|Stepping stone photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart
Stepping stones keep you out of the mire and the muck. They lift you up and give you direction.
I have used events in my life as motivational stepping stones to give my life direction and keep me out things that could otherwise muck things up.
I love to learn new things. I have always been the type of person that sees something of interest in everything. I often see things, and think I could do that. If offered the opportunity, I would try, just to see if I could accomplish the task.
My success rate has varied in degrees between great success and failing miserably. Yet, even when I failed, I learned something new, something about myself I didn’t know before. Each success and each failure I used as a motivational stepping stone to guide my next step.
Does that mean I do everything well? Definitely not, but hopefully by gaining new knowledge about myself and the world around me I gain an appreciation for those who can do things I can’t. That appreciation helps me build great relationships with people who have different talents. In life you need people who can do the jobs you can’t.
You have heard the phrase, “No man is an island.” That is very true.
For example, I know I will never be an accountant. Numbers hate me. I could however, become a ceramic tile layer. While numbers may hate me, angles love me. In my mind, accounting tends to be more statistical, numbers in rows and rows, while the geometry of measurements and angles are alive, more relational. I love relationships. You would think, math is math, but it’s very different.
If I had listened to those who said, you’ve never done that, or you can’t do that, I would have missed out on learning a very satisfying hobby. By the same token, I know I have to be very careful when I balance my checkbook. Lucky for me, I have a relationship with someone who is great with numbers to help me. Just because you have learned how to do a task, does not mean it comes easy to you, or it is something you should pursue. But now I know that is a direction I don’t want to go.
Sometimes the events placed in your path change your direction. Many people would allow that change to stop them, but I propose that you use your negative to create a positive. Sometimes negative motivation can lead you in a positive direction.
You would think, as someone who loves to learn new things, I would have attended a multitude of accredited colleges or universities. Alas, I have not. I have an ongoing education in LIFE. I have to say, I’m a survivor and I’m very proud of that.
When I was 19, life crashed in and I had no choice but to learn how to take care of myself. I was in design school, with a promising future ahead and a new husband. Life was perfect until he became very ill.
As a new wife, I did what needed to be done, I left school and spent the next year with my husband in and out of the hospital as he fought severe complications from juvenile diabetes. Just before my 20th birthday, the unthinkable happened, he passed away.
On my own, I had to work just to survive and keep a roof above my head, a car to drive, basic survival; there was no time to go back to school. I had BILLS.
There were so many people in my life, telling me I would never get a job that amounted to anything because I didn’t finish school. If I had listened to them, I’d still be at Burger Queen today.
As it turned out, I kept applying and my persistence and talent got me in the door to my first design job at age 20, before most of my peers were even out of school. I worked diligently to learn everything I could about the business I was in. That is a habit I have retained even now.
My philosophy, and it’s served me very well, never be afraid to try something above your pay grade. My first “real” design job was is screen printing. I designed wearable art for colleges all across the US. I was very good at my job, I took instruction well, paid attention to the details and had a way with customers. My art director saw something in me and encouraged it, he relied on me to get things done and help in areas he where he was overwhelmed.
Because I was able to bridge a gap between creative and sales/customer service our parent company in Nashville promoted me to train other artists in screen printing techniques and be a liaison between the sales staff and the art department. I was also offered the opportunity to learn computer graphics, which I immediately jumped on.
My desire to learn served as a stepping stone to my first promotion, and my next, and then to my next position and my next.
Every job I have ever had was there to teach me something valuable. Never discount experience, good or bad. Good shows you are making progress, bad teaches you to go in another direction. Each job offers opportunities to learn great things and expand your skill set.
My point is, by being willing to try something new, I gained potential for greater things. A motivational stepping stone, that launched me into my next career phase. I’m not knocking a good degree, I believe education is very important, but sometimes experience and willingness speak volumes more.
Never let anyone knock you down because of education, or lack of it. The world is a very diverse place, don’t limit yourself to negative view of it.
There are employers out there who think outside of the box and are willing to see the potential in others. Don’t be afraid to try for something better. When an opportunity arises, work hard and show your capacity and willingness to learn and excel. A good work ethic can be priceless in business.
Look for those motivational stepping stones, step out and learn something new. Who knows, you might find a gift you never knew you had.