Diana Morris - Educator, Writer, and Personal Development Coach
Diana Morris is an educator, writer, and personal development coach who helps people figure out the next phase of their life.
In 2011, Diana earned her Bachelor of Arts from Boston College, graduating with a major in Communication and a minor in African and African Diaspora Studies. It was at BC that she realized she could make a career of working with college students and emerging adults - and have an incredible impact while doing it.
Following this passion, Diana turned to Vanderbilt University where she earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration. She now works in student affairs, helping students navigate their college experience and as a coach, helping people outside of the college-setting who want to stop living lives designed by others and begin being their truest selves.
In March 2018, Diana released her first novel, Lachesis’ Allotment. While this is her first full-length publication, her penchant for language and passion for teaching, learning, and intentional reflection have landed her speaking engagements at education conferences, written works in several education-focused publications, and opportunities to help individuals at all stages of their life identify what they truly want.
Outside of the realm of education, writing, and coaching, Diana is a sucker for crème brûlée and all types of music. Originally hailing from Mount Vernon, New York, she currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, a city perfect for trying new restaurants, foraging for local art, and exploring nearby hiking trails. I’m so excited for you guys to connect with Diana, check out the impact she’s having with her work and her spirit, and follow along!
I'd love it if you'd introduce yourself, what you do, and what you're working on.
Hi! My name is Diana Morris and I am an educator, writer, and personal development coach. My work centers on helping millennials identify what they want in life so they can take steps to get it through intentional reflection and strategic action. Through coaching programs, events, social media, and written work (my first book, Lachesis' Allotment, was published in March 2018), I'm creating spaces for folks to drown out the noise, get clear about what they want, and design a custom path towards their truest self.
How did you get started?
My coaching business is actually born out of freelance editing work I did for a couple of years. In both cases, I've formalized my natural skills and interests into services that I can share with folks outside of my immediate network--I had been serving as a sounding board, meaning-maker, motivational speaker, truth-teller, verbal gut-puncher, spellchecker, and sentence restructure-er for friends and family for years and I finally listened when they told me to turn it into a business for other people to benefit from, too.
As I looked to make things "official," I immediately turned to writing and editing because those skills produce tangible products. However, I quickly saw that the work I did with my editing clients went beyond just catching spelling errors and finding the right words--I was able to pinpoint parts of their story that they had overlooked and I asked high-impact questions that helped them get to the core of their motivations. The more I helped people identify the "why" of what they were creating (e.g., why do you want this particular job, why do you want your readers to know this specific moment in your life, etc.), the more I saw that my blend of intentional reflection and strategy helped bring clarity and purpose to what they were doing.
I eventually put this all together into personal development coaching because I've seen so many people follow the prescribed formula (i.e., study something for years, leave the classroom, enter the “real world,” and figure it out), only to wonder if what they have is all that's available to them (I know I did, especially after being laid off from my first job out of graduate school... but we can discuss that at another time!). Having these conversations as a coach and creating space for folks to figure out what they actually want has been an amazing journey.
What inspired the work that you're doing?
I'm inspired by the fact that, no matter who we are, what we have, and what we may believe, we all only get one shot at doing the current life we have right (or, as the youths would say, "YOLO"). And although the idea of who we are and what we're doing with this life seems to be so simple, the more I speak with folks, the more I see that it's actually one of the most important questions someone can ask themselves. Despite this, asking the question doesn't always happen, either because there's not enough time to, because no one has ever told us that there's more than one right answer, or--most dishearteningly--because we don't think that anyone actually cares to hear our response. The work I do, the stories I share, and the conversations I prompt are designed to create a space for reflection so that you find answers that are true to you. I'm inspired by the hope that, because you came in contact with me directly or indirectly through someone else, when your time on this earth is up, you aren't left wondering what could have been if only you had just [insert decision, action, choice, etc. here].
What is your biggest passion? Do you feel like you're living your passion and purpose?
My biggest passion and purpose is learning people's story and helping them meet the person they are meant to be and yes, I am so happy that I get to do that! There's nothing more rewarding than asking the right question and watching someone's face shift as they take the time to truly consider--and feel the validity and Truth of--their response.
What is your joy blueprint? What lights you up, brings you joy, and makes you feel the most alive?
I feel the most alive when I'm at a live concert and the entire crowd sings along to a song, when I'm sharing a belly-aching laugh with a good friend, when I'm taking in a beautiful art piece, or when I'm eating a delicious meal.
How do you live intentionally? Are there tools/resources/practices that you rely on to help you stay mindful and grounded?
I live intentionally by being crystal clear on my desires, my non-negotiables, and my boundaries. There was a time, especially in my professional career, where I would do things so that other people would think highly--or even just plain favorably--of me. I've since learned that those motivations are a recipe for disaster, not success, because they completely put my own needs and requirements on the back burner. Now I operate from a place of "if it's not a resounding "YES!", it's a gentle, but firm "no"". Another practice that I rely on is a spirit of active gratitude and understanding that no one owes us anything. These are such freeing concepts to embrace because they enable me to see all the moments of magic that exist and frees me up to devote my time, energy, and other resources to the people, places, and things I truly care about.
What would your younger self think about what you're doing now?
Younger Me would be so amazed by what I've accomplished to date. Not only do I get to eat whatever I want for dinner and go to sleep at any time I please (!!!), that shy, insecure girl has grown into, among other things, a published author, B.A. and M.Ed. graduate, concert aficionado, world traveler, friend to some of the most amazing people, resource to many, work in progress, etc.
Do you have a go-to mantra or affirmation?
My go-to mantra is the first chapter of my book -- "Screw doubt and go for it. The worst that can happen is "no." The best that can happen remains to be seen."
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to offer a variety of programs and experiences that enable people to gain a fuller understanding of their lives, all the moments leading up to the one they're currently in, and the concrete steps they can take to be fulfilled in the next season of their lives. Bonus points if I can travel the world while I do it!
Joy Corner is a new interview-style blog series brought to you by Seek The Joy Podcast. Our mission continues to be a desire to share your stories, truths, joys and inspiration in your words. We invite you to join our corner, and share your joys, passions, and moments of inspiration as we continue to seek the joy, together. Join this series here