Rally Like a Cheerleader

cheerleaderIn 10th grade I transferred schools, again. This was my third school in three years and I vowed this was the year I would be more outgoing and get more involved to make the most of my high school experience.

And so I did. Or, I should say, I tried.

Softball

I tried out for softball but the sport I had played as a wee elementary school student was now full of fast balls that whizzed right by my head. Um, no thank you.

Flag Team

I tried out for the flag team but after a few weeks of band practice in the balmy, late summer, Midwestern heat I couldn’t take it. I chalked it up to heat-related wimpiness.

Cheerleading

Finally, I tried out for cheerleading. I so badly wanted to be a cheerleader. To be part of the pep rallies and walk around in my cool uniform. I could belong.

I practiced the moves once, twice, three times over until I knew them cold. This was going to be my thing. I walked into auditions pretty confident about my choice. The other girls, who had already fulfilled their high school destinies, called us individually front and center to perform.

My journey to high school popularity began. And then it ended during the same three minutes.

See, we learned three different cheers during our practice session and during my audition I performed various moves from all of them in one. It was a sad sight.

To avoid my perceived embarrassment, I preemptively quit. Only later did I find out that the cheer squad was looking for a flyer and since I was petite enough I probably would have gotten the job, despite my failed attempt.

I Rallied Then

I kicked myself about my decision to quit for weeks, nay years! I just wanted to solidify my own high school destiny by being part of something that would come with built-in friends and a coveted title. I didn’t want to start from scratch again. I didn’t want to have to define my own high school standing.

I auditioned for orchestra and choir. These were things I was good at so I fell back on those known skill set. Theater and debate would be added later on. And soon high school would be over and college would present me with a plethora of opportunity to redefine who and what I wanted to be.

I Rally Now

Today, I have a career I love and one I defined based on the many paths I wandered along. I love it to pieces and I will continue on its course forever. It would not have happened, however, if I had not tried something new, failed, taken the bits I did like and mixed it up with something else I tried and failed at once again.

Each time, though, I rallied.

I got up and started again with something new, taking the lessons I had learned from the previous job, school, class, friendship, roommate, boyfriend, car, apartment, travel, argument, conversation, debate, and laughable moment to heart. Never forgetting that each experience, whether I perceived it as good or bad, was one that contributed to who I am today.

Be Your Own Cheerleader

I cheered myself on and kept going in spite of the setbacks. When I couldn’t do it myself, I turned to others in my life who could.

We all need that parent, teacher, friend, partner, confidant who is our cheerleader. But we must, also, learn to be our own cheerleader too.

As a student of life, there will be times when it feels like the dream is too far away and the struggle is too much but do not let that feeling linger too long.

Instead, rally.

Get up and get going.

The world needs you to rally for your own success.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services. Christine truly loves helping students realize their inner potential and the possibilities that await them: “To be a part of a student’s ‘ah ha’ moment is the best feeling in the world because I know I’m helping that student build foundational confidence that will lead to a successful path, not just in school but throughout life!”

Help Your Kids Find Their Dream Job

Dream jobI love what I do.

That could actually be the end of this post right there. I mean, what more really needs to be said, unless you want to know why.  If so, then read on my friends. Read on.

I had a lot of different jobs growing up: a sandwich shop, which lasted all of one week because I was skimping on the tuna (Side note: I later became a vegetarian), Starbucks, which I loved and hold near and dear to my heart to this day, and babysitting, where I was a natural. As the eldest of three girls, I was in charge and I liked it that way. It’s no wonder I parlayed those bossy aka leadership skills into owning my own company.

This little Venn diagram, above, really captures the essence of finding a dream career. It’s by combining these three areas that I created my dream job: working with struggling students and their families.

Here’s I how I did it.

Stuff I Love to Do

I love chocolate. Sadly, there were no openings for chocolate taste-tester when I graduated with my Bachelors in Psychology right after 9/11 or graduated from law school during the Great Recession (man, I have the worst timing when it comes to graduations!). I relegated chocolate to more of a hobby rather than a career, a decision that my waist line thanked me for.

Other things I love:

  • I love to travel.
  • I love to be independent.
  • I love cooking – throwing a little bit of this in the pan or a little bit of that in the oven and seeing if it tastes good.
  • I love knowing that I’m part of something bigger than myself, a movement of change if you will.
  • I love talking with people one on one. I get lost in big groups but a 1:1 conversation is where I feel at home.
  • I love to uncover the whys of things but then go a step further and figure out a possible solution. I’m not afraid of going outside of the box, in fact, I welcome it and have to be cognizant of sometimes pushing the envelope too far just to see what will happen.

Stuff I’m Good At

  • I’m good at strategy – anticipating both sides of an argument and being prepared to address each of those issues with reasonable solutions.
  • I’m good at administrative paperwork, and boy are there a lot of reports and forms and emails when you own your own business!
  • I’m good at the practicals of life. Getting things done with organization and care.
  • I’m good at seeing the potential in someone or an idea — a potential that may be hidden under a cloud of naysayers, sadness or frustration.
  • I’m good at navigating government entities, like schools.
  • I’m good at working with kids, and, in fact, sometimes I think I still am one. Or maybe that’s just my child-like innocence.

Stuff Someone Will Pay Me to Do

So here’s the big question: How I can prepare my kids (or myself) to find a career that will combine the stuff they love to do with the stuff they are good at? The answer may be as simple as: you can’t.

There may not be a traditional career out there for someone who possesses all the talents and gifts that your kids do. Yes they will find bits and pieces of their dream job by taking a traditional route but the reality is that nothing is perfect and no one loves every, single aspect of their job. Do I love billing? No! Do I make it a priority? Yes, because I have to.

How I Combined the Stuff I was Good At & Loved to Do and Got Paid to Make a Difference

After two degrees and mounds of debt, I set forth on a quest to combine my passion for advocacy with my love of education. I fell back on the “Stuff that I was Good At & Stuff I loved to do” skill set, and began privately tutoring students struggling in school. I quickly realized that their poor grades was often a symptom that something else was wrong: a behavior challenge, learning difference, social skills need, or family dynamic concern. In response to this overwhelming need, I added Special Education Advocacy, Family Coaching, Coordinating Care, School Placement, and In-Home/At-School Behavior Support to my repertoire thus creating a One-Stop Comprehensive In-Home & At-School Support Service for the Struggling Student. I founded Terry Tutors on the premise that collaboration is the key to a student’s success story and made it my mission to bridge the gap between home and school support by providing short-term, direct intervention services with an end goal of teaching The Struggling Student to self-advocate and navigate their own educational and life plans.

My story is one of practical problem solver who needed a self-sustaining, meaningful career that utilized her talents, education, and desire to change the world. The thing that gets me out of bed is the feeling that I’m doing my part to make a difference – to evoke real change. Money, Power, and Titles only provide interim fulfillment.

So instead of asking our children what they want to be when they grow up, we should be helping them identify what they love, what they’re good at, and how to combine those talents to get paid in the real world.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services.  Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.