You can do better!

When I was a senior in high school my graduation plan consisted of working in downtown Chicago as somebodies administrative assistant, marrying my high school sweetheart, and having babies. All in all not a terrible plan and one that I’m sure I would have made more pleasant than not due to my low unhappiness tolerance. My mom had lived that life and it worked pretty well for her so why not me too. However, there was somebody else who didn’t like my plan too well and one day she told me so and dramatically changed the course of my life.

Mrs. Lundy, the typing teacher at Rich South High School in Richton Park, Illinois, took it upon herself to tell me that I could do better. Yep, she pulled me out into the hallway one day and said, “There’s nothing wrong with your plan but you can do better. Go home and tell your parents that you are going to college.” She didn’t ask for my input, she didn’t check with my parents, she just told me something that she knew I needed to hear. I could do better.

And I did. Not only did I go to college but I added a couple of graduate programs onto that and a life coaching degree for good luck. Every single aspect of my life changed because of those four words and I’ve never stopped saying them to myself since that day. Mrs. Lundy saw something in me that I hadn’t been able to see myself and I wasn’t going to let her or myself down. I don’t believe in “good enough” or “I’m too old to learn something new”, there’s always room to do better and why shouldn’t we try?

My teen-aged daughter takes dance classes at a very successful and popular dance studio. The dance teachers, who look like beautiful, delicate ballerinas, could send any Marine sergeant running home crying to mommy after one of their classes. They often tell my daughter (or yell at my daughter), “You can do better!” Before you worry that my little angel’s psyche or self-esteem may be irreparably damaged by this supposed abuse, let me assure you anything but. My daughter actually believes them and does better! Not only does she try harder but also she actually begins to believe in herself and in her ability to do better.

If you are now yelling at me through your computer, let me clarify a few things about this “you can do better” concept. This is not the crazy little league parent who can’t say a nice word to their child and never allows for errors or the constantly nagging parent who only sees the worst in their children. This is the person who sees something better about and for you. It’s your friend who tells you that you are dating a loser and you can do better. Believe her! It’s your boss who believes that you are perfect for a higher position but you don’t have faith in yourself. It’s the Mrs. Lundy or the Marine Sargent dance teachers who sees potential in your child and tell them so.

So how can you do better? Eat healthier, quit smoking, quit yelling at your kids (or at least reduce the occurrences), exercise more, call your mother, stop snipping at your spouse, reduce gossip and naysaying, have more gratitude, find joy in the little stuff, laugh, cry, read a good book, the list is endless. I was blessed with a Mrs. Lundy and some really great friends who came along after her who all remind me that I can do better. If you don’t have a Mrs. Lundy, I’d recommend you find someone who tells you that you can do better. You can.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident

by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.

About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


Not My Time Syndrome Thanks Anyway Jerry Maguire
Not My Time Syndrome
Thanks Anyway Jerry Maguire