Friday, May 22, 2015

Guest Post: A Silver Twig (Always Bet on Yourself)

The best piece of career advice I was ever given came when I was 23 years old and my business manager said to me, "No matter who you know, or where you are, you must always bet on yourself. Believe you are worth more, know more, and can do more than anyone else says or believes you can."

Why was I told this? I'll make a confession. I was a 2x college dropout with a former drug and alcohol problem. I'd lost hope in myself and my manager called me on it. She told me I was smarter than I thought, more talented than I believed, and was capable of greater things than I knew. She was right, but I didn't know it then.

First, let me introduce myself...

My name is Ashley and I blog at A Silver Twig which is a faith-based life and style blog. I live in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two dogs. I am a graduate of Florida State University and I work as a Technical Writer for a software company. I've completely pulled my life together and I've found great success, but it's all because I once had a manager, a mentor really, who forced me to have faith in myself.

Ashley in Atlantic Station

I was initially hired by my former manager to work in a call center but within 3 months she said to me, "You're better than this" and she transferred me to Finance working in billing and collections. She sent me to training seminars and workshops. She sent me to travel on business conferences with our management team. She encouraged me to go back to school and to finish my degree. She was always my champion and through it all she always said to me, "Today I'm betting on you. One day you'll learn to bet on yourself."

Then the day came, after I'd been working for this manager for four years, when I sat down with her for my annual evaluation. She didn't say much at first. It was tense, and quiet.

Then she said to me, "What are you still doing here?" 

I didn't know what to say. I was shocked, and confused. I just said, "I work here. This is my job. What do you mean what am I still doing here?" 

She only said, "You're better than this. I feel like you're settling because you're afraid to move on to something else. I worry that you think you can't do better but you can. You shouldn't be here. There's nowhere else for you to grow. It's time to bet on yourself and make your dreams come true. I'm never going to fire you but I want you to soul search, identify your passions, and pursue them. I'll be a reference for you and help you the best I can. Bet on yourself now."

So I did. She knew what I wanted. We had spoken and had conversations. She knew I wanted to live in a city and she knew I wanted a more challenging career. She also knew that I was just scared. 

I was scared that I wasn't good enough. I was scared that I wasn't smart enough. I was scared that people wouldn't hire me because I didn't do things the "right" way because I didn't go to college immediately after high school and I didn't graduate at 22 with a 3.8 GPA.  I didn't have an internship or any major college accomplishment. I didn't have anything that made me stand out from the crowd or that made me look like I was going to be a wise investment.

I was just a woman in my late 20's with a lot of regret and a pipe dream that I could move past those regrets and still live a life I wanted. 

Yet she told me to bet on myself.

She encouraged me to apply for jobs that I thought were far above my qualifications but I did and I was hired.

She encouraged me to move to Atlanta and chase my dreams so I did and it's been a stellar success.

She encouraged me to always bet on myself and know that I can do more than I think I can. 

So now I'm here to tell you the same thing. No matter how you feel or what regrets you might have you have to bet on yourself. You can make your dreams come true. All you have to do is roll the dice, take a risk, and believe in yourself. 

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