I was raised by my mother and grandmother who taught me to be the best that I can be. My mother was a social worker and the first in her family to go to college. I admired my mom for many reasons, but mostly for her self-confidence which I lacked. Since I was a young child, I was afraid to express myself. I wanted to say and do the right thing, so I became the person that everyone expected me to be. I studied hard and became known by my classmates as “one of those smart people”. For me, living through my books was far safer than being outspoken or expressing my opinion.
Like most people, I desperately wanted everyone to like me but was always afraid to make a mistake or say the wrong thing. I remember when I was in the second or third grade, I raised my hand very excited to give the answer to a question and was devastated when the class laughed at my wrong answer. This event had a tremendous impact on my life. From then on I never raised my hand if I was unsure of the answer and spoke only if I was certain that I would not be criticized. I became an introvert and stopped fully expressing myself.
After high school I was fortunate enough to attend Princeton University on a generous financial aid package. I majored in English and concentrated in African-American Studies while simultaneously taking the requirements for medical school. Princeton was challenging but I was determined to be a doctor and focused on my studies. After Princeton, I attended the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and Georgetown for my pediatric residency.
Although I excelled in academics, there was always something missing deep down inside. At the time, I did not realize that the void in my life was caused by lacking the self-confidence to be my authentic self. The incident in elementary school was a defining moment that caused me to retreat inward. Later in life, I realized that I truly was not born a quiet person but simply made a decision early in life to be cautious and careful in revealing my true self. After this revelation, I eventually gained the self-confidence to be comfortable fully expressing myself.
Upon completion of my medical training, I joined a pediatric practice but in time felt that I could do more for my patients. I saw aspects of myself in every teen that came into my office – the people pleaser and perfectionist, as well as the person full of self-doubt. I knew that many of these teens had their own defining moment and my inward desire to inspire and empower them on a much larger scale became overpowering. I had to take action.
After 17 years of practicing pediatrics, I left the practice in 2014 to focus full-time on helping teens to fully express themselves and their talents. I now partner with parents and organizations as a public speaker, seminar/workshop facilitator, and consultant through my company, Dr. Liz Consulting. Growing up, I would have never imagined that the girl who was too afraid to speak and express her opinion is now putting herself out in front of the public. I learned to overcome my limiting beliefs and want to share this valuable and life changing gift with teens. I am on a mission to have teens be heard, known, and appreciated for their attributes and talents, live life to the fullest, and recognize their greatness.
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney