Open Your Own Door
This morning, I looked in the mirror and was pleased with my “lot in life.” I have had so many opportunities and met so many wonderful people along the way. My ethics have been challenged on many occasion. Every day, I set out to simply do the right thing. I have had to stand up to committees and authority at times to ensure the “right” decision. I have been accused of being stubborn because of my relentless desire to do the right thing. Not everyone likes me because of it. It is difficult, and you never make everyone happy. Those unhappy people who tried to persuade me or you to breach our ethics do not matter. Those unhappy people need to look inside to create their own happiness. At the end of the day, you want to sleep well and be able to look yourself in the mirror and smile. Do not spend one minute worrying about those people.
Loving yourself is something that is special. Even with all of the bumps and challenges. I love other people, but being happy with yourself, knowing that you are good and that evil will not penetrate your soul is a pleasurable experience. Yes, I am spiritual but I think my upbringing is probably the one thing that made me who I am today. It was not only my spirituality.
My mom and dad were always engaged with the four of us. Yes, I came from a relatively large family and we had to share everything, sometimes even shoes; we did not grow up with privilege. We worked at a young age and we learned to accept defeat and challenge. My dad was in the military and I am very fortunate to still have him with me. He was directly on the battle lines and to this day he does not speak of it, possibly because he was required to do things that ethically, still cause him pain.
The recent news in college admissions has been very disappointing to me. Especially because I have devoted my entire life to helping students, in a fair and ethical manner. I have run testing centers, trained proctors, and worked with families. And, I have run admission committees in various school settings. I have seen both sides of the ethical dilemma. It took me a minute to write about it in my blog. I wanted to select the correct message. But, now I am ready. I think everyone should have equal opportunities for education and it is so very important to our sustainability as a nation. Studies have shown that growth mindsets improve health and economic welfare, and what is education if it is not a growth mindset? I shudder to think that one day we will not always have equal opportunities because people are scamming the system or bribing others to open doors. We have to open doors for ourselves. No one is going to open them for you. Of course, sometimes people do assist and hold the door but you have to be able to get through the door on your own.
I urge everyone to think about their day and the doors that they might open in the near future without breaching their ethics or scamming the system or bribing people. I will say it: it is just wrong. I have built relationships ethically, and developed my skills and then slowly but surely obtained my education to build my life to be what I dreamed of when I was 10, and 20, and 40. Don’t settle, go after your dreams with all of the gusto and moxie that you can muster. Embrace your highest potential and reach for your goals with character and resilience. Study hard, and harder if you need to for success. Sometimes it may take a minute. It took me 12 years to get noticed, just the first time! I worked in a position that was less than I wanted, day after day, but one day, something magical happened. The President walked into my office and offered me the promotion that led to everything else. It was the opportunity that I needed to begin my ascension up the ladder. You notice, I said, begin my ascension. I still had to work, and then even harder. If you work hard, and treat people fair, the doors will open!
Some people today do not want to wait and earn their dues. They want everything wonderful now, and that is great if they can make it happen, but too many of them do not realize that good things happen to those who wait, and sometimes people come into your life, just when they are needed. Sometimes you aren't ready. Parents should not fall into traps to provide everything magical for their children. Let your children figure out a few things for themselves. Guide them, don't do it for them. I did too much for my children but eventually you must set boundaries. Let your children get into college based on their own merit. If they begin early, they can achieve their own success. Let them go where they want to go, if it is affordable.
My tips are: keep your direction, focus on your plan, and don’t settle. Write your goals down where you can see them every day, and develop actionable steps to reach high, and then a little higher, even when obstacles are hurled at you at 100 mph. Breathe. Breathe some more, and be willing to work hard and wait just a minute, or so. Good things do come to those who wait…. and work! And tomorrow, you will be able to open your own door.