D is for determination.


As I sit here and attempt to wrap up a few lingering items on my to-do list that still isn’t even close to being completely ta-done, I for some odd reason went back in memory to my 2nd or 3rd grade awards ceremony at the tiny private school I attended in North Texas.

While I’m sure my memory has dropped a few details of the story here and there over the years, I remember that three years in a row during those early developmental years I won the exact same award. Every year. Over and over again.

I assumed the teachers hadn’t conferred with one another because what an uninspired mix of designations this was if the same student were to win the same award each year. But it happened. Every time I marched up on that stage to claim my certificate for…

“Most Determined”

Seriously? Most determined? What does that even mean to a 2nd grader? What a beating.

In my mind’s eye I remember envisioning those teachers looking at me and noting how aggressively I put pencil to paper on any and every assignment at my desk. Literally. I would start work with such intense focus that I never heard “time’s up” or “Sarah, how’s it going?” no matter how loudly they attempted to interrupt. “I must change that next year,” I would tell myself.

To me, “most determined” wasn’t really a great award. It was a cop-out to save all of the better awards for others more deserving, like “most patient” or “most positive attitude.” Receiving my award was like winning most improved in a sport – the kid who sucked the worst always got it.

As I have grown older and randomly think back to those awards, I realize that determination is one of the core character traits that has shaped every important endeavor in my life. Those teachers very well could have pegged me for who I was, or it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way… from multiple high school state championship runs & MVP designations to Academic All-American status & hopeful walk-on to Baylor University’s national championship basketball team… from Dean’s List almost every semester in college to what today has evolved into a sincere passion for my career. That determination is what has likely carried me through so many obstacles to where I am today, and will continue to propel me over hurdles in the future.

My best guy friend in college used to describe me as an “aggressive” personality – he used to tell me how we would have never worked out had we ever dated because I simply couldn’t take no for an answer – I was determined to see things through. Today, he tends to refer to that aggressive personality as “passion” for life & for what I do… a smart move, I must say, for any husband in his situation. 🙂

I am more than proud today at the age of 27 of the determination I have inside of me, and I don’t think I could do my job well without it. I’m not saying I solve world peace or send shuttles into space (barring, of course, any interaction I have with Virgin Galactic), but I do hold a role that requires a sincere dedication each day to taking small steps forward toward a larger goal sometimes years in the making. Determination is what continues to put one foot in front of the other, even when days or weeks may go by with out a tangible sign of improvement or success.

Kudos to those who are patient and especially to those who have the gift of positivity. Those are true talents and require more energy than what I could ever muster. But today – almost 20 years beyond that 2nd grade awards ceremony – I’m quite proud to be most determined and feel lucky to be exactly that.

Next up? Work on winning most positive-patty attitude… if I use two exclamation marks after every sentence I write, is that a good start?!! Wow!! I think it really works!! What a great day!! Fairy dust!! Hooray!! Unicorns!! I bet you’re smiling now!! That’s because I was determined to make it happen.

And… goodnight. 🙂



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