‘Homeless to Harvard’ is the 2003 Movie - ‘ Liz Murray’ story which inspires me when I need a reminder that my life is good. We need a reminder sometimes, because even your rock bottom can be bested by another.
What matters most can sometimes be hidden behind survival mode. On other occasions the action of surviving is the trigger which explodes, fueling our passions. Our dreams can breathe life at these times. There is nothing quite as powerful as climbing a hill when you leave nothing behind. The same can be said for climbing when you know you have everything to return to.
The things which act as catalysts to success are different for everyone. Here are (3)from my past I remember fondly;
1. The ‘adrenalin rush’. We were not rich, but my mother always found a way to ensure we survived. She was a teacher and published an anthology of poems ‘My Fist Fifty’ when I was twelve years old. I thought she was a star for doing so, and greatly admired her ambitious drive. I’m not sure when I decided to ‘hustle’ my mom but I did. She agreed to give me 20 books to sell ,just for me ( bought my first pair of Jordache Jeans)- if I helped her going door to door conducting sales. She had 500 copies and there were 500 at a major bookstore who sponsored the book in part. We went on weekends to some affluent neighborhoods and within a couple months, every copy was sold. When I sold my books I tried to get more than what she charged for her copies (adrenalin pumped by the hustle). What does a school teacher know about making money (I also had a big ego)? She thought it was not possible, and I thought it was. Guess who won
2. The sheer determination of accomplishing the unthinkable when the odds say NO. If you get my back up against the wall I will find a way through that wall! I recall negotiating for the very best technical trainer my supplier had, and convincing him to work with me on a certificate conference session in 2010. There were 80 persons attending the session from 6 Caribbean islands. They also registered for two days at a trade fair we exhibited at, and it was a filled 4 day affair. Whoever thinks that a huge budget is necessary to pull off the impossible needs to get creative. From a gala hotel distributor dinner night, to a few hours on the beach at the end, and training and tradeshow in between - it all happened. I was also a facilitator, driver and sandwich maker . Yes- dream big and live to execute.
3. Taking a risk and being a small fish in a big ocean swimming into the great unknown! I don’t think small, never could. The same energy it takes to think big, is the same to think small — don’t waste time. Going beyond where you are to accomplish the impossible is possible.
What are you prepared to do to prove to YOU that you are capable? I was ridiculed for my lack of academic accomplishments, and insulted for attending an interview which I was invited (by a company director)to apply for. It seemed no one in the room at the time, looked beyond my basic schooling. Then my audacity took hold, and I recall advising the interviewer and the others sitting with him, “It seems to me that you really need someone with my skillset and lack of academics. My expertise and proven ability is why I was invited to come. I’ve sold toothbrushes, medical supplies, film and other products. I’m sure I can sell your ‘capital goods’ aka industrial machinery and make your customers happy. Isn’t that why I was asked to come for this interview?” How do you think it ended? Yes, I was hired at that moment!
I can be badass bold when I’m riled up, but I believe it is possible to do anything you set your heart and mind to do. So what if you did not finish school, or don’t come from the best neighborhood? So what if you were a teen mom or dad, struggling to find yourself? Who you are is not who you will always be. Where you are is not where you will always be. You get to determine your destiny. Why not live a life you can feel inspired by. Its always up to you!
I’ve always wanted to attend Harvard. Simply could not afford it, and I had my babies to take of. We make our priorities and choices. You don’t need to take the easy road and turn away from challenges. I did the next best thing. I read as many articles as I could find on Business Operations, Entrepreneurship, Business Management, Marketing, Communication, Information Technology, Conflict Management, Risk Assessment, Sales, Consumer Behavior. When I was finally able to pursue a business diploma, it was not that difficult. When I started my MBA (a work in progress) I sailed through marketing and helped the folks in my group. The five core modules were completed during a very challenging time, and I had major surgery during one course.
Life is filled with challenges, and there are always reasons why we can’t pursue our dreams. Life is about growth and its about risk. Choose to grow ‘into’ who you are passionate to become.
I’m proud of my career to date. I’ve had many wins and a lot more losses than can be counted, but I took the chances and own those damm experiences! Its mine, and I’m always willing to add more. Own your career experiences & choices!
When you start sharing your story are there chapters with cliff hangers? Do you have the emotional dramas that still bring tears to your eyes? What about the chapters which were thrillers? Let’s never forget the chapters filled with moments of laughter, satisfaction and love. For many, your career is your life, and you get to write those chapters! Now go out there and live yours!
Special thanks to Sarah Elkins, Arnie McKinnis, John White, Chris Spurvey for holding me accountable to this blog!
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© Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2017. All Rights Reserved
Originally published at The Marketing and Growth Hacking Publication on May 14th, 2017