I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my senior year in college and I decided that I wanted to do an internship at an agency in the Criminal Justice field. I figured this would give me a deeper understanding of the profession and help guide me where I wanted to go after graduation. So, I made my appointment with the program chair and had a rude awakening.
As I sat there, as a young, black, first-generation, college student I began to ask him questions about my options and what I wanted to do. Then, it happened. He said, “Well, looking at your grades you have no chance in getting an internship!” At that moment I felt crushed, humiliated, and borderline stupid. I sat there in amazement that based on his expertise and opportunities available that I wouldn’t have access to what I believed and what the industry believed would provide experience and insight for my career path. I became angry. I wondered if he could’ve said it nicer to me. He was just so blunt about it. But, I was also angry with myself. Why didn’t I perform better? What side-tracked me that didn’t have the 3.0 or higher that was required? But, hearing the words come out of his mouth gave me two options: (1) To accept what he said and not seek an opportunity, and (2) To find another route to gain to accomplish what I envisioned for myself. I decided to take option two as my fate.
Although I heard what the program chair had to say, I refused to allow it to be my reality. Myles Monroe said, “Never let someone’s opinion become your reality.” When we accept the opinions of others – especially negative ones – they defeat us. Our dreams, aspirations, and progress becomes tainted because we unconsciously believe that we are not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to do what we envisioned. I say if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
As I walked out that office I began to think about how I could prove him wrong so I began to get to work. Based on my efforts I landed an internship with the Department of Natural Resources assisting with the law enforcement unit – which happened to be one of the best experiences of my life. It happened only because I decided not to accept defeat.
“Don’t limit yourself, it minimizes the impact of proving to others that you possessed what it took to be successful”
In life, we will journey down different paths where people will tell us no. It will be a hard and devastating blow to our dignity and pride. However, it isn’t the end of the world. The actress and childhood star, Raven Symone, once said, “If a person tells you no, it only means that you talked to the wrong person.” When a person says “no” it’s fuel that a yes is possible in the future but you can’t give up.
To achieve success we have to go through a process that builds character and develops tenacity so that when something fails, or someone refuses to fund your project, you can gracefully move forward without it impacting the potential that you have embedded within your DNA. No matter what path we travel in life, do not give up on the things that mean the most to you. With continued effort and drive all things are possible. It might take longer than expected, but with drive and focus, eventually you’ll reach your goal. So, don’t limit yourself, be successful anyway!