05.23.13 Truth & Wisdom
Looking back on your life, have you ever thought about the real keys to success? When I look back on mine, I acknowledge that I have been gifted with opportunity and education at every turn, but not the type you may be thinking. My journey has been one of exploration, findings, dreams, heartache and struggle- to find myself and discover my own personal answers. I am grateful for every lesson and continue to learn every day.
I believe that education is all-important, particularly learning how to learn, to think, grow and be. Human beings will always have a natural curiosity to explore the world around them. For me, this wanderlust found me travelling to Brazil as a wide-eyed 16-year-old girl from a farm in Australia.
But each person’s journey is unique to their individual experiences. And while this path is guaranteed to present challenges and difficulties along the way, there are certain elements I believe will light the way.
These are my top 5 fundamental keys to success:
1. Life Skills
My thirst for knowledge began at the age of 16 when I was given the opportunity to travel and live in Brazil. As a farm girl from Australia, I was struck by the culture, the language and the exposure to other kids from around the world. That was in 1995, before the age of the Internet or mobile phones; travel was our real education to the world. This experience taught me to think on my feet, to network and to survive with my charm and street smarts without my parents guiding my every step.
2. Formal Education
What I discovered in Brazil was a love of travel and perhaps a career living abroad. This meant one thing: formal education. So with my dreams defined, I studied hard to get into university. Once here, I charted my course to educating myself in a career that would take me around the world.
I knew that without the proper qualifications behind my name, I would not reach my full potential. And so, although he may be young, I want to prepare my own son with the best possible education that I can. He is enrolled at the Montessori school here in Dubai and, even at the age of 2 years, I am in awe of his growth and development. The school is based on the philosophy that children learn best by doing; and that happy, self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves. This in turn promotes their confidence and self-esteem. It is this can-do mentality that I believe fosters a spirit of wanting to succeed.
3. Money Skills
At university, I learnt that if I wanted to realize my dream of getting a degree and going abroad, I would need to pave my own way forward financially. I saw the impact that student loans and credit card debt could have on my future. And so through sacrifice, hard work and determination, I worked three jobs while attending university to be able to graduate debt-free. I changed my study to part-time and focused on getting a foothold in my chosen field.
4. Emotional Intelligence
This is often our biggest life challenge. It’s when everyhting we’ve worked for seems to bear no relevance as something greater is lost or taken away from us. For me, this was the loss of my mother when I was 26 years old. Mourning the loss of my mentor and best friend, the skin on my face literally started peeling off. My face was an outer expression of what I felt inside: scorched and angry at the harsh conditions life had served me. It became so extreme that, with no skin from my nose downwards, my employer asked me to take a leave of absence from work.
It was not until I met with a life coach that I started to heal. In losing my face to the world, I saw that my skin mirrored my self-doubt, judgment and need for approval. Slowly I learnt to peel away these layers of insecurity and replace them with a shiny new armor, one of strength, courage and self-confidence.
5. Well Being & Spirituality
Today, at this time in my life as a mother, I am re-learning the importance of health and well-being; not just for myself, but especially for my family and my children. I want to live a long healthy life and be there for them. I believe a good sense of self love and respect will always take you to the doctor when you’re off centre.
It is with these principles in mind that I wish to raise my son. Education, to me, means creating a well-rounded individual who is conscious of his own strengths and is capable of using them to create his own success. And these fundamentals of education are priceless.