I did a great deal of recruiting of college graduates over the span of my career. I also had a super interaction with team members as I mentored/coached and supervised teams. I loved developing those relationships. The whole experience was invigorating and inspiring. One of the road blocks I heard over and over again was the past. People with a bright future, people who worked hard and people who were well trained some times hesitated to try for a new advancement because of their past. They felt the fact they grew up in a small town, graduated from a small school, had a dysfunctional family, was not born with the right pedigree, etc. would limit their ability to take on larger responsibilities. Sometimes we face our greatest enemy when we look in the mirror and it is ourself!
Your past is in the past. Do not let it become an anchor that keeps you from reaching new heights, new challenges or new opportunities. You have developed from past experiences but use them to your advantage. Take the positive from each experience and sell yourself to you and those who are reviewing you.
Let’s just take growing up in a small community as an example. Here are just a few people who did not let that keep them from reaching the peak of success:
Dwight Eisenhower – He was born in Denison, TX and raised in a small town in Kansas and yet, he became the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII successfully commanding D-Day Invasion. He was a graduate of West Point, a five star general and later was elected to be President of the United States. He oversaw the building of what is now the interstate highway system in the United States.
Chester Nimitz – He became the Admiral over the Allied Pacific Fleet during WWII. He was born nowhere close to the ocean. He was born in Fredericksburg, TX. A small town in the Texas Hill Country.
Elvis Presley – He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. In a small church in that town, he learned to sing in the church choir and his father bought him his first guitar from a local hardware store (I have been there). He became one of the great cultural icons in modern history.
Helen Keller – She was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was blind and deaf and lived in a remote/small city in Northern Alabama, yet she became an author and a lecturer and has inspired generations around the world with her drive and ability to communicate.
Carrie Underwood – A highly successful singer and songwriter and Grammy award winner. She was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma and not with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Rex Tillerson – He currently serves as Secretary of State for the United States of America. Prior to this he became the CEO of Exxon, one of the largest and most successful corporations in the world. Did you know he was born in Wichita Falls, TX and was raised in Vernon, TX?
I could go on and on with examples. Wouldn’t it be a shame if these people let where they came from stop them from impacting the world? You too have much to give to those around you. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you did not allow yourself to reach full potential because you let where you came from act as an anchor rather than a foundation to build on and learn from and share with others. Tell your story and make it one people can use for inspiration! Where are you going? Now that’s what is important. Like the picture above, the sun in rising in your life. Go Get’em!!
Until next time, Peace! 🙂