"Have you ever had someone say something about your work that felt like a punch in the gut? Where you were almost shocked how downright ignorant and mean it was?
While most of us get that learning to deal with criticism is an essential part of the creative game, that intellectual awareness doesn’t always help us emotionally.
Especially when you’re first starting out.
Words sting. And unfortunately, the harshest words often linger in the back corners of our minds longer than we’d like to admit.
That’s why I want to tell you a story about this guy who put me down on an escalator and how I’ve used that experience to lift myself up."
This one really struck home with me. I had an experience with a total douchebag, that made me work harder in my life, to prove him wrong. And, to make it even worse, this douchebag was my TEACHER.
When I was in seventh grade, my geometry teacher would greet me every morning with "Hey, Hollingsworthless." Worthless. WORTHLESS.
I spent every day of that year, essentially being told I was worthless. That it was part of my name - HollingsWORTHLESS.
I became determined to prove him wrong. Even though the other kids laughed at me. Even though I felt like shit, I held my head high, and mastered his math class. In fact, as a girl who "isn't supposed to be good at math," I got the highest grades in the class.
I graduated from high school. I got a degree in Biology, and then a Master's Degree in Ed Administration, and just finally finished my PhD in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
I've spent every moment of my life, proving I wasn't worthless. So, now that I'm DOCTOR (and he's not), I teach hundreds of teachers every year what demeaning your students can do to them. No teacher should ever be allowed to make their student feel worthless.
But would I trade that horrible experience? I would not be the same person I am today, without it.
Now, I not only teach at a university, I run a website for empowering women in science. I'm an author (written eight books, now working on my ninth), a motivational speaker, and an all-around badass chick.
His put-down became the fuel that fired me up. I won that game, hands down.
What experiences have you had, in your own life, that fueled your fire? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!