I could sit and people watch all day…making up stories about who they are and what they’re up to. Not in a judgmental way, but in a curious way. I find people to be absolutely fascinating! (Any other people watchers out there?) It's not just strangers; I'm fascinated by my friends, family, and peers too. I want to peel back the layers and understand why they do what they do…from the really big intentional decisions to the unconscious everyday choices.

Why do we do what we do?

We're each like a million-piece puzzle…with every moment representing one tiny puzzle piece. All the other pieces (our past) have influenced this moment (our present) and there is a much larger—unknown—picture (our future) that each moment is building up to.

I want to put each puzzle together.

I want to understand the pattern in people's pieces.

I want to see the picture.

I want to know all of the stories—the whole person, not just the piece in front of me.

It's easy for me to be curious about other people…but to turn that curiosity around on myself; to figure out what all of my pieces are and what I want my bigger picture to be…THAT’S HARD!

Let me see you, but don't look at me.

That doesn't seem like a fair trade, but how many of us go through life this way…wanting to understand the people around us but deep down not really understanding ourselves. Taking the time to understand ourselves is an act of courage and sharing ourselves requires vulnerability.

"The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I'm willing to show you. In you, it's courage and daring. In me, it's weakness." -Brené Brown


What if we saw ourselves as fascinating…in the same curious way we are fascinated by others?

If we stick with the puzzle analogy…

What are the important puzzle pieces that make up our past?

What does today's piece look like?

What do we want the bigger picture of our life to be?  

A Piece of My Past…

I lost my mom to suicide when I was 10. I didn't share that piece of me with many people because I didn't want anyone to judge her or feel sorry for me. My mom was an amazing woman and her final act doesn't define her in the way that people tend to define suicide. By hiding this piece of me, I was denying all that I am because of her…the millions of lessons and the strength of her love (I don't know how she fit it all into 10 short years, but she did).

When she died, my life shifted to autopilot. I lived a life of shoulds, doing whatever others thought I should do and whatever would draw the least amount of attention. I got good grades, I stayed out of trouble (for the most part), I played sports, I went to college, started teaching, went back to college, got a job with the ability to impact even more people, went back to college again… I was living my life, but I wasn’t fully owning my life.

In hindsight, I see that going to college became my way of avoiding life…I couldn't (insert the blank) because I had to study. That worked until I was finishing up my PhD and had to write my dissertation. I flip-flopped around a few topics and was dragging my feet to fully commit to a study. My dissertation chair, who uses lived experiences as a form of research, challenged me to study myself. WHOA!

Today’s Piece… My Present

I finished the dissertation, but my study continues. I'm still peeling back layers to learn more about the pieces that have informed my present. Even more important than my past, I recognize that I have the power to choose the current and future puzzle pieces; I get to decide what my bigger picture is going to be! 

I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but I'm learning to find myself fascinating.

Here is a tiny snippet of what I’ve learned about me…

· I still like to observe people—while I’m getting more comfortable with observing myself, having witnessed others for years has strengthened my skills of empathy, patience, curiosity, and the ability to hold space and listen without judgment.

· Trust is HUGE—if I don’t trust you then I can’t build any kind of relationship with you, so creating trust with my friends, family, and those I work with is a priority.

· A wish for my mom—I wish my mom would’ve had a safe space to process her story; to figure out her puzzle pieces and to find herself fascinating in the same way that everyone around her did. This is the gift I want to give to the world.

The Bigger Picture… My Future

My self-study has led me to create Courageous Feats. While my bigger picture will evolve with me, I know that my life’s work is in the process of self-evolution. I want to help others learn to find themselves fascinating and empower them to choose their bigger picture.

YOUR TURN…Share in the Comment Box below

What are the important puzzle pieces of your past?

What does today's piece look like?

What do you want the bigger picture of your life to be?

MUCH gratitude to my mama, Dr. Guajardo, my dad, and all the family & friends who've held space to witnessed me in my journey. I love you all…CHINGOS!