No Fences

On stage at my first TEDx event, I recalled a turning point in my life. In the first year of grad school, my professor Marshall Swift, of blessed memory, played “Glinda the Good Witch” to my “Dorothy.”

Sinking fast into the deep end of a pool of self-pity, Marshall extended his kind hand to pull me up from the depths. It felt like one of the lowest, lost points in my life.

To my utter surprise, Marshall saw my potential. I was stunned when he invited me to speak up more, reassuring me that what I had to say would benefit my classmates.

As I shared from that TEDxYouth stage in 2018, his invitation ended over 20 years of hiding my true self, covered in a thick blanket of shame woven from threads of failing to meet expectations.

Marshall was not your conventional professor. He was a crafty guy, an innovator. Psychologists never get to use half of the tools from the research at our disposal to help our clients. As long as psychologists remain grounded in the science, he showed me that we can (and even should) take professional risks.

Sometimes, the economics of the healthcare system hold us back. Sometimes, we don’t innovate to apply the science. Mostly, psychologists suffer from an insidious version of imposter syndrome. We stack up our ethical and scientific constraints to build high fences that we say protect our clients, when they really keep us safe from taking professional risks that we fear might not work.

It took me a couple of decades to realize the full meaning of what Marshall showed me. During that time, I attained the entrepreneurial skills to create a new model for delivering psychology to the people who need it the most: the parents of our next generation of leaders.

I am a rare variant of psychologists who finds ways to expand our impact beyond the therapy hour. I have studied marketing to learn how to share my insights with the world. I have studied copywriting, wrote two books, designed and run workshops, spoke in public, blogged, vlogged, and podcasted.

I dedicate the evolution of my practice to my professor and one of the kindest humans that I have known, Marshall Swift.

Supporting our team with top business coaches and consultants, with a team that I feel honored to have attracted, we provide the highest possible service to families and kids. Putting all of those pieces together, we are scaling those fences.

photo credit: Ramiro Mendes/Unsplash