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At times, I felt discourage and my self-confidence was nonexistent. I remember my third grade teacher pulled me aside with another teacher and asked me a series of questions. How much is 8+8?  I said 16, and then she asked, how much is 8 + 7?  I would think about it, but it just wouldn’t click or at least not right away.  Eventually, I will get it. Then I heard the teacher say. “it doesn’t make sense that she can’t reason to take one more digit away for 16 after she gives the first number so quickly.” This was embarrassing.
 
Along with constantly getting poor reading comprehension scores,  I had to work twice as hard as other students to get good grades. Mom and dad stressed that I was expected to do the best that I could, and to work hard. Today we will believe I was suffering from dyslexia but back then that was not something that was even considered. The struggle was real funny, but I was determined. I desired to go to Engineering school after going through a  summer program that Howard University and struggling through math and science in high school. I managed to get a high B average and accepted into a few engineering schools.
Three to fours years into the five-year program, I went to my advisor like I had done many times before to pick the next set of classes. This time was different. The words he said are still disturbing today. He wanted me to quit. He looked at me with a look of defeat. He said, engineering is too hard for you, it’s too much of a struggle. He was my advisor. I was looking to him to help me stay on the engineering trained, not to derail me. When he said that, he opened up the past negative commentary. I remember the disappointment from the teachers, the awful feelings that came up when my test scores were so poor. Wanting to be smarter. How I was different from the other kids. It brought back all the struggles. I tried to keep that behind, but he reminded me all over again. All those insecurities and the pain was back. 
 
I was almost at the point where I was going to be in agreement with him. I heard him, but I didn’t hear him. The reason why, I heard my mother in my ear. All during my life my mom would say, “you can do it.”  When I would say, mom it is too hard. She would say, “you can do it.” When I say, I’m not smart enough, mom would say, “you are plenty smart.” But Mom, I don’t know that I can make it happen, she would say, “girl you can make it happen.”  I would say, it’s too hard. She was say, “inch by inch life is a cinch.”  I would say, I don’t know if I can make it. She was say, “with God on your side all things are possible. Just do your best and He will help you do the rest. “
Mom was in my ear. Me listening to my mother’s voice is the reason why I’m at this point in my life today. The reason I was a NASA engineer. Had she not been in my ear the path of my life would have been different. My comfortable family lifestyle could have been a lot more uncomfortable. My mom in my ears is the reason I had success, the reason my husband and I have been able to build a successful life. The reason both my dyslexic children graduated from college sum cum laude. 
 
Because my mom was in my ear.  I made a decision to follow my dreams. My mom in my ear squashed the inner critic. Two years later, I graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Mechanical engineering. 
 
Whose voice is in your ear? Who voice is helping you silence the inner critic and the naysayers? My mom and dad where my coaches. Oprah has coaches. Because Michael Jordan had a coach, he gets to wear several rings. Because Serena and Venus had a coach, together and separately they made history. Because Tiger had a coach he gets to wear the jacket.  Success leaves clues. 
 
So my question to you, when it comes to your goals and your dreams whose voice are you listening to? Who do you have in your ear?

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