By Jeff Louderback
Long before she stood before eager college students as a professor of communication – and offered insight about motivation and relationships as a TV and radio personality, magazine columnist and author – Dr. Carol Morgan was perceived as quiet.
The youngest of three girls, her older sisters were chatty and vivacious at an early age. Ms. Morgan appeared to reflect an opposite persona.
“At the family dinner table, I would occasionally try to say something, and sometimes no one would hear me except my middle sister who would just snicker and laugh at me because she knew no one heard me,” Ms. Morgan said with a grin. “Occasionally, my mom would notice me trying to speak up, and she would playfully say, ‘Shhhhhhh!!! Everyone be quiet!! Carol has something to say!’ Then everyone would stare at me in shock as if they didn’t even know that my vocal chords worked.”
The woman who now inspires and motivates thousands to find and embrace a happy and confident life gradually emerged from her shell after her sisters left for college. Ms. Morgan became an exuberant extrovert, but she never forgot that part of her life when she was bashful and feel that she could not be heard, which is a key reason that inspired her to not only share her passion for teaching communication at the college level, but also helping others with their communication skills, relationships, confidence and positive thinking through her media appearances, books, online workshops and public speaking engagements.
“I am deeply fascinated with how the messages we get from everywhere (our parents, our peers, our teachers, the media and ourselves) shape who we are,” Ms. Morgan said. “So many of our beliefs stem from communication that we heard through our lives, and we internalize them as if they are fact. Many times, we aren’t even aware of how our negative beliefs are holding us back, like my subconscious block that ‘no one listens to me.’
I strive to help people attain happiness and feel good about themselves,” she added. “It all starts with examining your thought processes and then committing to changing your way of thinking. I should know. I’m living proof that it works. I overcame the block of ‘no one listens to me’ among other aspects that relate to confidence. I want to have the same positive impact on others, inside and outside of the classroom.”
Ms. Morgan points to her own life as an example of how a person can evolve as the years pass. After earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, she had a brief stint at an ad agency that left her unfulfilled. That led her to Northern Illinois University, where she attained a master’s degree in communication; and then the University of Nebraska, where she earned her Ph. D. in communication studies.
A communication professor at Wright State University since 1999, Ms. Morgan sought to explore her passion for teaching and inspiring outside of the classroom. Recognizing the communication is a key element of successful personal and professional relationships – and a vital element for overall happiness in life – it was a natural progression for the former introvert to co-author the book, Radical Relationship Resource: A Guide for Repairing, Letting Go, or Moving On with award-winning writer Dick Sutphen. Ms. Morgan has since written “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: 101 Motivational Ideas for Lasting Happiness” and “We’re Not That Different: Two Sisters’ Religious and Spiritual Journeys,” and she is currently working on a book about intuition with psychologist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish.
During her path between earning her undergraduate degree and her doctorate, Ms. Morgan envisioned a future as a TV personality, and that became a reality when she joined WDTN’s “Living Dayton” as a expert on relationships and motivation. She is also the editor of the self-improvement site, A Better Me Magazine (www.abettermemagazine.com), and the host of the podcasts “A Better Me TV” and “A Walk On The WOO Side.” The single mother of two is also a keynote speaker helping empower audiences to grow and change themselves in a positive manner. Also a columnist for The Huffington Post, Ms. Morgan has a variety of seminars and e-workshops at www.drcarolmorgan.com.
“I am a teacher by nature, and I don’t always mean in the traditional sense,” Ms. Morgan said. “Yes, I am a professor who does teach in the classroom, but sometimes the teaching I do outside of the classroom walls is the most meaningful to me.
“For example, one of the things that I love so much about being a mom is having such a huge part in creating two human beings from the first day of their lives. I get to teach them about the world, help them discover themselves and help set them up in life so they can leave their own unique impression on the world,” she added. “Whether I’m teaching my kids, my students, my friends or strangers, I have always known that my life purpose is centered around teaching.”
Effective communication in romantic relationships is one of the most popular subjects on which Ms. Morgan teaches.
“One of the things I always say to my students is this: ‘Relationships are like plants. If you don’t water them, attend to them, and care for them daily, they will die.’” Ms. Morgan said. “That seems like an obvious statement when it’s about plants. But how many people look at their relationships the same way? How many people water and feed their relationship? Not a lot.”
Unfortunately, Ms. Morgan says, many people repeat the familiar pattern in relationships.
“In the beginning of a relationship, they put forth their best self. They dress well, speak well, and do all the right things. But then reality sets in, and people get lazy,” she said. “It’s almost as if they’re thinking ‘Ahhhh…I finally ‘got’ them… my work here is done!’ Let’s face it, that is when the work starts.
“To become the best version of yourself and have the best relationship, you have to put in effort,” Ms. Morgan added. “It’s no different than what it takes to be healthy and fit. It’s important to eat well and exercise daily. In order to be successful at your career and advance, you have to put in time and energy at your job. And in order to have a successful, happy relationships and/or marriage, it requires effort.”
Ms. Morgan believes the lessons learned from her own relationships, including her divorce, allow her to offer insight that resonates with audiences who are experiencing their own challenges.
“I embrace the opportunity to help people see new and better ways to experience life, and applying my own life experiences is a way to connect with others who seek my guidance,” Ms. Morgan said. “As a teacher who is also consistently seeking to become a better person, I firmly believe we should all strive for self-improvement. It is never too late to improve yourself so that you can lead a more fulfilling life.”