Since I was five years old, I've been hungry to prove people wrong.
When I was five, my parents made the decision to put me in pre-k instead of kindergarten. I was painfully shy. So shy that at my entrance exam for public school, I barely spoke. Thus, my parents' decision. They thought that if I had a year to mature, it would be better for my educational career.
That, of course, was their theory, and 100% understandable. However, they did not expect that for the next twelve years (and more), I'd be asked how I failed kindergarten. Even though everyone who knew me knew I didn't fail, it didn't make a difference. I was treated differently.
I was treated like I was stupid for twelve years.
Every school year, I would dread the get to know you games when my classmates would find out I was older. I knew it would begin, the, "how did you fail?" questions would start.
But, you know what?
All of those failure questions fueled my fire. I was not going to be mediocre. I was going to be the best at everything I did. I got killer grades in school (didn't stop the failure questions though). I graduated at the top of my undergrad and graduate class. In my career, I read industry books like Dorie Clark's Reinventing You, Robert Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and Ryan Holiday's Growth Hacker Marketing to keep at the top of my game. I listen to industry podcasts non-stop, like Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income, Julie Solomon's The Influencer, and Charlene Johnson's Build Your Tribe. In short, I stay on top of my industry 24/7.
While growing up knowing what people were saying was hard, it gave me a fire that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
The perception of failure is something I still struggle with. I'm thirty (something) and still dread the question, "when did you graduate high school?" 90% of the time, they run the math on my age and ask why. I still haven't grown out of being overly hard on myself when I make a mistake.
But, that's okay.
Failure is a part of my story, or at least, the perception of failure. It made me who I am today. While I still dread anyone asking me what year I graduated, I wouldn't change it. Proving people wrong since I was five gave me a fire nothing else would have.