I posted and then took down a very personal blog last week. It took 24 hours for me to decide the information was just too personal to share on such a public forum. I re-read it a few times before I made the decision. Besides making me uncomfortable, I realized it had no point.
Then I received a succession of Tweets from someone who read it and told me it inspired her. She is trying to do the “impossible” right now and my post helped her believe that it was possible. In the spirit of wanting to inspire someone else and giving my blog a “point” I am posting another version of it.
I have been running my own business for 34 years. It is amazing to me that I’ve made it to this place and if someone asks me how I did it my answer is usually “I have no idea.” I just did what I had to do. As my Twitter friend said: “Failure is not an option”. If I had taken the time to stand back and think about what was ahead I would have realized that it was impossible.
I escaped an abusive childhood at the age of 15 by getting pregnant. I got married….had another child and then divorced at 18. Out on my own with two children, no real means of support and a deadbeat father that disappeared into the night. No education, no skills and in desperate need of a job. We lived in California at the time and the state provided a few programs someone in my position could take advantage of. I trained to be a secretary….got a job and supported my kids. We were broke most of the time but we did okay. Maybe I wouldn’t have been voted mother of the year but I guess I did something right. They are grown with families of their own and seem to be very happy.
I did what I had to do and made sure my kids were well fed, cared for and loved. For the rest of the world though I spent most of those years in a bitter, resentful and aggressively angry cloud. Why didn’t I get the advantages my friends and job competition had? Normal family life, college, career training. Boo-hoo.
I hated people. I hated successful people, I hated happy people. I hated everyone that represented everything I wasn’t or didn’t have. My sharp tongue and intimidating manner said “Don’t mess with me”. I was so proud of what I thought was my strength. Wanting to do more with my career I took a job as a recruiter in a franchised employment agency. Believe it or not I got into this people business of recruiting during my "hate people" period. I managed to get by on wit, determination, the ability to hide my resentment and an above-average gift of gab. I ended up being the top producer in the office.
After 2 years my employer folded, unable to weather the economic storm. It was 1975 and we were in the ending stages of another awful recession. My only choice was to find another “career” or open my own recruiting business. I had gotten this far doing the impossible. Why not go out on my own? The rest of that story is that I’m still here in 2009.
About my people hating – Not to simplify it but the short version is that my accomplishments and surviving my failures gave me confidence in myself. I realized it wasn’t the “tough” strength that got me through. That wasn’t even a strength it was a defense. I discovered I had real strength. Once I quit the pity-party and the self-hate I was able to see the good around me and in people My anger wasn’t getting in the way of my happiness anymore. Now there is nothing that makes me feel better than to help those people I used to hate.
So, the point is: You can do the impossible if you don’t look at it as being impossible. No matter how dismal your future looks or how limited your options appear, there’s a way and it’s all inside of you.
Although I don't recommend it, you can even start out hating people and become a successful recruiter!