The career placement test I took in 9th grade revealed that I would make a great curator. Wait, what? I had no idea what a curator was or what they did. I remember thinking, “Are those the people who take care of dead bodies?” In those days, I didn’t have Siri in my pocket to help me. I had to wait for my mom to help me sort it out — A curator picks out what art pieces should be displayed in museums.

I can’t remember my mom’s response. If my 9th grader came home with a career placement test telling him he was well-suited to be a curator, I’d for sure say something like, “Wow. That’s random. Let’s pick another career.”

So, this idea of being a curator has been rolling around in my head for 20 something years (notice that a career involving numbers wasn’t recommended). I took the winding road when it came to college. I started at Michigan State, took time off to live in Guatemala, came home, got married, took random classes, started an accelerated degree program, had a baby at the end of the program, added 3 more kids to our family, and finally finished up my last 9 credits and received my bachelor’s degree in 2013. My oldest was 9 years old.

My degree is in family life education. I have always loved learning about people. I had thought that eventually I’d pursue a master’s in counseling but the end of 2013 held some heavy things for me, including the hardest thing that I’ve faced in life, the sudden death of my dad at 64.

His death wrecked me and also woke me up to many areas in my life where I had been living instinctually rather than intentionally. A few years prior, I had started becoming aware of unhealthy patterns in my life and I was slowly learning more about who I am wired to be. The grief journey allowed me the space to stop doing everything that wasn’t necessary and grieve. During this time I realized I didn’t really have a burning desire to be a counselor. That and many more realizations were made during that time of grieving, but for now, we’ll stick to the career topic.

Something that came to the surface after that year of grief (I’m going to write another post about that year and the digging in that I did– because I think that grief isn’t discussed enough) was that it was time for my husband and I to pursue the dream of living overseas that we both had.

Fast forward to a few years later, leaving the wonderful friends we made in beautiful Malaysia. We were being forced out because of visa issues. It turned out that the leadership at the school my husband worked for had misled us about many things, and was not willing to take the necessary steps to provide the appropriate visas. There’s so much more to this story, but I haven’t fully processed it enough to share it.

We arrived back in the States dishevelled, and on the brink in our marriage and finances.  Before we left for Malaysia, I started a master’s degree in ESL, thinking that would be very helpful as we lived overseas. When it was time for my next semester to start, I was feeling uneasy about dishing out large sums of money (that we didn’t have) to pursue a degree I didn’t know if I wanted.

I began allowing myself to dream about what I really wanted to do with my life. I really wanted to help people. I wanted to use my degree and life experiences to encourage people who feel tired, stuck and unfulfilled in their lives.

I researched life coaching programs and stumbled on a health coaching certification program that incorporated all parts of health – physical, mental and spiritual. When I shared my new idea with my husband, his response was something along the lines of — “I think that’s what you were made to do.” I’m grateful for his encouragement because I needed it. We took a leap of faith, in an already turbulent time, and I started the program.

Now, 14 months later, I’m realizing that I have become a curator. Instead of deciding what art to hang on museum walls, I help people uncover the beautiful masterpieces inside themselves and hang them on the walls of their lives. Together, we clear away the clutter that has piled on top of the beauty and figure out ways to keep that art the focal point of their lives.

I help my clients decide what strategies would be best for them to implement. My job is to learn about them and sift through all the transformational information in order to provide them with an easy-to-implement plan that provides lasting change in their lives.

I’m so nerdy about digging into all the information about what holds us humans back from being fully alive and delivering that information to people in small, easy to digest packages. It’s my own form of curating.

There are so many beautiful works of art, but if they were all displayed in one place at one time, it would be overwhelming. One piece displayed in the right way creates the biggest impact.

That’s what I do. That’s why I call myself a health development strategist instead of a wellness coach now. I don’t coach people on how to live their lives. I listen to who they are and how they live their lives and where they want to go. My clients are smart and don’t need me to teach them much. They just need a little help dusting off old pieces and displaying them.

I guess the career placement test wasn’t so far off. It planted a seed in me that has grown. It took me many years and a lot of winding paths but I’m curating the crap out of the beauty in people’s lives — and I’m loving it!

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