After surviving a life-altering car crash, our founder, Susie Dahlmann, sought coaching guidance that would change the course of her life. Today, we share how Susie’s tragedy formed Reaching Higher, including our cause to reach youth and everyone.
Susie had been a successful second-grade teacher for years – then tragedy struck. Susie’s vehicle was involved in a crash that propelled Susie head-first through the windshield. When she woke up in the hospital from a coma, the doctor told Susie she was severely brain damaged. As a result, Susie held on to the limiting belief she was now left “stupid.”
After one month of recovery, Susie returned to the classroom. She said, “being scared to death that I wasn’t going to make it through the school day… and someone would find out how dumb I was and I would lose my teaching job.” In the midst of this fear, Susie said a student asked for help tying his shoes – and she wasn’t able.
At the suggestion of a friend, Susie enrolled in a course from Dale Carnegie, a personal leadership development program. She said the course changed her life, moving her from living in a state of fear to living authentically to herself and her strengths. Simply stated, Susie chose to face her fears and “Discover the Leader Within.”
Her growth continued, which resulted in Susie winning a Teacher of the Year award. Through her success and growth, Susie became resolved to help others reach their potential, so she decided to pursue becoming a Dale Carnegie instructor. This was a very selective and competitive endeavor. Not only was Susie selected for one of the six spots, she placed second out of 60 instructor hopefuls. The rankings were heavily weighted towards one’s ability to memorize, recall and apply the program’s 100 leadership principles.
While teaching personal leadership skills to professionals at night, and second-grade academics during the day, Susie’s heart was convinced there was a need in our education system – and that everyone could benefit greatly, not just professionals. In response, Susie created Reaching Higher with a cause to fill this need by making the program affordable for youth and everyone.
Listen to Susie’s Story directly from her to understand why we are passionate about reaching youth and the world through Reaching Higher.