Project Legacy

Selling Knives and Changing Lives: Lessons from Counselor & Coach Nadine McGowan

Project Legacy

Selling Knives and Changing Lives: Lessons from Counselor & Coach Nadine McGowan

Written by David Seibel | 11.27.19

This post is the fifth in Project Legacy, a series of interviews that aim to learn from leaders outside of education to influence those inside education. You can read previous contributions from Jake Stamper (Business), Jeff Worrell (Politics)Steve Poe (Ministry) and Tony Van Hoozer (Business) on our blog.

Nadine McGowan is the Founder and Chief Servant Officer of Purposeful Living, a community of women empowering one another to fulfill their God-given purpose in life. Before founding Purposeful Living, Nadine was a Regional Manager for Cutco Company [I worked for her after college!]. After that, Nadine earned a Coaching Certification and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling. In this post, I share three lessons that educators can learn from her life and leadership.  

Perhaps it is your child’s setbacks that are his biggest opportunities going forward.

Perhaps it is your child’s setbacks that are his biggest opportunities going forward.

Lesson #1: There is no progress without initiative

Nadine’s willingness to take advantage of opportunities sets her apart. She squeezes the juice out of the situations she is in and makes the people around her better. When asked where this attitude comes from, she shared, “Being from a different country helps you grab onto stuff. My family and I moved to the United States when I was 10 years old and I did not even know English. Not knowing the culture or the language alienated me from my peers, but it motivated me to change. When I learned English, I began to believe that change was possible with initiative and effort.

In listening to Nadine, you won’t hear an ounce of entitlement. After speaking with several leaders from different countries, they seem to have a gritty perspective that many children raised in the United States lack. Many children today do not have to wait a week for their favorite show but can watch it on their parents’ phones while they stand in line at the grocery store. The inconveniences, challenges, and difficulties that Nadine went through as an immigrant forced her to step up. She has a level of resolve not matched by many people, which is probably why her ministry at Purposeful Living has been so effective.

I wonder if we remove too many difficulties for our children that would help them become more durable, resilient, and prepared for the rest of their lives. Perhaps it is your child’s setbacks that are his biggest opportunities. When parents remove the obstacles their children face, they may weaken their child’s resolve and problem-solving muscles. We ought not to take the initiative for our children but expect that they do so.

Howard Hendricks would say it this way: “Don’t feed the bears.” You cannot feed bears because they need to learn how to feed themselves. You should not create unhealthy dependencies that destroy the bear’s natural strengths. When humans feed bears, the bears end up dying in the cold of winter because they forget how to feed themselves. In the same way, don’t solve problems for your kids they can solve for themselves because this cold world will not be as kind to them.

Don’t compare, but walk in your giftings.

Don’t compare, but walk in your giftings.

Lesson #2: Everybody needs a coach

At one point in my life, I thought I wanted to sell Cutco knives full-time. As I look back on this idea 10 years later, it seems pretty ridiculous that I was so enamored with all things Cutco. I drank the Kool-Aid, and all I wanted to do was attend conferences, expand my knowledge, get more sales, and train others to do likewise. I even wanted to run my own branch at one point.

Nadine McGowan was the entire reason behind this. She had a unique passion for coaching you to be your best. She really wanted others to be successful. As Nadine shared, “God has blessed me with the gift of encouragement. I really love seeing other people succeed.” She helps put obstacles into perspective and enables others to believe that God has given them the power to tackle those obstacles.

In terms of advice for educators, Nadine offers this: “Keep doing the next right thing. What you are doing matters. Even though you are planting seeds you might never see bloom, without you, there would be a big gap that only you can fill. Don’t compare, but walk in your giftings.” Comments like that simply flow out of Nadine because she is so gifted at helping others discover what God has placed in each individual. The application of this for teachers to students is self-evident.

Teachers cannot be truly effective apart from God’s presence and power in their lives.

Teachers cannot be truly effective apart from God’s presence and power in their lives.

Lesson #3: Obedience to God’s will is essential

When I asked Nadine why she does all this extra work instead of simply working a nine-to-five, she answered, “Because it is my calling and I am being obedient. It fills me in a way that nothing else could. I love being in the bullseye of God’s will.” Nadine’s win is pleasing God, seeing families being restored, and folks with addictions getting healthy. She commented, “It is all about restoration and redemption stories.” God has equipped Nadine for the work that she is doing in women’s lives.

In the same way, teachers cannot be truly effective apart from God’s presence and power in their lives. Teaching is a difficult job and requires the supernatural work of the Spirit to make the results durable and permanent.

Nadine McGowan is the Founder and Chief Servant Officer of Purposeful Living, a community of women empowering one another to fulfill their God-given purpose in life. Nadine earned a Coaching Certification and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling.

 

 

Nadine McGowan is the Founder and Chief Servant Officer of Purposeful Living, a community of women empowering one another to fulfill their God-given purpose in life. Nadine earned a Coaching Certification and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling.

 

 

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

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