One of my love languages is words of affirmation, which also means that one of the easiest and quickest ways to hurt my feelings is to criticize me. I have had an intense fear of rejection and being criticized for as long as I can remember. I still recall being devastated when my science fair project didn’t make it to the finals one year in elementary school, and I still remember what it felt like when my seventh grade boyfriend broke up with me. Obviously, confidence and acceptance in the face of other people’s opinions is a growth area for me. Continue reading
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
When I was in elementary school, I would so often get lost while walking the four blocks to my home that I had to walk home with some older friends all the way to their house (which was further away than mine) and my parents would pick me up from there. As late as middle school, I would have silent panic attacks when I had to give a friend’s mom directions to my house from the Wendy’s less than 5 miles away. As an adult, my friends and boyfriends have quickly observed my complete lack of sense of direction, some kindly pretending they don’t notice until I bring it up (at which point they exhale with relief that I know just how direction-stupid I am) and others teasing me as I ask them how to get back to my own house from whatever restaurant we are at. Just this month, I turned to drive down the wrong way of a one-way street twice. If you judged my intelligence on my sense of direction, I would register as the village idiot. It’s something I used to be very embarrassed about, but now I just accept it as a part of who I am. That part of my brain is just underdeveloped. Continue reading
I AM CURRENTLY ONLY ACCEPTING MATERIALS FROM POLICY SCHOOL APPLICANTS THROUGH 4/1/2013.
Hey friends, I love to hear from you, but please don’t write to ask if I’m still accepting essays and resumes. If you see this text here that says YES, I AM STILL ACCEPTING MATERIALS, and it’s before April 1, 2013, you can still send your materials.
REMEMBER TO REMOVE YOUR NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION FROM YOUR MATERIALS! :)
To show people new to my world just how magical I am at transforming essays and resumes, I’m filming some videos of me reviewing and live editing real people’s resumes and essays, and I want yours!
I’m looking for
10 resumes and 10 essays Okay, we reached that point a long time ago. Let’s just see how many I receive and can get through that I can live edit and review for free in these videos.
This week was a great reminder for me that I don’t have to care about—or pretend to care about—everything. What’s more important is that I know what I really care about, and make sure to honor and explore those things. The megaconference South by Southwest (SXSW) is happening here in Austin right now, and there are thousands of panels, sessions, parties, networking events, films, comedy shows, concerts, you name it. There are a dizzying array of open bars and celebrities just walking around like normal people. It’s simply mind-boggling and amazingly overwhelming if you let it be.
I was a featured speaker at SXSW and I even had my very own book signing which made me feel very fancy and very nervous. It was my first time attending SXSW with an official Gold level badge that basically grants me access to almost all technology and film-related events. The choices of how to spend my days and nights were endless. It was the recipe for a fullscale panic attack or a perfect excuse to go into avoidance mode. In fact, at one point I felt so overwhelmed by it all, I contemplated not going to anything.
I don’t find fear to be useful unless it’s bottled and redirected in a more empowering way—like the fear of dying that might drive a young woman to punch a shark in the face (this was a real story on NPR the other day!). However, my clients aren’t afraid of sharks in shallow water. They fear that there isn’t enough time to get the essays done. They fear that their test scores aren’t high enough to compete. They fear that the admissions committee won’t fully appreciate their story. They fear their recommenders won’t get their letters in on time—or that they will but the letters will be inadequate. At the root of their many fears is one permeating fear: They fear not being good enough. They fear being excluded from something that they really want.
I didn’t realize that this was what I was signing up for when I started my company nearly three years ago. I thought I would be using my wordsmithing powers to whip wandering essays into shape. I thought I would be walking people through the wilderness that is applying to top graduate schools without the benefit of family legacy. I never thought I’d be reaching into people’s souls and pulling them back to the light when they began getting consumed by the darkness that is self-doubt, fear, and feelings of unworthiness.
This week, my admissions coaching clients are finishing up their applications for graduate school. One of the most common yet surprising reaction that some of them have is, “That’s it?!” when I tell them they are ready to submit. It’s like they don’t believe me when I tell them that their essays are beautiful, concise, compelling, authentic, and ready to go. I finally figured out why so many of them seem dubious when I tell them we’re all done.
It just seems too easy.
For example, one of my clients and I just met less than a month ago, and today she and I finished editing her exquisitely written essays for Harvard Business School.
“Are you sure we’re done?” she asked me doubtfully today on our call. “It seemed too easy!”
It seemed easy because she was ready, and for the parts for which she wasn’t fully ready, she found someone who understood her strengths and weaknesses (that’s me in case you were wondering) and we made sure she was ready together. And it was actually a lot of fun too!
Like my client “K” who found it hard to believe that applying to Harvard could be so “easy,” I too was resisting some “easy” blessings that were coming my way.