The story that surprises people the most is that I was once expelled from an entire school division. Not just one school, I couldn’t attend a school in the entire division. I was violent.

At age 14, I had been suspended eight times in a year for violent behavior. The final straw was that I broke someone’s jaw and dislocated her shoulder. I did it because she flirted with my friend’s boyfriend. I was a bully and I didn’t show remorse when confronted. CFS visited me every couple of months and I was labeled “at risk.”

When people hear this, some don’t believe it. If you’ve never met me in person, I am warm, kind and friendly. I am most often mistaken as a yoga teacher.

The ones that do believe it, usually ask the more important question, “how did you change?” It is the secret to everything I teach, how I live my life and how I support others. I believe it is the five secrets to success and feeling joy.

1. Someone that Believes in You

After I was expelled, I went to live with an aunt. One day, I came home late and intoxicated. She was waiting for me. I expected her to scold and judge me, but instead she said, “I am disappointed. I didn’t expect you would do that.”

Before my aunt said that to me, there was not a person in my life who expected me to excel. When people are surrounded by others who expect them to mess up, they often do.

If you feel lost right now, find someone to believe in you. It could be calling a helpline, or having a conversation with your supervisor or partner. You are worthy of believing in.

If you are in the powerful position of managing others, let them know you believe in them, even through failures — especially through failures.

2. Surround Yourself with Good People

The friends I had at the old school were not a great influence. In my new school, I made friends with better people. Actually, at first I had some bad friends and one of them beat me up (karma is a great teacher too!) but after that, I was blessed with good friends.

My new friends gave me space and I could be myself around them. They were into cool bands, photography and obscure poetry. It felt edgy without causing harm. I am still friends with these people.

If you are surrounded by people who prevent you from your best work, you need to get some positive people in your life. It could start by sitting with new people in the lunch room or going to a meet-up. Find people you can be yourself with that are good influences. It is even better if you can find people at different levels.

3. Perseverance and not playing the Victim

I stopped seeing myself as a victim. I didn’t have a great childhood or all the things that I think young children need to feel loved, confident and safe. But, I started to see it as one part of my life story, instead of the rest of my life story.

I started to see myself as a smart and talented person. I shared positive stories about myself, embraced laughter, and absorbed myself into writing stories and poems.

It is hard. I have heard social researchers talk about perseverance and its importance. I have always been a fighter, I stopped physically fighting with others and started fighting for myself with positivity.

If you don’t like where you are right now, and you live in a Country that gives you rights and freedoms, you can do something about it. You don’t need to be a victim forever. Start by playing with the idea that you could be successful. Make a list of things you could start to do to feel more in control, and things you need to stop doing that place you in a victim role. You can control what the rest of your story looks like. Live something you would like to read about!

4. Channel your Strengths

Instead of standing up for other people by getting into fights, I put all that into writing. I wrote so well, and with such dramatic gusto, that my grade nine teacher (she is definitely part of points #1 and #2 above) put it on the final English exam. Everyone else in our grade had to analyze my poem.

Play around with what makes you feel great, and make time for it. Once you get more comfortable, start to share it. Use what you are good at to make your mark and transform yourself.

5. Make Three-year Plans

In grade nine, I started creating three-year plans. The plans were simple, but I made a plan about what I would do in highschool and what I wanted to get out of it. At graduation, I met those goals and created new ones. They adapt over time, but I have a plan on what I will accomplish, and how I will get there.

I plan by working backward, I pinpoint where I want to be and have in three years, I identify where I am now, and I work out how to get there. I did this to get my M.Ed., to rebrand myself as an HR professional and now to be known for being an accessible, fun, knowledgeable career strategist.

If you don’t like where you currently are, identify where you want to be in three years. Work backward and identify in 3-month segments what you need to do to reach your goal. If you are thinking about switching jobs, start planning for it and making a strategic connection now. It should include other people, specific actions, and keywords. If you need help with this, this is what I love to do with people. Send me an email at

No longer a bully, but still a fighter

There are few pieces of the enraged teenager that show through these days, I am no longer a bully. But, I still fight. I fight by helping people who are less fortunate than I to have a better life through advocacy and volunteer work. I fight the sometimes unfair system of job search, by teaching the rules to people. I fight for people who don’t feel they are good at anything or stuck forever in a job they don’t fit, by showing them clearly and compassionately how they strategically move into a role they love.

What old story/image do you need to drop? What’s stopping you from starting to write a new one?

About Kerri Twigg

Kerri Twigg has helped people gain confidence in themselves through their stories for over 15 years. She helps people to land ideal jobs through their stories, and if they don’t know what kind of job, she helps with that too. She knows that you want something more from you career, she’d like to help you get it. She has a BA in Theatre and Psychology, M.Ed in Humane Education and an HR Certificate. She is a CPHR Candidate

Kerri Twigg

Career Coach | Job Search Strategist

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