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Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…
Lily Jenkins

Welcome to a special edition of Good Enough Mother Life Lessons! With school right around the corner, we thought it would be great to devote some time and space to the people who are so good to our kids.. educators! Hope you enjoy these special Life Lessons and happy school year to teacher, students AND their parents!

Are you happy at the moment?

I am very happy! My life has had a whirlwind of challenges, but not without a drive to press through it. Even with all the degrees, experience, and accolades, my greatest joy right now is doing what I love: coaching! I am striving to reach the ultimate goal of being a premier, highly sought after teacher/trainer/consultant/coach in the purpose development industry. This is an industry at its beginning stages but the business world is taking it by storm. We (my husband and I) are excited to seeing the developments and know we are in the right place. We have the blessing, now we’re expecting the window of opportunity. What will make me even happier will be to work smarter and not harder anymore, working less hours doing what I love but be fulfilled knowing that I’m making an even larger impact in the world.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Learn to take the advice of those that have come before you. My whole childhood, I was adopted and raised by my grandparents. They were old school and had much wisdom, but with all that they provided, I still did not take everything they said as golden. It wasn’t until I left home for college that things really hit me. Had I followed them to a ‘T’, many of the later struggles would have been null and void. Sixteen-year-olds always seem to push the envelope simply because they feel they can. They know how to rationalize and manipulate the system. They are very inquisitive to say the least. They also know more sooner in their teenage lives than many of us did at their age. However, if many of them had the instruction or wisdom of grandparents who were just like them in school, who knew the struggles with peer pressure and the challenges of adolescence, our younger generation would make better choices that would help them along the way.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

Can I be honest? The one most important thing I’ve learned is marketing using social media. Yes, I know I’m a little behind. However, even though I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and email newsletters, I didn’t know the ends and odds to marketing them for engagement. Not only am I an educator—I will admit—I am also like many others who have side businesses that bring in other income streams. This season in my life has afforded me the opportunity to learn from coaches and social media gurus on how to leverage my business in various ways. So I’m looking forward to the outcome and the manifestation of all things good for me!

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

More fulfillment, more freedom, more time with my family, and a premier network for women on purpose—teaching, training, and coaching women to succeed purposefully!

What’s your secret to happiness?

Being content in whatever situation I am in. I do my best to not focus on what I don’t have. Instead think of all that is around you that makes you happy. If your ‘WHY’ for being here is not etched out, it’s time to think about that. My God, my husband, my kids, and my family…all give me so much joy. They are my greatest cheerleaders. Nothing else matters. Yes, the house, car, diamonds, purses, escapades, even shoes J are nice, but when they are all gone, then what? Who and what you have in this moment means so much more.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Definitely prayer. I can’t do anything without seeking God for strength to get through all that He would have me to do for His glory. My businesses, my job as a professor, my time mentoring and coaching others, even my time writing books that inspire cannot be done without His guidance. It is truly what keeps me not only grounded, but sane!

What’s your biggest regret?

I frequently tell others to be life-long learners, but I’ve found that there were times when I, myself, didn’t do what I’ve told others to. We all have many passions, abilities, talents, and skills. You don’t have to stick to one way of doing things. I am an educator.

I love to teach and train others. I feel I am in my element and it’s when my light shines the brightest. But I’ve always wanted to also be a nail technician, a real estate agent, a franchise owner, and an attorney. Why didn’t I pursue those careers, I don’t know. But I will say this: if there is something you want to do, you can do it. It’s just up to you with how far you want to go! Live life with no regrets! No limitations! No apologies!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

My grandmother taught me this and I have passed it down to my daughter (especially) and my two step-sons. She used to always tell me, “You can have book smarts all day long, but if you have no common sense, you won’t be able to make it in this world.”

Learn to not allow people to take advantage of you. When you don’t know the answer to something, speak up and ask. It’s okay not to know. But when you do get the answers, use it for your benefit, not your detriment.”

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Not having the patience to sustain me through tests of faith. I love seeing things happen NOW. Of course, when that doesn’t happen, I get irritated. I live by the adage, “What you see today will be your tomorrow.” This implies that if you see something in your future long enough, it will eventually come to pass. But for me, I look at that, and many things, literally for what it is. This puts me in a place of compromise and that is not something I’m used to. I have to wait. Lesson: there is a time and a purpose for everything. I have to be willing to wait my turn. For it’s coming—if I would just have faith enough to see it through.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I’m most proud of my tenacity of completing 4 advanced degrees when the odds could have told a different story. I was not raised with my mother or father. I was given to and adopted by my grandparents at 2 months old after a bout with Tuberculosis. According to the doctors, I was supposed to die. But through prayer, I survived. I grew up ‘different’ according to society. I was a loner, didn’t have many friends, and when I tried to make friends, their parents thought I was a bad influence. But my grandmother always talked highly of me because only she knew my future. Since then, I’ve graduated from college, with two of my advanced degrees, with honors, and have taught for more than 16 years.

When at first, I never spoke, was shy, timid, and sickly, my stage is my classroom, my training room, my coaching call. I’m proud that I did not give up. Did I have obstacles that I had to overcome? Many! But I don’t look like what I’ve been through.

When were you happiest?

When students or people I’ve worked with through consulting or coaching come back and give testimonies of how I made a difference in their lives, I’m the happiest! Students go off, complete college or take up trades and become very successful. They remember the motherly wisdom I gave. They knew what to expect going into college. NOT EASY! Adults I have taught or even coached tell me of the businesses they’ve started, ministries they’ve formed, or jobs they’ve obtained. I will always say, TEACHING is most rewarding and the most needed profession in our world today.

What ten words best describe you?

Intense. Purpose-driven. Optimistic. Straight-forward. Realistic. Nurturer. Inspiring. Conqueror. Favored. Blessed.

What is the best way parents can help you in the coming year?

Talk to your children about the value of education. Don’t just drop your children off with the expectancy that they will do well on their own. Get involved. Volunteer at your child’s school, go on field trips, make parent-teacher conferences, and check behind your children on their homework. Children want to know that you care about their success.

Extra-curricular activities are important for your children, but make sure their grades are of primary importance.

When I’m not teaching Writing and Communications at the University of Phoenix, you can find me coaching women on how to use Purpose as their greatest resource (Lady of Purpose Network), coaching aspiring writers to write their life’s work in record time and editing professional materials (UpgradeU Writing and Editing Services), and speaking at various venues.

I am married to the most wonderful man, Donald, who I believe was sent by God just so that I could truly tap into my purpose! We both are on a crusade in taking the message of purpose development to the world (Purpose Development Institute). We both have three children, one daughter and two sons and are the product of a blended family. But you would never know it because they all look alike, get along beautifully, and love each other very much!

I and my family live in the Atlanta area. You may also reach me on Twitter @DrLilyJenkins and on Facebook.