[Today’s post comes from a personal friend and colleague, Mike Crespo. Mike is a freelance copywriter who writes persuasive marketing materials for companies. I hope you, like me, enjoy reading his story.]
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the small room of my college counselor and he said something I still can’t forget – “I’m happy you’re going back to school. Statistically you’re not supposed to be here.”
I know he said it in a thoughtful way and didn’t mean anything bad by it. But it was like a punch in the gut.
I walked in there with the confidence that I can do this. And in a few short years I’d have my bachelors and could get a job at an agency making a decent living.
I walked out thinking, “what the hell am I doing here?”
I knew exactly what he meant. Being a high school dropout on paper meant I was doomed to live in poverty…that I didn’t have the proper training necessary to have a real J.O.B.
At the time, I almost bought in to the BS.
Don’t let anything stop you…ever
I was there because I felt sorry for myself. My copywriting career was floundering – along with my confidence – and my marriage was reflecting those same negative emotions.
I had decided to put copywriting on the back burner, go to school and collect a check from my G.I. bill. I didn’t feel that I was properly trained to be the A-Level copywriter I wanted to be.
I didn’t just want to get by as a copywriter…I wanted to excel.
Statistically, I was meant to be some laborer building sweat equity in a dead end J.O.B. Life has pushed me around and dealt me a tough hand.
At one time I was homeless, living out of my ’89 Camaro. Abandoned by my mother at a young age and living with my father (who was busting his butt 90 hours a week just to keep a roof over our heads) left my brother, my sister and me to fit in where we got in. Which wasn’t always with the best crowd.
Not to mention my severe stuttering problem that complimented my slurring lisp. Plus my dad thought I looked pretty handsome with long hair so I rocked a ponytail throughout elementary and middle school. I give credit to all these factors for my mean right hook!
No one ever taught me right from wrong. I didn’t know about reading personal development books to grow my inner self.
I always felt like the outsider in my family. When I would do or say something not in par with their thinking I would be made fun of or ridiculed as if I thought I were better than them.
Never feel sorry for yourself
Back to sitting in my counselor’s office. I remember feeling like I was quitting something …yet once again.
Like going back to school was my way out and excuse for not becoming the copywriter I knew I wanted to be.
I remembered a book I’ve read more than a dozen times, and which I now read to my kids: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It’s about a little boy named Brian who was stranded in Canada’s Northern territory left with nothing but a small hatchet.
One night Brian was attacked by a porcupine.
As he laid there with the quills penetrating his leg he began to weep saying, “I can’t do this, it’s too much.”
Later on Brian recalled that moment and said something I never forgot…
Self-pity doesn’t work.
Not just because it’s wrong, but because it really doesn’t work. You can cry all you want but at the end of the day you still have quills sticking out your leg.
Crying doesn’t make it better or worse. It just makes you waste your precious time.
Several times in my own life, I regrettably turned to self-pity. But it never worked. I had to answer to myself when I looked in the mirror.
Get outside your comfort zone – where the REAL magic happens
Fast-forward to the present. I’m now a paid copywriter. And my clients are happy to have me working for them.
Action got me here. I got off my butt and went out in the world waaayy outside of my comfort zone, where all the magic happens.
I got in front of crowds and spoke with the confidence of a seasoned professional speaker. I made the calls and built the relationships needed to earn greenbacks in exchange for persuasively written words.
Have I reached success?
Partially. Success is a personal thing. One of my goals was to earn money from this here laptop. So I’ve succeeded in that along with a few other goals.
I still feel those emotions of fear and self-doubt, but I drink them in and then swallow them away to the blackness of hell.
Nothing can stop me now.
I’ve found my core emotion complex of why I want to be a copywriter. I’ve written out my goals and laid out a plan to get there. Whenever I’m feeling like the long-haired stuttering kid, I revert back to my why.
I tell myself, “winning is fun but winning when nobody thought you could is AWESOME!”
Somewhere some self-proclaimed genius came up with the statistics my counselor was referring to.
But they forgot to account for one thing: A burning desire to succeed through all cost with the ability to overcome substantial obstacles.
Neither my past nor my present can dictate where I can go. Only I control my destiny.
Where are you on your path to personal success? Have you found your why? Do you have the burning desire to succeed no matter what life brings your way? I’d love to hear your story.
Leave your comments below and we can help motivate each other to reach what we truly desire.
Veni, vidi, vici,