noun plural noun: credentials1. a qualification, achievement, personal quality, or aspect of a person's background, typically when used to indicate that they are suitable for something.
Above you will see the definition of credential, but for most of us we think of credentials as a degree, certificate, training, or such. A concrete physical matter than can be held in your hand and physically shown to the world. A beloved certificate, often with your name engraved, dated, and signed by the institution in which you dedicated years of learning, lack of sleep, migraine headaches, triumphs and joyous miraculous completion. Something to be cherished, remembered and shared with the world because your dedication shows determination, brilliance, and a profound platform of knowledge! It's huge, it's what you worked for, lived for, and breathed for. For all of you who steadfastly accomplished such amazing feats, congrats. The required dedication and follow through alone is worth hugs, pats on the back, stars, ribbons and a very healthy paying job.
After all the dedication and the hoopla is over, is that beautiful certificate/degree really what counts? As a firm believer in education being the key to change, brighter futures, and brilliant minds, I realized the other day while reading through many blogs, and jumping from post to page that I had little interest in what anyone held for a degree. And I had to wonder how if anyone else really cared either? I was more interested in personal triumphs, challenges they have overcome, and stories of personal victories. I wanted to know, the hows, the why's and whats.
On the flip side of this whole credential deal, I also found myself comparing myself to others credentials in my mind. Which got me inspired to write my own Personal list of credentials that have created my journey to where I am today. I started to realize two significant things about what my credentials say about me:
1) At 43 I am still learning
2) Each of our own achievements is as unique as the person achieving them, and in their own rights are special, important and triumphant.
From this moment forward I am going to express my sincere congratulations to anyone who has brilliantly achieved their degree in anything. Because after years of schooling, bouncing from one major to the next, I am still well over 2 years from getting my degree in anything except for maybe Liberal arts...I know the pain of ADD, the inability to focus, and sit still for any length of time, let alone not get bored by a subject after too long. So for those of you who have achieved this amazing status, I'm in awe, and yes I will get there even if I'm 90 just because it's what I want for me!
I am also declaring that with that same dedication to stop comparing my journey, and believe that my own personal credentials are more than enough. We all have wildly, crazy, yet profound lists of personal achievements waiting to share with the world. I for one am ready to stop comparing, and start sharing what really matters. Here is a small list of my personal credentials that have meaning to me.
On your mark, get set, GO!
Btw: These are not in any set order of importance or chronologically,
1) My two miracles: Courtney (25) and Victoria (21), my beautiful, loving, and hilarious children. They keep me sane when all else in life sometimes seem to be failing.
2) I have probably around 20 ribbons for best veggies and herbs. Yes I love gardening! It's cheap therapy.
3) I'm a certified CRMA and no I don't practice because I do not want to be responsible for someone else's health.
4) I have extensive training in Alzheimer's and end of life care. I spent almost 10 years between elder care in home settings and in facilities for all levels of Alzheimer's care.
5) My travel spans the East Coast from Maine (where I live) to the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel Island, maybe I will branch out and travel further someday, but it has honestly never been a top priority of mine in the past, and still isn't now.
6) I delivered my sister's last daughter, Tarra. It was discussed with her OBGYN and with her blessings, I was able to experience delivering a baby every step of the way. The most amazing, and breathe taking moment I have ever been able to be a part of. There just simply is nothing more incredible than bringing a life into the world, supporting that tiny body and hearing the first gasp of air. Not to mention a bond between my sister and I that most will never experience in a life time.
7) I owned a bead importing company for approx. 6 years, while my children were younger. It allowed me to be a stay at home mom while still making an extra $20,000 or so a year. I imported beads from India, Czech Republic, Africa, Germany, Italy, and went to International Bead & Jewelry Conventions up and down the East Coast to purchase and sell beads. Fun time of my life!
8) I received an honorable mention for a photo I submitted to the State of Maine for use on the state website out of 100's of entry's.
9) After reading an Oprah Bookclub book, I left a comment on her website in regards to my perspective on the book. Forgot about it. About a month later I am sitting in the Starbucks drive through with my best friend, and an unrecognized phone number shows up on my cell. Me being me, let it go to v-mail. Wow...and a bit dumbfounded was my surprise that it was the Editor in Chief for Oprah, and he wanted to let me know in person that he found my comment, well written, straight to the point, so much so that they wanted to explore using my input on one of their shows about the best seller book. Excited, but not enough to the point I was flying to Chicago for show on the book, so I declined, but I can tell you I was one happy girl that my brief article was recognized by the Editor!!
10) I am almost debt free. Careful planning, change of lifestyle, and an honest look at ME! How many people at 43 can say that they are almost out of debt vs. over their heads!
11) I got divorced after 15+ years. Yes it was an accomplishment. I married young, and was a stay at home mom for most of my life. I worked at jobs for fun, play money, extras that I wanted but never to fully support my family. So needless to say it was a shock to my system when I asked for my divorce, lost my house because I couldn't afford to live in suburbia, then lost my job and made the choice to move away from the city, to the country and re-evaluate my life. I can't say it was easy, but it's been worth it!!
12) I am almost done completing a 6 month course with Coach Training Alliance that I did fit into my budget, so it slowed down my debt free plan a smidgen, but realistically sometimes you have to spend money to make more money!
13) My sister and I took care of our Uncle, 3 years ago, who was actually younger than me, while he was sick and sadly passed from brain cancer at 39. He was more of a brother to my sister and I. Because of that we were his Power of Attorney and caretakers while he was ill, and though it broke my heart in pieces to watch him suffer, I would go back and do it all over again for one more moment with him, and to be able to help him find his peace to leave this world and go to a better place.
14) I overcame a huge battle with depression and anxiety after losing a friend(33) to ovarian cancer, my best friends husband (42) of self induced heart failure, and my sister-in-law (22) of brain cancer. They all passed in one year, and at my friends funeral, I became distraught and unable to let go, function and sometimes breathing became hard. One month later I went into therapy, and several years later, I was well on my way to living life again. All I can say, is that it was a black time in my life. I now have skills, tools, support and the ability to reach out when life is dealing me more than I can handle alone!
15) I learned how to can (I call it jarring) my own fruits, veggies, sauces, jellies and my personal favorite CHUTNEY's when I was 40. Happy Birthday To ME. I never thought I would love anything as much as I loved canning! The idea of knowing where your food is coming from, the hard work that goes into what your eating, and best of all my Chutney's were delicious and far fetched mixtures of what I had grown and purchased from local farms depending on the season! Endless possibilities, filled with creativity and hard work was worth every moment that I now spend doing something I truly love.
16) The only thing I have stayed true to for most of my adult life, is my meditation and journal writing. They have and still are my true love. I'm not perfect at either one of them. I may miss a day, but the reminder doesn't take long to kick my butt! For me it is my foundation for keeping my thoughts from spiraling out of control. I have a long journey with ADD, and those are by far the two biggest ways to go from crazy, hamster wheel thinking, to calm and peaceful thoughts.
17) I stand up for what I truly believe in, even if it costs me dearly. A company I worked for was making an honest mistake by not paying overtime. They felt that the description fell under the same area as nursing. So when I researched and found out that they should have been paying overtime and brought it to their attention. I can honestly tell you, they wanted me gone in the worst way. Not only were they required to pay Overtime, but they had to pay back over time for the last year of everyone's pay checks. It was a long road of getting them to own up, but in the end everyone was payed and they even let me keep my job.
18) I'm 99.9% introvert, and I'm still posting weekly and putting myself out there in front of more amazing folks than I could have possibly imagined I would do.
19) I had a crush on someone 28 years ago, but he was a friends boy-friend. There fore...Off limits. My crush and I went our separate ways through most of our adult life. We re-connected about 6 years ago, and have been together ever since.
20) We are building our own house, using trees cut from our land. The outside of the house is made of giant Re-cycled Styrofoam blocks that are filled with cement. Extremely energy efficient and green. I can't even begin to tell you the magnitude of things I have learned while building this home. We have done most of it ourselves, and although it is a slow process, again the hard work and commitment we have put into this will be worth every tear of sweat!
Credentials are in the eyes of the person you are working with, partnering with or being a friend too. As important as a certificate or degree may or may not be, it is equally important to explore your real life credentials. The ones that we far too often over look, or dismiss as not being significant. It's all relevant to life. I want to know what's worked, what hasn't. I'm encouraged by someone who has already gone through what I am going through, and comes out on the other side stronger, healthier and happier than before. I love true life exploration and all it uncovers and discovers in each of us.
We all have amazing stories, tools that strengthen, and skills we can teach, so lets share the untold, unwritten, and undocumented victories to the world!!
If you feel a desire to share your awesome credentials, I would love to hear them!!
Hope everyone is having an amazing week!