‘Oh, I’ll show them!’ STOP, no ya won’t, so let me save you some time… It is kind of comical that folks believe that once they’ve achieved a certain degree of success, people will respect them more! No they won’t! Those same people will create fodder to discredit your accomplishments, devalue your successes and accredit your achievements to EVERYTHING but your hard work and tenacity! So, why are you showing out to this unworthy audience? What could you possibly have to prove to them? NOTHING!
I used to say ‘I’ve achieved out of spite alone since 1981.’ What a sad mantra I was once so sassy and proud to tout. I never succeeded out of spite alone. Although, I admittedly have experienced my ‘bury them in accomplishments and dance on their grave with living well’ moments! What? I’m only human! But, was spite the catalyst of all of my life’s accomplishments? Not even close.
Sadly, I’d later learn that the victories that were prompted by spite were short lived. Those victories, it turned out, were sent as distractions from what I was supposed to be doing at that time. The spiteful victories were always costly set backs, because as my father would say,
“when you’re done with the theatrics, then go get it done.”
Your passion and purpose comes in the form of hard work. But they will also stand suspended in time and place, waiting for you to get done with the theatrics so you can do some REAL work!
Once you’ve identified your purpose, the real work takes on a life of it’s own. The life it takes on may be bigger than you. Maya Angelou said in an interview with Oprah,
“I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.”
So I ask you, who are YOUR 10,000 that you are showing up for? Identify them, even if only in your mind.
Last Summer, I received the most amazing opportunity to attend a symposium at The White House on STEM Mentorship. Megan J. Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, moderated the discussion and stated,
“Mentorship is the most fundamental way we learn. You need to see one, in order to believe you can be one.”
Not all of us consider ourselves to be “mentors,” but we should, because we are all being watched by someone! That can be a friend, family member, colleague, or the person on the treadmill next to you. Someone is watching you with the belief that if they see you do, they can do too.
So the next time you’re tempted to “show out,” to prove your capabilities, to someone who will just find the next thing to deem you incapable of. Take a deep breath, refocus your energies and think of what you should TRULY be doing in that moment. Time is of the essence, because your 10,000 are waiting for you, so they can come through too!
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