I experienced two, life-changing events during my senior year in high school. During my first two years, I mainly took classes that I thought would prepare me for a career as a marine biologist. My one indulgence was choir, which I enjoyed immensely. As I planned my senior year, I decided that I would do two things I had always wanted to do, but hadn’t—take an art class and join the swim team.
When I showed up for my first swim workout, I was very intimidated and unsure of myself. Coach Johansen had me swim two laps of the pool. He was impressed and told me that it looked like I had the natural ability to be effective in the sprint events. I was ecstatic to think that I might be successful as a competitive swimmer! With coach’s direction and support, I went on to swim the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, and 100-yard breaststroke. In practice, I went from the slow lane to the fast lane in one year. I was ultimately recognized as the most improved swimmer on the team and awarded a varsity letter. My coach lamented the fact that I hadn’t participated in swimming all three years of high school, and he speculated on what might have been… Thanks goes to Coach Johansen who saw my potential, helped me believe in that potential, and worked with me to develop it!
My art teacher, Mr. Cushing, took an immediate interest in me when I showed him some of the drawings and paintings I had done over the years for enjoyment. Under his direction, I further developed my “artist’s eyes” and honed my technical skills. The day Mr. Cushing introduced the class to watercolors is a day I will forever remember. I took to that medium like a duck to water. Mr. Cushing was so excited to see my natural ability with that medium come forth. During the year, I entered my watercolor paintings in a number of shows and won various awards. Because Mr. Cushing had recognized my natural abilities and helped me develop them, I was ultimately offered a college scholarship after one of the shows I entered. Thank you, Mr. Cushing!
Years later, after a career in sales and marketing, another person, Jim DeMoux, would help me discover my “life’s work.” He had heard me speak in the community and recognized my native abilities in communication, so he recruited me into the professional development business (training, speaking, and coaching). The rest, as they say, is history. Thank you, Jim!