Hi, I’m Leah Veazey, career pathway coach for students (and adults!) who are tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, or just plain afraid of making a life-defining career choice. I help them confidently and purposefully select a career path so that they can pursue with clarity and inspiration a profession that has the promise to bring contentment, fulfillment, and accomplishment to their lives.
My original career path led me straight to counseling and coaching. No! That is not true at all.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life when I left high school. Well, that’s a bit closer, but not entirely true, and it most definitely did not work out according to that plan.
I knew in 6th grade what my heart wanted me to do – help children and animals. Bingo! True! (And it’s documented in the autobiography of my eleven year-old self)
Are you curious to want to hear the story? It all started a long, long time ago…no, I won’t do that to you! I will back it up to high school, which honestly, was a long, long time ago. When I graduated from high school, I had an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and was planning on studying aerospace engineering. My dad had flown F4 Phantoms off the USS Midway during Vietnam and was an instructor at Miramar Naval Air Station (yes, Top Gun). My mom taught school at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay, Philippines. Therefore, I knew what I was getting myself into by going to Annapolis, and I was excited about all of it. I don’t know if it was because I had barely turned eighteen when I went, that it was my first time away from home by myself, or that my inner self who wanted to be a mom and help kids and animals was rebelling, but whatever it was (probably a combination of all three), I did not stay. I transferred to the University of Texas, Austin. As soon as I arrived, I knew I had made a mistake leaving the Academy, but there was no going back because that ship had sailed.
I was lost. Depressed. Embarrassed. When visiting my hometown, people I didn’t know would make disparaging comments to me about leaving the Academy. At UT, I didn’t know what to study or do with myself, so I made up my own course schedules. Not advisable, by the way. I ran in the Austin music scene photographing bands and meeting all kinds of touring national groups and artists. Then there were the jobs. In the spirit of saving time, I’ll just list them (in no chronological or preferential order): clerk at bookstores/clothing shops/confectioners/novelty shops, pizza delivery, flower girl, waitress, cocktail waitress, bartender, front desk clerk, paper mill parts warehouse clerk, music store manager, and horseback riding instructor. Every one that I did was in search of a path, a solution for an internal drive, an answer to a question. The pathway took years to reveal itself and took a toll on my self-esteem and confidence– something that I do not want you to struggle with. The lack of a plan and the indecisiveness kept everything so unsettled. The confusion was deafening. The uncertainty was tangible. All directions were disappointing and felt like distractions. Every seemingly wrong turn chipped away at my confidence in my capabilities, intelligence, and self-worth. Behind all of this, I could hear the world’s largest clock ticking.
Somewhere, somehow – I can’t tell you exactly how it happened, divine intervention, I’m sure – during a rare quiet moment, my head and heart remembered what my eleven year-old self had declared. I want to help children and animals! Now the big question, how?
As you would imagine, by this point, my parents just wanted me to graduate. After all, my younger brother was close on my heels with his college degree. I was returned home from Austin, and I transferred to SFA State University. Although teaching had never been one of my callings, apparently a degree in English and history was about the only thing that the advisor could pull from my UT transcript – a big step from aerospace engineering. My dad declared that I needed a teaching degree to go with it. Being a bit chagrinned and wanting to wrap up this college ordeal, I went along with it and in three semesters and two summers, I graduated.
No, to answer your question, I did not begin teaching then. I went right back into what I had been doing, working at a music store and eventually into management. The insight from all my past work experience, that working with people energizes me, combined with my yearning to be of service to others, eventually led me into the classroom. While I adored my students and watching their growth and discovery, the disciplining was absolutely not my thing. I looked around and my eleven year-old self spoke up again, and this time I understood – I wanted to go into counseling to help others make a positive difference in their lives! Back to school to become a certified school counselor. Ha! Note the irony in that! For over twenty years, I had a fulfilling career as a high school counselor. Serving in that position allowed me to help people set goals and plan for the future, navigate relationship issues, develop communication skills, and figure out who they are.
After years of searching, I finally landed where I was meant to be, doing what I was made to do, and everything changed. As I watched “my kids” successfully complete high school and move on to their adult lives, regardless of the obstacles, a feeling of self-worth was reborn in me. Pride in their accomplishments and fulfillment in mine drove me year after year to develop my skills and knowledge and to push myself further. I found my superpower – working with teens and young adults. During my counseling years, I had the opportunity to not only work with students, but parents, extended families, and staff from many walks of life and with varied background stories. Those years brought me face to face with some of the most devastating, heart-breaking situations imaginable, but also up-close and personal with students’ and families’ greatest successes and joys. But then, it was time to move on from public school and into new experiences.
So here we are. The twisted path that I took in realizing my life’s purpose enables me to appreciate and understand the gnawing drive in others to find their purpose, their calling, or their new direction. I do what I do to help save you the frustration and seemingly wasted time of frantically searching for your career path, so you aren’t aimlessly stumbling around until you find your way. If you are ready to silence that self-doubt and mental noise in your head so you can move forward with your life, contact me and I will help you clear the path to your new future.