I sometimes sit and wonder…WOW, how did I get to where I am and why me?! This was a journey. The people I have gotten to know, the places I have been able to see and the things I have been able to experience. I will say that I have had rich experiences and some of them are driven by calculated direction while others are being open to opportunities. What I mean by this is that some of it is because of who I am and part of it is by being ready to take on the challenges that face me.
Many of you see the final product before you, but are not aware of my journey. In high school and university, I was this awkward shy kid and if someone were to tell me who I would be at 50, I would have said that they had the wrong person pegged. I did not feel like I had any particular talents, direction or focus…sound familiar?! I had no idea where to look for work and what I wound up accumulating after graduating is a stack of rejection letters (image included) from employers who did not value what I brought to the table and each of these letters felt like a nail in my coffin of self-confidence. I kept these letters as a reminder of those who did not believe in me. What was I missing and why did no one want me is all I could think about. I just needed someone to see what I could offer and finally that is what happened. I got hired to be a janitor mopping floors and emptying rubbish bins…but learned three valuable lessons.
1) My father always told me that it does matter what job you get or do but what ever it is, do the best job possible because your reputation is on the line
2) Nurses, doctors and administrators would not acknowledge or speak with me in an elevator because I was ‘just’ a janitor. I know what that feels like so I will never treat anyone like that…we all have a story to share
3) Don’t deal in absolutes, don’t look at things from a negative or positive perspective but take a step back and try to look at valuable lessons you can pull from any experience
These are lessons that I can share with you to say that you will be fine. I am an average guy with extraordinary experiences and being average means I hope to be down to earth and grounded and someone you can relate to. I think what got me through all this was the word ‘persistence’. I just knew that if I carried on and was persistent, that things would resolve. If someone who was shy, quiet and reserved can flourish out of the experiences presented to them, then you can too. Life is not going to just roll out a plan for you; you need to help it along. You need to find the champions and enablers who believe in you. Understand that you have a future ahead of you but it is hidden from you and only comes to vision eventually. You can not rush this and hope to figure out what it is. You must stop looking for life’s answers because life is not about answers but rather questions. Find the right questions to focus on and spend your energy appreciating the journey. You are unique and there is no other you. Find out what makes you unique and build your autobiography…you have stories to share.
PS – yes those are my rejection letters you see in the photo. I held on to them as a reminder that I outlasted many of those companies as they no longer exist…and I do
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