Todays blog post is by guest blogger Tim Mushey from http://www.sellleadsucceed.com. I’ve been following his blog for a while and I’m always impressed with his ability to convey principles easily and succinctly. I believe Tim’s experiences demonstrate an excellent example of what I have been discussing in regards to growth mindset. You can view Tim giving this speech at http://sellleadsucceed.com/2012/03/08/my-toastmasters-speech-dont-let-setbacks-change-the-incredible-you/.
Thank you and as always be encouraged
Don’t Let Setbacks Change The Incredible You
It would be unrealistic to have expected our lives to have been without bumps in the road. If anyone claims to have had the perfect life I would say they are not telling the whole story. Setbacks and challenges are inevitable, but the key is how we each handle each situation when they arise. Our lives are defined by how we persevere during difficult times, to shape who we are today, and who we want to become tomorrow. I will highlight three prominent game changing moments in my life, and how each event played a role in my development over the years.
Take a moment and think back to elementary (or grade) school. It was quite common to have kids read books out loud in class. The teacher would either have class participation to read a short novel over several classes, or a short story in one class period. It is common knowledge that many people are incredibly nervous when speaking publicly. That anxiety and discomfort was extreme for me because of a childhood stutter that I still manage every day.
I will never be able to fully describe the feelings that consumed my body, and stomach in particular when I knew it was time to read out loud. One time, as an eight year old kid in French class, I don’t think that I was able to fully comprehend my speech challenges quite yet. But I remember being terrified, and stumbling miserably through a passage in a book that my teacher asked me to read out loud. As I continued to stumble, she walked up to me and asked that I open my mouth for her. She commented that if rocks were put in my mouth, maybe I would be able to speak properly!
I would be lying if I said that I had not thought about that moment every day of my life. Anger was the most prominent feeling that I felt when thinking about the situation for years. Eventually the public calling out turned in to a valuable lesson about having thick skin, overcoming embarrassing situations, and being proud of the person that I was born to be.
Turning to my academic results, all I knew were A’s and B+s throughout my schooling until high school graduation. I was an excellent student, and was highly regarded by most who taught me. University brought on some challenges, as I struggled to find my way in a larger, less personal setting. After a lot of hard work, I ended up being a B to B+ student, but not without some setbacks along the way. I will never forget one event in my first year. I took a computer class, and it was apparent early on that I did not understand the content, and was not having any fun. It was a struggle to keep up with the assignments, and my mid-term marks were lower than normal.
Then it happened at the midterm exam – I blanked out, I completely lost it. I would be surprised if I answered one question correctly. I can vividly remember sitting there shaking, those awful feelings back in my stomach again, hoping that I would start to remember something. I failed miserably. I ended up dropping the class, made it up in the second semester and was still accepted in to the business program the following year.
Several years ago, I took on a new position, in a very different industry. Things started off very well, and I achieved great success, earlier than I could have ever hoped. Things were happening within the organization that I did not like, but the success overshadowed some issues within the management team.
By the second year, the economy had taken a turn for the worst, and my sales results were affected greatly. There were changes locally with management, and I was not happy, miserable for that matter. I started to job hunt, realizing that I made a mistake taking the role, and wanted to move on ASAP.
Several months later, the unthinkable happened, I was fired. I was devastated. My parents and in-laws were in town for my son’s birthday, and I had to tell them that I lost my job. This was not supposed to happen to “Tim Mushey”, after all of the success that I had over the years. Those horrible feeling were back in my stomach, and I instantly started to doubt my abilities.
· What had become of my career?
· Was this my fault?
· What would become of me in the future?
· Did I deserve this?
The list of questions was endless.
I had two very difficult weeks coming to terms with the shot to my ego. Luckily, soon after, my personal uprising began. My wife suggested that we take the train to the mountains with our son, to clear our heads. It ended up being a wonderful trip, and since then, my perspective on my career, life and myself as a person have never been clearer. I realized that the job loss was a beginning, not an end. I needed to take some responsibility for what had happened, and start over.
We are certainly defined as people from the successes that we have had in life. But the true indicators of who we have become can be found through the challenges that we have been through, and how we persevered. Bumps in the road or major setbacks can define who we become, in a positive or negative sense; it is really up to the individual to decide. In each scenario above, there were days when I was going to let the events shape me negatively going forward. But I fought – fought very hard, and can look back now on all of those experiences, and say “I DID IT”!
You can connect with Tim at:
LinkedIn Tim Mushey
Google+ Tim Mushey