I came into this world with complexity, drive, endless wonder, and a need to produce. When I began speaking, it was in full sentences.
I had many thoughts, oddly complex ones about spatial juxtaposition and even consciousness. I have a very early memory of what I now understand was sensory empathy. The farmland of Upstate New York was a perfectly happy playground for being weird and roaming free with my artist mother and darling nanny. Life was idyllic. Until I was seven.
Divorce placed us in Los Angeles and I attended second grade in Beverly Hills. The new girl is an identity riddled with enough terror, but additionally I was being marked as a weirdo, an outsider, unwelcome, and definitely not cool. These perceptions, and eventual physical bullying, were more than I could bear. I didn’t dare tell anyone, for fear of more, which came anyway. Being slammed against a chain-link fence by a handful of mean girls with clenched fists was traumatic. It was the type of shocking that shrinks your soul into a ball, where it can hide away in safety. So when the school met with us to discuss placing me in the Gifted program, it was an absolute NO for me. There was a snowball’s chance in Hell that I would agree to be formally classified as “different,” sent to a classroom for “special kids” and therefore belong even less.
This was the last time anyone mentioned Giftedness.
High-achieving and lofty, I set my intentions on becoming a magazine editorial photographer at 22, and in less than a year, I was published for the first time. By 24, I was photographing up-and-coming talent for film production companies, record labels, and fashion publications in Los Angeles and at 31 I began to push toward the Big Apple, spending about 1/4 of my time there shooting, and holding fast to the vision of becoming a Conde Nast photographer, for Vogue and the likes.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I stood frozen, hypnotized by the tv screen, with the rest of humanity. Watching the towers fall behind a sea of debris-covered, fleeing escapees left me stunned, gobsmacked. I bought a ticket to NYC right away because I needed to volunteer or avail myself to something helpful. Not knowing what that would look like, I was open to helping in any manner. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, I began to experience a shift.
A part of me felt suspended in time, overtaken with empathy for the 9/11 victims and first responders, highly-charged as usual, but with that empathy spilling over into other segments of my life. I began to think a great deal about my purpose, my drive, and prioritizing this “call to action” in the aftermath of the WTC attacks. My thoughts began to wander into the realm of possibility thinking, and it was a joy in spite of the somber backdrop. But most noticeable were my developing feelings of impatience for the conversations I was having with LA clients, my focus being pulled back from a dreamy and purposeful space into what now felt vapid by comparison, hair and makeup.
Preserving history with the visual, aural, and written story of a major volunteer movement at Ground Zero was a two-year project. My photographs, filmed media, and tales of humanity rising in the wake of destruction are installed in esteemed learning institutions in major cities. We toured. And we shared laughter and tears with thousands of grieving heroes. When my work there was finished, there was no going back to hair and makeup, actors and shoe trends.
I simply didn’t belong there anymore.
When I enrolled in coach training, I was once again hyper-vigilant in my goal-setting. I was going to help everyone! It was so exciting! So naturally I was crestfallen when the course required that I choose a niche specialization to continue the training. It was a struggle, but I chose something broad enough that I could still kinda sorta heal the world. On passion and drive I finished my training with proven success and outstanding notes from my teacher about my intuition and leadership. But I wasn’t ready to embark on a life as a coach. I didn’t know WHO to coach. What is my value anyway, really? Who the Hell am I? Why am I even here?
Yes. The existential crisis. If you’re familiar with the Dark Night of the Soul, I’m both sorry and excited for you. Mine plunged me to the very depths, and I even questioned my sanity. I began to type the questions in my head into the Google search field, which delivered me to a Gifted Adult Self-Test.
As I scrolled down the list of defining Gifted characteristics, tears rolled down my cheeks and I oscillated between two identities: worthlessness and limitless potential. The only thing to do was to find a coach that specializes in working with the Gifted.
Coaching takeaways were profound, mind-blowing… and certainly life-altering.
In the first session, we made a clear agenda for our work: to construct my own “algorithm” based on my needs, understanding that prioritizing these needs is essential for me to thrive. The word thrive made me pause. I really had no idea what that would look like.
Identifying my own special needs and honoring them has taken me on an unexpected fulfilling journey in every facet of life: creatively, professionally, spiritually, socially, and geographically. Since “liberating [my] genius,” I am living an entirely new life. And thriving. And the best thing about it is that it was created exclusively by me.
So, my niche is my people. I help gifted and creative people identify, create, and accelerate into their most authentic lives. I spend my time in meaningful conversations with my own tribe, which means I am learning, growing, and expanding through these conversations too! And I’m honored to be of service, authentic, and thriving in purpose.