Life is not a matter of having good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.
When my supervisor first assigned me to teach one of her classes, my first thought was, ‘yass it is finally happening!’ I had wanted to teach since day one and it was finally happening after months. Exciting, right?
I, however, was not prepared for the buzz of doubt that hit me just minutes after walking out of her office It was like that moment you apply for a job to a big shot company with quarter-cup confidence knowing too well that your chances of being called are slim to none. And then they call you for an interview and it is all you can do not to pass out. Because by saying yes, you may be ruining or making your life (you know how sour interviews can make you feel.)
I thought of so many things. Would the students have a problem with my accent? (Most people wouldn’t and I don’t either.) But living in a country where it is the first thing people point out after I complete my sentences, you do see why I might worry about it. To bring the point closer home, academia, just like several other fields, is heavily dependent on one’s ability to convey information with clarity. So, Mallory, you do see why having the knowledge by itself wasn’t going to cut it.
Secondly, would the students even listen to me in the first place? Most of the students in that class are 1-2 years younger than or the same age as me. What if I bored the lights out of them? Trust that I thought of all worst-case scenarios. My stomach was even beginning to hurt!
You must be thinking like me. Melo, that should not be too hard. Just slap on a bad-ass blazer with power pants and you’ll be halfway on the road to convincing them that ‘you are the thing’😎.
And, you do make a good case there, Mallory. You do. But tell me, if power clothes are just one half of it, what about the rest? On top of the knowledge, preparation, borrowed wit and power pants, I needed something more. Something that would sell from minute one. Can you guess what that thing is?
I needed confidence, more than anything else. At least for that first time. With confidence, you can sell even the worst of ideas. Also, it didn’t matter that I felt confident or not on the day, but I sure as hell needed to ‘look’ it and exude it as well. Why? People are wired to pick up on the vibes around them. Isn’t that is why we tend to buy from the most confident hawker at the market? (I know I do.) Even in cut-throat interviews, excellent energy will take you through the finish line ahead of the rest. (on top of your glowing credentials. Yes, Mallory, I’ve heard of your academic prowess!)
So, take these two things home with you. One: Everything around us operates on the principle of energy. For example, take a look at your friends. Consciously or unconsciously, you chose them because they meet your level of energy…or because your energies have a level of sync. It is the same case with your career; any room that you walk into from today, know that it is up to you to set the energy you want.
Thing two: Maybe like me, when you look at your workplace or whatever your setting, you almost believe that your young age is a ‘setback’. You constantly find yourself worrying that people may not take you with the level of seriousness you deserve based on that single aspect -your young age. It is not just you. I feel it too almost all the time!
Think with me though: in a few scenarios, maybe being older
would have given you an advantage. (note that I used the word ‘maybe’ and ‘few’)
But do not let that become a limiting factor to you. You are exactly where you
are supposed to be. Yes, the clock on the wall is right. So, own whatever space
you find yourself in during these years of your youth, the universe can always
catch on. And look, being young is just but one of the cards that life is
serving you at the moment. It not everything. And it may not necessarily be an
ace but play the dumb card well! I promise you, you won’t lose!