As I reflect on my life history, I have come to believe that all my experiences have both influenced and impacted my current career as a life and fitness coach. My individual uniqueness and personal gifts have been empowered by how I have encountered and grown throughout my life experiences. My continued passion for personal growth and continued learning is what gives my life purpose and meaning. For this I am both deeply grateful and thankful for the opportunity to serve others.
My father was a pediatrician in Dallas, Texas. I vividly remember going to work with him when I was ten years old and seeing the diverse group of people who came to and worked at my father’s office. His nurse, Elmer, who made me laugh, was the first African American nurse in Dallas. Even though everyone came from different backgrounds, they all had one thing in common, the need for compassionate care for their children. Through this, my father taught me the value of human service.
In high school, I remember being in a weight lifting class. A larger boy once challenged me to match the amount he was lifting. My stomach immediately filled with butterflies, but I picked up the weight and lifted it over my head. My peers were surprised and praised me. I felt respected and accomplished. From this moment on, I put my heart and soul into weightlifting and I earned the Most Outstanding Lifter in Texas award (1960-1962). This showed me that with determination and persistence, anything can be achieved. “Will not skill” became my motto and this has guided me throughout my life.
Just out of high school, my father died suddenly from a heart attack. We never got to know each other well and I felt cheated of all the experiences I never had, and now never could have. Learning to fill this emptiness has been a lifelong journey.
After my dad died, my mother Dorothy left nursing and became one of the first women stock brokers. She rose through the ranks in a man’s world to become a vice-president. She inspired me to believe in myself.
I have had many meaningful opportunities, but one pivotal experience was working in the Romanian orphanages. There I worked with and cared for children who had been abandoned and were struggling to survive in a deprived environment. I was awakened to the power of touch and individualized attention through holding and rocking many children. We needed each other to survive.
Regardless of all these deep and meaningful life experiences, I never felt happy and whole just being myself without my work. That deep hole that I experienced after my father’s death still felt empty. I woke up one day and realized that all my focus was on working with the pain and brokenness of others and it was time for me to care for my own life. I finally gained the courage to seek help, to learn how to grieve my losses and begin to allow self love and support from others. I was able to find this through a hike with my children. I was physically struggling to climb some rocks and my son Lance came by to extend his hand and my daughter Ashley supported my back as we climbed the rocks together. We moved as a six legged animal and this was one of my most enjoyable hikes; being part of each other and seeing the beauty around me. There was no beginning, there was no end. I was in the moment of aliveness and gratitude.I finally began to let my family help me, and through this, I became so much closer with them.
Recently, I talked with my son, Jason, as he shared his perspective of the police brutalities in our nation. I wanted to learn more about his experiences as an African-American. By taking the time to stop and listen, my mind opened up and we became much closer and I realized how crucial conversations are in order to deepen understanding.
I am so blessed to be with my beautiful soulmate Janet, who has inspired me to become a better person and live more fully. Our marriage and friendship has taught me the gift of love, kindness for each other, and our service to others.
After I completed my life story of how my history contributed to my destiny, I went outside. An old oak tree caught my eye. I sat down beside it and imagined the deep roots that burrowed into the earth below and spread out in all directions. I walked over and touched the strong trunk that grew upward toward the sky. As I looked up, I saw many branches of leaves in the sunlight. As I stepped back, I noticed the deep, dark scars where branches had been cut away, so the tree could grow stronger. Just like in our personal lives we let go of what no longer serves us to make room for new growth. As I looked at this tree, I began to feel how deeply connected we both are. I now realize how deeply connected ALL of life is. I smiled as I said to myself, “Nobody is an island”.
I come to you with both passion and enthusiasm to empower your goals and support you in the path to achieving your dreams. I will guide you in finding ways to deepen and sustain the quality of your tree of life. My motto, “Will, not skill,” can encourage you to get where you want to go and develop your best self along the way. I look forward to our journey together.