Become Your Own Hero

I’ve had a great day.

I needed a reminder that community is important. Finding a group you identify with, builds you up, supports you, and most importantly, motivates you is life changing.

I want to tell you why this blog and the interviews that I will be conducting are important to me.

Let me tell you why my day was great.

Today I was part of a panel of women who were chosen to talk about mentor-ship, specifically what mentors influenced their life and how a person could find a mentor. You may have read about my thoughts on mentor-ship in another post , and realized that I don’t approach mentoring from a traditional point of view, it wasn’t really an option. My point of view exists because of how my career began, and the ultimate trajectory it took.

  • I never finished college.
  • I am 40 years old, and I am finally hitting my stride career-wise.
  • I am now making money many wish they were making.
  • I am in a place where I feel I can grow in ways I want to.
  • I want to share my story to help others.

To be honest, it was a tough road I took. Nobody sets out in life and says they want to take the road with the most potholes or detours, but it happens. It happens because of many number of things, and often times you cannot control it. I couldn’t control it, no matter how hard I tried to change my luck, or change my path. It was inevitable, and I found myself having to climb from the bottom. The difference was I didn’t want to climb all the way to the top, I just wanted to keep climbing. The chance to keep climbing. Eventually I realized nobody was going to do that for me. Nobody was going to rescue me.

I want to stop here and say this for those who feel they are struggling.

  • Struggling does not make you less of a person.
  • Making poor choices does not entitle others to belittle you.
  • Not being at the top of your field does not make you less.
  • Having Manager in your title doesn’t entitle you to more in life.
  • You are worthy of kindness and worthy of success.
  • You always have a voice.

It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact I was surrounded by others who went to school and had degrees. Over a period of many years I tried to go back to school and obtain a degree, multiple times. Every single time something happened to thwart those plans; it truly felt like there was some greater power trying to move my chess piece. Eventually I decided to do things my own way.

What did I decide to do? To stop fighting. To stop going in directions that didn’t feel right. To look for those that would teach me what I needed to learn next. To network.

Network. Network. Network. 

Here I am, nearly 20 years later in a job that I know I’m going to be amazing at. One where I am seen as an asset, not a detractor. I’m in a position to pay it forward to others, and that is what I did today at the Wonder Women Tech Conference.

WWT2018

Today I met other amazing women who have struggled in their own ways, and one struggle isn’t greater than another, because it’s personal. Everyone will meet their own challenges they need to tackle but it’s how you manage those challenges that will define you. I couldn’t go to school, so what did I do? I kept learning from others, kept finding better jobs, kept moving up up up. Took me 20 damn years, but here I am.

You can do better than me.

You have the opportunity to learn earlier than I did what you should do. You can understand earlier what you shouldn’t accept, and what you need to know to keep moving ahead.

  1. Network.
  2. Set boundaries.
  3. Stick up for yourself.
  4. Learn all the time.
  5. Be kind to others.
  6. Talk to people you don’t know (this one is probably the hardest for some).

There’s more, and you’re probably already sensing themes to what you need to do in my different posts. The reason for this is it’s not rocket science. You don’t need that damn PhD to get ahead. You can create your own future, you just have to be motivated and talk to people, and know who you are and what you want.

Always, though, always, help those that would help you.

Today a question during the panel was “how to accept that someone, your mentor, saw something in you that you didn’t see in yourself?” I think the best approach to accepting what others see in you, is by helping others to see what they don’t see in themselves. It’s a continual process of motivating and building each other up. Creating circles of faith in each other, and hope, that we recognize the contributions each of us makes to this world personally and professionally.

Thank you to Wonder Women Tech for creating such an inclusive space that promotes diversity and inclusion for all women. It truly was an incredible experience today hearing the voices of women raised in unison.

My only ask of you readers is that you pay this forward to someone else as well.

Who will you help today?

 

I'm just a nerd trying to figure it out. Stay tuned for my wacky adventures in social experiments!

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