This blog post is different. It’s not about my writing or dancing around keywords. It’s about being human and falling on my face. And not just when playing softball (and in case you’re wondering, no I wasn’t a kid when that happened).
I don’t care how many words this post ends up being. SEO be damned on this one.
Recently, I had the chance to make some easy money. Normally, I love that. But in this case, I would have been profiting off another person’s fear and self-doubt.
That’s not what I do. It isn’t who I want to be.
I shine a light on others and celebrate their victories with words. I use strategic writing to do this, so my clients can reach people. I want my clients to be heard.
Because isn’t that really what we all want? To be heard? At work. With clients. With our friends and family. Even at Starbucks.
You see, I got a call about a job I just couldn’t take.
It was a student who wanted a quote to write his marketing assignment. He’d been writing and rewriting and was at his wits’ end. The professor kept sending it back, without a lot of clear direction about how to do it right.
Of course, I turned down the gig. I’d never help someone risk his education.
But I realized I could relate to how this kid was feeling. He felt lost. He wanted success and reached a point where he wasn’t thinking clearly. He was reaching out for anything to shut off the feeling of failure that was flooding through him in that moment.
The failure was an illusion, but he couldn’t see that.
Sometimes, the person in charge doesn’t know what she wants. And when your only goal is making someone else happy, you’re completely dependent on their version of success.
Here’s the reason that’s dangerous. It’s hard to please someone who doesn’t know what she wants. Depending on your situation, you could say this applies to bosses, spouses (if you’re unlucky)…and even clients.
This student didn’t realize it, but he was in one of the best learning situations for a career in marketing. And one of the most painful.
It’s hilarious that I’m old/wise/seasoned enough to act as the voice of reason here. In some ways, it’s kind of crap and some of my friends might call me on it if they ever read this.
In graduate school, I was ridiculous. I was the ultimate anxiety burger (I came up with this phrase helping our exchange student describe a friend of hers; I love any chance to use it).
I got a B+ in my first class and I was furious. I’d been determined to get a 4.0 and some professor with vague instructions thwarted me right out of the gate. I’d never had the courage to even try before and now I’d never have it.
Now I know that was just an excuse, even though it was true. Here’s the thing. I do think I deserved an A. But being as upset as I was to miss out on the 4.0 added no value to anyone and did nothing to enhance my education. It was completely self-centered.
And if you’re reading this, I understand you were worried about more than the difference between a B+ and an A. I get it. It feels like there’s a lot riding on grades. And in some cases, that’s true.
To anyone who is struggling or full of self-doubt…here’s what you need to know. Here’s how I can say it’s going to be okay.
Everyone you meet, no matter how successful, rich, wise, or any other adjective they are has been rejected. Every one of us has felt stupid, humiliated, or worse. So when you see the CEO in the hall, you absolutely can introduce yourself. She’s a person, just like you. And she has insecurities, just like you.
What you learn and what you accomplish matter more than your transcript.
Your classmates have as much to teach you as your professors and your classmates. Hate group work? It’s a lot like working in an office.
The professor is not always right, but her opinion matters more than anyone else’s.
If you live a good life and protect your integrity, failure will open as many doors as success.
Integrity is one of the few things no one can take from you and you can always control.
You’re smart enough. You’re brave enough, even if you don’t feel it. You will get through this. You WILL thrive.