I cannot run faster than a locomotive. I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound. And as much I would sometimes like to try it, I cannot pilot an invisible jet in my underwear.
But I do have a secret superpower. I have the remarkable ability to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. It’s called persistence.
I first became aware of this hidden superpower when I was 22 years old – soon after bombing on one of my very first Wall Street job interviews. In my defense, I was starving! The interview was scheduled in the late afternoon and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Every time I was asked a question, all I think could think about was how every item on interviewer’s desk looked edible. His stapler resembled a chocolate bar. His pen holder, a giant chef salad. And his phone, well that was just a phone. But I digress.
Later that day, while eating my 5pm breakfast, I agonized over how poorly that interview went. A few days later I decided to call the interviewer to “follow up”.
As I had feared, he did not return my call.
So, I called again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
I must have left about 15 messages with his receptionist.
After more than a week of incessant phone calls (to be clear, this is something I NEVER did following a date), my future ex-boss finally called me back. His exact words to me were, “Look, I’ll be honest with you. I really don’t think you have what it takes to succeed in this field. But, I am looking up the word, persistence, in the dictionary and right underneath it, is your picture. So why don’t you come in for a second interview.”
He would later thank me for proving him wrong. As had many others who had underestimated me.
The truth is, it is I who is grateful to them. For it was their skepticism that fueled me.
I take tremendous pride in all that I’ve accomplished since the day I tried to eat a paper weight off of an interviewer’s desk.
I only hope that many more people doubt my determination. Because being underestimated is when I am at my best.
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