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Simple as ABCD - Application... Belief...Courage and Determination

By: Cecile Riddle


Anthony was 26 years old when he walked into my office in April 2002. He looked pretty glum.


He said he was “lost” and in fact had “meandered from job to job, thinking he knew what he wanted in his life". He had partially completed a Diploma in Business Marketing, enrolled in a security course, worked as a warehouse manager, in retail, data entry and even joined the Air Force (for the perceived camaraderie) but left after a month. He said he was experiencing great frustration and was disappointed and that his life wasn’t fulfilling.


In that first session, Anthony’s opinion of himself turned around. He was a gentle person who had been bullied at school and this had lowered his self esteem. We completed his ‘Personality Dimensions’ temperament assessment and he realised, for the first time in his life, who he was and that his gentleness, capacity for empathy and compassion, and his writing talent, were gifts. Anthony’s demeanor changed to one of exhilaration as he told me that he wrote poetry but had not told anyone because it wasn’t “cool”. I encouraged him to bring it to our next session.


Over the next few sessions we determined and analysed his values, desires, talents and occupational interests. We concluded that his core career would involve “inspiring and guiding others”. I asked Anthony what he really felt passionate about. He said his dream was to teach English, History, Psychology and Social Science, “but that’s not possible” he said. I said “Ya wanna bet”.


Together we mapped out how he could achieve his dream. First, he needed to get his poetry published, so he could then believe in his talent. The look on his face said “Like that’s ever going to happen”. Well, guess what? It did. He joined a writing group and not only did he get his poetry published but he won a prize!


The next step was to make sure that teaching was going to be what he expected it to be. So I got Anthony to do some informational interviewing of teachers. Once he decided that this career matched his values, preferred skills and work satisfiers, we then had to apply (through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre – VTAC) to get into a suitable course. There are a number of Bachelor of Arts courses run by five major universities in his area and Anthony interviewed the course coordinators to see which he felt most comfortable with.


When his VTAC application wasn’t successful, I encouraged him to speak to various TAFE coordinators and apply directly to do professional writing and editing or a Diploma of Arts course, from which he could then transfer into a Bachelor of Arts course. And that’s what he did. He was selected in the second round offers.


In 2005 he was in his final year at La Trobe University studying for a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English Literature. He was such a great student that he was offered an Honours year. It’s 2007, and he is now teaching and loves it.


Anthony writes: “I used to work in a warehouse thinking that was all I could aspire to. It wasn’t a bad job, but I just knew I didn’t belong. I had no confidence, motivation or self-worth until Cecile made me realise who I am, understood me and unlocked my inner beliefs and talents. For this I am truly grateful. Instead of doing a job that ‘society’ deems appropriate, Cecile has made me aware of my inner voice (vocation) - what occupation is right for me-a career I would enjoy and excel at”.

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