Heal Yourself First
Since I was a kid, people treated me like a grownup…always talking about their problems. I was always listening… always the go-to, advise-giver to my friends and family members. I was always a psychologist.
I was a manager, leading and managing a lot of employees. (Yet) I am doing psychology – employee development. I had 300 employees, developing them into future managers and future leaders. I was helping them develop as leaders. I was encouraging them to step up and show up, be functional and meet their potential so that they can meet their goals personally and professionally. I was always praised for it. It was easy and natural for me.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
I was on a conference call, listening to people talk and hearing myself speak. The topics were superficial, there was a lot of posing and posturing… the way people do in the corporate world. I thought, ‘I cannot do this until I’m 90. I have to do me, being me, so that it’s not work.
By going through the process of getting my credentials, I would take a journey that was optional, but have multiple iterations of an evolving career over my lifetime, so it was not work. It was new chapters; teaching, research, counseling, writing… and it was just clear to me that that was the path I was going to go down. The right path, but a long one. When I see the world of coaching …that would have been easier, but I know that the process I went through, to become a PhD, really matured me and created the clinician within me that led to the clinician coach essence of who I am. It’s great and it’s natural.
What were the challenges?
The educational journey was tricky. I had a business background and counseling made sense. It was a real long journey. You have to compartmentalize it. It teaches you presence and teaches you to do in the moment. I need to think about now. I’m not worried about the dissertation. I had to put one foot in front.
There were the limiting beliefs, areas where I struggled, where I got over my head and got uncomfortable. I thought, ‘You can learn. Keep focusing. You can learn and get the support you need.’ I could see myself becoming that psychologist.
It was incredibly challenging. I was working for a medical device company and doing coursework at night. I had two full time jobs, wanting to get where I wanted to go, with a long journey to licensure. It took almost seven years, running on the treadmill until someone tells me to stop. I did it full time while working full time.
Once I became an intern, I was seeing clients and writing my dissertation on the weekends and at night. It was an extensive and overwhelming experience. I had to write one sentence at a time. One paragraph at a time. One page at a time. I was so far over my head. My charm and charisma would not work. But I kept showing up. I put in hours and hours, moving myself toward the end goal. It was more intensive than I knew or imagined. If I’d known it would be like this, I would have never done it. I’m glad I didn’t know.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
It was a metaphor for life. It felt like a lifetime journey. Learning. Struggling. Dealing with limiting beliefs and addressing them. I was in the belly of it and growing through it. Writing the dissertation and studying for the board exam was highly difficult. It was a journey within the journey. Now I’m Dr. Tracy Thomas. That’s who I’ve always been. That’s what my title is.
What advice would you give to others that are contemplating finally living their dream?
My advice for anyone who is thinking about making their dreams a reality is, “What are you waiting for?!”
Every person has been designed to be a unique model and often I find that many of my clients end up sacrificing their dreams for other securities. The problem is, that you have natural talents and dreams that are aligned with who you are at the fundamental psychological and physical level. Even though it may seem like a huge leap to go after your dreams, what I have found is that it is a much bigger risk to never realize your dreams, because that is what you are meant to do.
You are here to be you and the only way to do that is to go after what you want wholeheartedly. When people live a life that isn’t aligned to their internal values and desires, the mind and body suffer. When you suffer, those around you suffer because energy is contagious.
So follow your dreams and the world will be happier for it.
To learn more about Dr. Tracy Thomas, click here.