During the course of my doctoral program at the University of Ottawa, it was my honor to work as a research assistant for Dr. Janice Leroux and to assist her in analyzing hundreds of transcript pages of interviews of eminent Canadian women. From her research, several constructs of success emerged. Among them were voice, agency, and self-efficacy. As a result of her analysis, she was able to construct a model of successful development that took the form of a spiral chandelier. At its core was self-agency, and the tiers circling the core were constructs of resilience, collaboration, autonomy, spirituality, and others.
In my research and book on gifted females I found similar factors. The young women in my studies with the clearest sense of self-efficacy also had distinct voice, autonomy, resilience and more. The strongest construct by far was that of personal agency. I wrote, “Agency for the successful woman signifies a sense of herself as a significant participant in a society that needs her gifts” (Navan, 2009, p. 79). Rather than passivity, which connotes that one is a receiver of the actions of others, agency means that the individual is an active contributor in the world.
In light of the above, I ask myself, has my path as a gifted female been a spiral, meaning that I followed a smooth, circular path, building one tier upon the other? My answer is a resounding “No.” I believe that, yes, I had an inner core of agency, however – due to many of life’s twists and turns, the journey has been far from smooth and my path has been more of a zig zag.
An example of the zig zag metaphor is this blog and the other writing that I have done after retirement and since finishing my latest degree (M.A. in Clinical Psychology). Since I was seven years-old, I dreamed of being a writer. Yes, I have done academic writing for my entire career. My dream, though, was to write personal narrative, poetry, and fiction. It is now, almost seventy years later, that the words are flowing. What a pleasure it is to compose, to construct a phrase, to share my insights! I hope that you, my reader, have found pleasure in reading them as well. My muse has arrived!
People tell me it’s a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin but I lost the ring
She was born in spring but I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate
Simple Twist of Fate, by Bob Dylan (©Bob Dylan Music Co)
Leroux, J. A. (1998). Follow your dream: Gifted women and the cost of success. Gifted Education International, 13, 4-12.
Navan, J. L. (2009). Nurturing the gifted female: A guide for educators and parents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Photo: Modified Rectangle Zig Zag by Kristen on Flickr https://goo.gl/BVDgGY (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016) Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge