The Moment You Been Waiting For: When Your Hard Work Starts to Pay Off
“Aunt EB how did you feel after you graduated from college?”
Smile, “How do you feel dear?!”
“I do not feel anything. I do not feel any different. I thought I would but I don’t.”
I smiled back at my niece when she asked me this question, because I knew exactly what she was asking me. She did not want to know how I felt when I graduated. The recent college graduate wanted to know when would she start to reap the benefits of her hard work.
As a first generation college graduate and first world traveler of my immediate family, I had to, no I have to fight, for my accomplishments. Often having to figure out how to navigate the new world of college campuses, financial aid offices, interviews, networking and professional meetings, all by myself. So while graduating college was an actualized moment, it was not the moment of fruition she hoped for.
So my answer to her was
“Baby girl, you will feel more accomplished and valued after you get more experience. After you utilize what you have learned and make a few mistakes, you will feel more accomplished. After you fall and think you cannot get back up, despite the odds; you will come back better and stronger than before. It won’t happen over night, but just keep working, dream big and believe in yourself. Recognize that you are special and work in the areas you need improvement. Sooner or later there will come a time when people will start to recognize your hard work, your expertise and your special skills and abilities. Until then you just keep working and dreaming big.”
It is easy to give-up on yourself when your dreams seem unattainable and so far out of reach, that it is just a dream in a cloud. It is easy to believe naysayers, when others do not dance to the same drumbeat as you. I have cried so many days, because I felt like I was going in circles. As if I was a rat in a rat race. Then I had to remember, it is not the big moments that define us and life does not miraculously change in a shift of a second. Instead it happens over small moments in time.
I remember there was a time when I would sit at work in staff meetings and I would not say a word. I did not say a word, not because I did not have anything to say, but because people often did not take me seriously. I was considered a worker bee and not a person of value. Now, I sit in meetings and very often, not every meeting, someone looks me in the eye and ask “EB what do you think?”
Although, I recognize I still have a long way to go until I reach the peek of my career, when I will be considered indispensable, it is refreshing to know that others are finally starting to recognize my value. It did not happen over night or with glimmering lights, it happen with the simple question of “EB what do you think?” and thru hard work, perseverance, and self-discipline. I never gave up on myself. I always tried to be strategic in my decisions and sought guidance as well as advice when necessary.
As we approach the New Year, remember you are a person of value and that people just need the opportunity to catch up with you. Most importantly, remember it is never too late to work towards your goals and dreams, or to simply get back up from that one time you were knocked down. Do not look for fireworks, but look for those small differences that make the larger difference.
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