What Success Looks Like: Diana Kirby, “Compassionate”
Diana and I met at a small coffee shop in Nashville for our interview. Although I accidentally went to the wrong coffee shop (oops!), when we finally met up and began to talk it was like catching up with an old friend.
Raised in Clarksville, Tennessee, Diana referred to her childhood as “regular old life.” Her family was very involved in church, as her father was a minister. Church had a profound impact on her life, which was prevalent in our conversations—most of her memories and role models were centered around that.
The church is also where she spent most of her time. If she wasn’t in church. she was more often than not attending some type of church activity. It’s clear that Diana inherited a real sense of community and self-worth from her church family.
Because of these experiences with considerate, strong, and loving females in her life, Diana said she “always had a heart for trying to help women because of the help I’ve been given.”
Her sister started a girls’ youth group at her church when they were younger, and her eyes brightened as she told me about the strong connections that were created and the deep conversations that were had. They talked about the problems most girls face as teenagers and encouraged each other to stay on the right path— they shared their feelings and fears with each other.
Diana landed a camp counselor position after attending the same summer camp for many years. That summer, she saw how challenging, yet rewarding being a role model to young women is; she stayed with a family and grew very close to the mother of the house. She really admired her her host’s complete and total devotion to her family. Diana told me with a twinkle in her eye, “she somehow did it all with a big smile on her face.” The love and compassion this woman showed to Diana made her feel wanted and special in a time that was so crucial in her life.
In high school, Diana had a theatre teacher whose influence shook her world. One day, her teacher signed her up for the school beauty pageant without even asking Diana. “I had low self-esteem at the time and I was scared and uncomfortable with the idea. I didn’t think I could or should enter the contest!” Ultimately, it worked out and her teacher’s bold encouragement forced Diana to face her fears, which strengthened her inner self. “It was an incredible experience of support in her belief not in my performance level or my abilities but her belief in me as a person.”
What I Learned
Diana’s new to adulthood. She just finishing college and she’s starting her career, which sets her apart from the other women I’ve interviewed. This different perspective was beneficial for me. I realized she was trying on independence like I try on clothes before going out on a Saturday night. She’s struggling to figure out things like, one day will I want to be a super soccer mom or a super successful professional?
This is an issue we all inevitably go through in our lives. She was quick to note that, “there’s no right or wrong answer really, I think it just depends on the person and where they are in life.” Diana taught me that life is a process—which was encouraging to me because I’m still trying to figure out what I want to try on in life.
When I asked Diana what her greatest accomplishment so far was, she gave a hopeful answer: “I haven’t done this yet, but I can only imagine how amazing it’s going to feel when I finish my degree and then serve others by doing what I love.” I think so often we talk about all the things we want to be, have, or do, but many of us fall short on the follow-through.
Being with Diana gave me motivation to take the time to consciously look for opportunities to positively affect others. The life she exemplifies is truly that of a Girl Boss that I aspire to mirror.
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