PICK ME! Turning challenges into triumphs

Pick Me!

"My back is pressed against the cold block wall and I’m dying from a quiet desperation building inside me, as boy after boy is selected for one of four teams. I grew up with these boys, they’ve known me since kindergarten, there is no hiding from the truth – I’m small, slow and weak – and in gym class, those do not equate to success. I plead with my eyes, imploring one of my four classmates to PICK ME! as their eyes move past me, with no compassion. I don’t want to be one of the last ones picked, it’s humiliating, but as the numbers dwindle, it becomes an inevitable possibility.”

We learn at an early age that no matter how many times our parents (teachers or other persons of authority) step in, we can not be protected from bad things happening. And for the majority of us, those bad things are not of a physical variety, but of the psychological.
Growing up, there was no denying I was small, but without the accompanying and balancing effect of being “quick and fast” – I couldn't win a foot race to save my life. And in the example above, even those people we know are more driven to win, than they are to be compassionate – so, I got used to being one of the last people picked for teams. It hurt, but I also understood – if given the chance to pick the team (which everyone did get the opportunity) – I did the same thing, you pick the fastest, the strongest, the biggest – you picked to win.
That was sports for me until my junior year in high school, when I finally grew, got more coordinated, go stronger, go faster. All those years of busting my ass and failing, now paid dividends. I was used to working harder than more “natural athletes”, I was used to hard times, I was used to losing – so when I got the chance to win, my experience had given me an edge they didn't have.
Disappointment & Triumphs Observation #1 : Experience Teaches
In many cases, having things given to you is a curse, not a blessing. Knowing what you want and struggling to get it, pays the biggest dividends.

Date Me!

"My gut was so wrenched, I thought I was going to throw-up. How could such a simple thing as making a phone call, cause so many conflicting emotions. All I had to do was dial the number, ask for her (what if her Dad answered), and then ask her for a date – simple really. It’s not like she was a stranger. We went to school together, we had known each other for years, we had talked on several occasions, so why was this phone call so hard?As I dialed the number, everything slowed down, everything seemed in slow motion. As the ringing was came through, I wondered how many rings, how long should I let this go on – and then, without warning, she answered – and I was completely speechless. As I stumbled and mumbled, trying to get to the all important question “would you like to go to homecoming with me?” ... she said “did Steve tell you, I’m going to go to homecoming with him …”. I still don’t know exactly what was said after that, because it didn’t matter anymore.”

Dating may be the worst (and best) experience in your life. No matter how prepared you are to enter the dating world (although most of us aren’t) with information provided by your parents, your friends, any and all confidants you have – no one can truly prepare you for your own personal journey into dating and falling in love. No one can prepare you in the emotional assault you will undergo; the hours of preparation; the days of despair; the exhilarating moments where time is suspended. We all travel our own road – others are better equipped to help than I am – I’m still navigating through the highs and lows.
Disappointment & Triumphs Observation #2 : Challenges Strengthen
As my girlfriend quoted to me the other day “so far, my record for making it through bad days is 100%”. Life is a series of ups and down (sometimes very extreme), once you recognize that, you are then free to choose which events define you, and which don’t.

Hire Me!

"Arnie, can you come to my office”. Depending on the situation, that is not exactly a phrase most of us want to hear. Once seated, my boss said, “I’ve got to let you go.” And my heart sank, my stomach churned and I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. More was said, but the punchline had already been delivered. I left her office, packed my desk up, and drove home.”

It was my first job out of college. I got hired to do something I hated, but spent the first few months worming my way into what I really wanted to do. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to do “marketing” instead of some quasi-marketing role that really was selling – just not called selling. And I busted my ass; I did what I was told, while also making suggestions; I attacked deadlines; I took initiative; we did new things, in new ways, producing results … literally, I loved that job and the people I worked with. I was young, and having fun. Until that day when I was called into my boss’s office and told I didn’t work there anymore.
It wasn’t performance related (two weeks prior, I was given high praise on my performance evaluation, a raise and a bonus); it wasn’t my attitude or personality (my boss said she enjoyed working with me); it wasn’t the business (the business was growing and expanding); it wasn’t my job (we had already mapped out the next phase of “what we are going to do”).
So why did I get fired? It was in-fighting between executives within the company – as simple as that. Someone had to prove they held the biggest hammer in the game, and I was the nail that got hit.
Disappointment & Triumphs Observation #3 : Perseverance Wins
You can do everything right in your job (life) and still get fired (have bad things happen). Sometimes, things just happen and it has nothing to do with you. Your only choice is to pick yourself up and get moving to the next thing – whatever that is in your life.

Whatever happens, you matter

There is never a good time to be forced to “put yourself out there” – it sucks to not be picked in gym class, not get the date with that special someone or to be told you “don’t work here anymore”. Life is full of disappointments, but it is also full of triumphs. They are the inevitable cycles, creating who we are and providing us with our own personal color, depth and stories.
I wrote this article for three reasons: (1) Because no matter how much I know, I can always learn more; (2) Because your story is just as personal as mine, filled with many of the same highs and lows; and (3) Because with every disappointment, I know there is a triumph.


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