Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Success, potentially.

The Setting: Just finished my morning pot of coffee. Reflecting on a week of--what? WORK!

The Soundtrack: Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Steaming up the Oven: Banana Almond-Crunch Cake.

The Scenario:
They (such luminaries as Dick Button and, I have been told, Linus van Pelt) say there is no greater burden than potential.

I'll clink a glass to that.

Although the possibility certainly exists that such dialogues transpired much earlier, the first discussion of my wasted potential that I recall occurred in a conference between my parents and my third grade teacher, Mrs. Austin.

"Morgan is so bright. I'm telling you, she can do ANYTHING," the conversation started so well. "The thing is...most of the time, she simply doesn't."

It's not that I was ever lazy. I was simply more interested in my own projects than in those assigned to me.

I mean, you pick: alphabetize a list of vocabulary words and copy their definitions from a volume of Webster's the size of a toddler, or organize the neighborhood kids to start a backyard library?


As I aged of course I found the value in following directions...something about becoming a contributing member of society...getting a job...keeping a job...and by the time I made it to the last 0f my academic pursuits, I was a valued straight-A student.

Excelling academically was like wind in my sails in the classroom, but my success felt more like an anchor when I hit the high seas.

The job market in August looked something like Filene's Basement after an 80%-off sale. All the good stuff had been swiped up, and what was left behind was frayed around the edges, too tight in the waist, and too big everywhere else.

I typed up version after version of my resume, but my qualifications looked meager and lame on paper. I couldn't even get an interview.

The prescribed structure of most online applications would not allow me to list my culinary school experience, as I could not report a graduation date, and when I could list it, I worried it would appear that I dropped out because of poor performance. There was no "check this box if you were one lousy internship short of graduating when your husband got a job 900 miles away and you had to leave your flawless transcript hanging in the abyss." How could I convey through these impersonal, electronic means that I had the necessary skills?

Knowing you are capable, but appearing an invalid is the real-life version of the nightmare in which you try to run, but your feet won't move; you try to scream, but you make no sound.

The good news is you always wake up.

"There is no greater burden than potential, and that burden has been lifted tonight." --Dick Button, referring to a successful performance by ice skater Sasha Cohen

A few weeks ago I got a call that went something like, "Hi, Morgan. I recently received your application for our cheese buyer position, and am calling to see if you would be interested in coming in for an interview."

I was interested.

One interview tuned into two, and the second came with a job offer and a lifted burden--or, I should say, a lightened load.

That's the thing about success, it's progressive.

What I've actually achieved is a name-tag, a title, and a venue in which to live up to my potential.

Will I be successful?



Tara said...

Your insights are so valuable. I'm considering making the religion class kids I'm subbing today read your post. I know a lot of them would feel comforted that they're not the only ones who struggle to succeed in the ways laid out for them to succeed.

MarilynTheRealtor said...

Morgan, I know you will bloom where you are planted. What a good article. I like your phrase "success is progressive." I've heard mastery of anything is suggested to take 10,000 hours of practice whether you are an athlete, an Olympian, musician, artist, technologist, or writer. You are on a path to mastery.