as the fact that it happens. Making the invisible visible is what drives me in my work and in how I live my own life.
I like to think of myself as an alchemist!
Anciently, alchemists were highly sought after because they could turn scrap into precious metal. They had a scientific process for bringing out something of high value from something that was perceived to be worthless. In addition to the science, they had a bit of magic and a belief that it could be done. That is me! I have science in my toolkit, but I also have a bit of magic in my touch that can’t be explained and I completely believe that there is always more beneath the surface. More possibility – more opportunity – more options – more value – more to celebrate – more! My life is now dedicated to helping people see what they often can’t or won’t see on their own!