What Success Really Looks Like

October 1, 2015

Bright Spots and Blots Define a Career Trajectory

This article was originally published in the October 2015 Journal “Pathways to Leadership” for Learning Forward.

The image of success not being a straight, upward arrow but a big, messy scribbled blob defines my career trajectory perfectly. My work has moved forward, pushed upward, and stretched further, but it hasn’t been a smooth and easy path.

For nine years, I was a high school English teacher. Then Macbeth died in the last act every hour on the hour, and I needed to move on. I became a new teacher coach and a professional learning facilitator in one school district for 16 years, where I eventually found my consulting voice and moved from professional learning facilitator to author, consultant, and speaker.

In this last incarnation, I have reflected on the doodle blob of career growth and new adventures and found there are both spots of bright ink and messy dark splotches and blots. Icks and yeas! Stings and ouches as well as audible bravas. The real trajectory. Here is a sample of my blots and bright spots.

To read the full article, click here to download the full PDF .

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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Praise for Jennifer

A Favorite Among the Faculty

“Jennifer has so squarely hit the mark with our teacher-leaders that she is one of the few presenters that they are always requesting when professional development is the question. Here at the University of Chicago, this acclaim and recognition does not come easily! Jennifer has a way of presenting information that gets quickly to the heart of the matter. Her ability to read the true needs of the group, regardless of the original focus, has made her a favorite among the faculty here at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.”

Jason Lopez, Associate Director, Educational Programs
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL