When I Had to Eat My Words

I don't know about you, but I'm really glad words don't have calories… because I eat WAY too many of them.


When I was a kid, I didn't necessarily know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew what I did NOT want to be: a TEACHER.


I came from a long line of teachers – my dad, two of his brothers, and several aunts and uncles on mom's side – and talk around the dinner table or at family gatherings always seemed to be about school, school, school. No way, not for me! I wanted out.


As many of you already know and the rest of you have probably guessed, shortly after college, I packed my bags and moved to LA to be — you guessed it — a teacher. Not only that, but I even spent a few years training teachers (a teacher's teacher, if you will.) And now of course, my calling has evolved to leadership communication coaching and training; in other words: a teacher!


Why? Because I wanted to make a difference, and when I look back on all the formal and informal teachers, coaches, and mentors who shaped my path, the impact is undeniable. To name just a few:


  • My undergrad Japanese professor, Dr. Miwa Nishimura, who looked me square in the eye one day and said, “You should be a linguist.”
  • Dad, who gave me the single best piece of teaching (leadership) advice ever: “You can't just demand that people respect you; you have to command it with your presence.”
  • Chris Caine, then-VP of government programs at IBM who learned about my research when I was in grad school and said, “Your work has valuable application in the business world. Come do a training for my global leadership team,” thus beginning my entrepreneurial journey
  • JV Crum, my business development coach who helped me understand (and quantify) the value I deliver to clients


In case you didn't know, today (October 5th) is International Teachers Day, a perfect opportunity to honor our teachers, coaches, mentors and people who have helped us become the person that we are now.


History is full of people who have been direct and indirect teachers for us all. That’s why this week, on the podcast is Allison Titman , Executive Director of the Alice Paul Institute. Does that name ring a bell? It was named after Alice Paul, a lifelong crusader for gender equality, following in the footsteps of Susan B. Anthony and others to finally pass the 19th Amendment and get women the legal right to vote.


The institute now seeks to continue her legacy and train the next generation of leaders in gender equality, helping them find their voice to create positive change in their community. For Allison, it's all about education.



Tune in and listen to the podcast here or watch it on YouTube here to hear how they're expanding their virtual reach to educate even more people around the world on civil rights.


Then keep listening to discover which professor gave her (and her whole class) a “loving kick in the pants” to take ownership of her education and future, and make her own voice heard. (Allison, I think your professor would be very proud!)


To wrap it up, here’s my invitation to you: Think of a teacher/professor/ coach/mentor or other person who has been influential in your personal and/or professional development and success, then find a way to reach out to them and simply say, “THANK YOU!” Let them know the difference that they made in your life, and watch it make their day.