Our warm home should have been comforting on that cold October Saturday, but my nerves were too frazzled to notice. I had signed up to compete in The Nutshell Games that evening, and I was subjecting my husband and our two children to my fretful rehearsals. As one of thirty scientist-competitors, I would have 90 seconds on stage to explain my research to 300 people and 10 judges including two 7th graders. If the youngest judges couldn't understand the presentation, you wouldn't win. Finally, having a 7th grade son of my own could be an advantage to this aging mom-turned-graduate student. He and my 4th grade daughter pushed me to simplify my message as my husband drove us to the event. But when they dropped me off I was filled with trepidation â€“ why had I taken on something so far outside my comfort zone? An hour later when my moment finally came, I surprised myself and my family! I didn't win the competition, but I delivered a performance I could be proud of.
The experience made a fitting metaphor for my journey to achieve more. Ever since returning to school in my forties, I have been working outside my comfort zone. After a pivotal experience with therapy when my mom had cancer, I was driven to study psychology and learn how certain therapies can transform lives even during heartbreak. So I started an eight-year journey as a middle-aged undergraduate, followed by a Master's program, then two years applying to PhD programs â€“0/8 acceptances my first try, before a success the second year. Every step required unrelenting patience, conviction, and a thick skin. Every step my family supported me, needed me, and kept me grounded. I am a scientist mom and I am driven to change lives through psychological understanding.
What Drives You to #AchieveMore?