[Book in Progress] Reclaim Your Brilliance: My Misguided Guidance Counselor
About a year ago I started compiling my Monday Morning Pep Talk series into a book. After lots of revisions, rework and soul searching, I’ve added more of the lessons I’ve lived that have helped carve out my purpose and shape my message. This story is an excerpt from “The Called & Confident Entrepreneur: Shift from Fear to Faith and Grow Your Influence, Impact, and Income”.
If you’ve listened to one of my webinars, you may have heard me tell the story about my guidance counselor in high school. I went to one of the top public high schools in the country at the time. The school actually ran from 5th grade to 12th grade and you either had to be tested in or recommended. My fourth grade teacher recommended me. There were about five or six classes for each grade level until you got to the 10th grade. For the high school, 10th -12 grade, there was just one class for each grade level. Even if you had been there since 5th grade, you had to apply to be allowed to stay for high school. I applied and was one of just 27 students accepted into the 10th grade that year.
Like now, back then I loved books and in my senior year I ended up with a full-time job after school. I worked from 3:30 to 11:30 Wednesday through Sunday. I kept my grades up and was excited about graduating and going to college. Working at the bookstore had given me access to books about the best colleges for a chosen major. I knew that I wanted to be broadcast journalist so I had a list of schools to attend: Hofstra, Syracuse, Boston University were all on the top of my list. When it was my turn to sit with the guidance counselor, I proudly bounced into her office with all of my research and application dates. The counselor, Bonnie, read my list then looked me straight in my face and said, “I think you are reaching above yourself. You need to find something more on your level.”
I remember feeling crushed. I took my books and decided then that I didn’t want to go to college. In fact, I only applied to one school and that was because my homeroom advisor made me: Masterman was an academic high school and the expectation was that everyone who graduated would go to college. So after studying, AP Biology, Calculus, AP History, Spanish (level 4), and maintaining a B average while working 40 hours a week, I applied to Drexel University as fashion design major – and got in. I earned a 4.0 my second quarter (our ‘semesters’ were just 10 weeks long) and after changing my major twice, I graduated with a degree in elementary education.
It was years before I shared this story with anyone. The discouragement of that conversation lingered in my soul and became part of the eclipse that blocked my brilliance: I second-guessed every decision and struggled with confidence constantly in my career, even when I did well.
But there are facts to this experience and truths that prevail. The facts are:
- Bonnie had no real idea who I was and what I was capable of.
- Bonnie had an opinion and chose for whatever reasons between her and God to deliver it in a way that dimmed my light instead of helping me shine brighter.
- I didn’t have the support in my life at the time and I allowed her words to knock me out of the vision I had for myself.
The truths are:
- I cannot change the past so trying to live there renders my present gifts and talents homeless.
- Right now – I am exactly where I am supposed to be – serving the people I was destined to serve – and impacting people with the light of my life, my brilliance.
Now it’s also a fact that some things may have happened to you. Someone or something may have come and knocked you out of the vision for your life, or nudged you off your path. And the truth is, that right now you are exactly where you are supposed to be: some of you are just steps away from breaking through the eclipse and finally owning your brilliance.