From the time I was a child, I remember feeling that nothing I did was ever good enough. If I got a B+ on an exam I would be questioned as to why it wasn’t an A+. The times I won first place in art shows it didn’t really seem like it mattered. I excelled in pretty much everything I did but I was always the black sheep in my family and I couldn’t escape it.
Eventually I realized that I would never get the praise and recognition that I had hoped for at home. However, at school I was popular and because I tried so hard with everything I did my teachers couldn’t help but love me. Having this supportive environment at school helped build my self-confidence, but I couldn’t help but question myself and my abilities because I was always on a shaky foundation at home. Maybe I was just fooling everyone at school and maybe I was fooling myself too. I was becoming convinced at a young age that I wasn’t good enough.
Despite these feelings, I knew I was smart and I believed that I could outwork everyone to get results. As I started my career, this work ethic got noticed. I was eventually promoted to a national role, working exclusively for our biggest client as the one-man (woman) show to run their insurance program. John, the owner and president of our independent insurance company at the time, gave me his full vote of confidence that I could succeed in my new role. However, the decision initially proved unpopular amongst some of my colleagues. At our company conference, I prepared a presentation for everyone on how I planned to successfully navigate our largest account by myself. At the end of my presentation during the question period, people started speaking out saying it wasn’t going to work. It would fail. I wouldn’t be able to do it; the territory was too large. Others weren’t saying anything but I could tell by the looks on their faces that they agreed. I could feel my childhood wounds creeping in on me. What if they were right? What if I couldn’t do it? What if I wasn’t good enough? Luckily, John believed in me and my ability to succeed but he also recognized I needed help. My emotional glass ceilings resulted in behavior that was at times, reactionary and emotionally charged. I was willing to fight to the death for any issue I felt strongly about. This could cause friction with some of my colleagues and when I wasn’t floating like a butterfly, I was stinging like a bee. If I was going to continue to advance in my career I had to address some of the internal issues I was struggling with that prevented me from being my best self. John encouraged me to go to therapy and supported me through that process. Having him believe in me to the extent that he did truly helped me believe in myself. I got the help, I did the work and I CRUSHED my new role in 2011!! John gave me the freedom to fail along the way but he always expected me to get up, dust myself off and get back up on that unicorn and ride. I would encourage anyone else who is struggling in their life to be brave and reach out to get the help that they need. It isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. If you’re not growing you’re dying. Commit to growing and smashing through the glass ceilings that hold you back from living a life of your full potential!