Where I Started
During the next four years of high school I lived and breathed for this one purpose. I devoured books about other doctors who had made the journey and tried to imagine myself in their shoes. One of my favorites books, The Pact highlighted the journeys of three black doctors from Newark, New Jersey. I knew if they could do it, I could too.
I went one to graduate second in my class in high school and received a full scholarship to attend Swarthmore College. There I majored in Biology and Pre-med. The dream continued to burn strongly in my heart and I dove head long into my studies. I also continued to pursue internship opportunities in the medical field. The capstone opportunity was a 2-month internship in Haiti, where I shadowed a surgeon during a number of surgeries including a leg amputation of a diabetes patient.
After graduating from college, I quickly started preparing for the MCAT; I was just a few steps away from my dream.
Coming to the end of one Road, Taking a Different Path
Sometime during the process of preparing for Medical School, I started doing something that I had not done before. I started to think deeply about the road on which I was embarking. I started asking myself some poignant questions. Is this truly what I want to do? Do I have a passion for this career, beyond just the excitement of attaining the prestige and honor associated with it? The more I reflected, the more I realized that the motivation that had been driving me for so long was a need for prestige and accolade. I didn’t have a deep desire to help heal the physically sick and disabled. In my heart, I knew the only reason I wanted to be a doctor was because I wanted to feel important. It was a self-serving motive, rather than a selfless pursuit.
I spent the next two years weighing my options and gathering input from others. Not seeing a rekindling of the passion I had at the first, I decided to forgo Medical School altogether and decided to focus instead on working. This was a difficult decision for me, especially because I did not have a backup plan. I felt like a failure and I was embarrassed by how things had turned out. But I also knew that I had made the right decision.
One year later, I started learning about Organizational Leadership through the works of Dave Ramsey, Jim Collins, and John Maxwell. I became intrigued with the idea of mentoring, teaching, and coaching others, things which I enjoyed but never really explored before. When I got the call to join my current organization’s leadership team, a new path opened up to me. I find that I can nicely tie my passion for teaching and mentoring others with the work that I get to do on a daily basis.
Where I Am Today
Today, I manage a team of over 100 team members, and I can sincerely say that I love my job. Each day brings a new challenge which keeps me engaged and challenged. I don’t know what the future holds for me. I know that God guided me when I look back on my journey. For many years I had planned my steps, but ultimately God knew where he needed me. Those who knew me well growing up always told me that I was well suited for teaching. Today, I get to teach and coach my team on the skills they need to be successful in their roles.
Where Can You Go From Here?
Perhaps you are going through a similar situation, wondering what to do next, or facing a tough decision about a potential career shift. Take things one day at a time and do everything with the highest level of excellence. Often we get so caught up in planning for the future that we forget that the present is in need of our attention as well. It is as you excel in the day-to-day, sometimes mundane, tasks that you will build the confidence and influence to be trusted with more responsibilities.
And if nothing else, remember that God knows exactly where he wants you to be, and he will lead you there in his time.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6).
– Led by the Book