I’ve been very hesitant to share this story because I don’t want to come off petty or jealous. I’m going to be honest though… I kind of am. Let start out by saying there may be elements to this story that I don’t know. It doesn’t look like that’s the case, but it could be. Let me give you some background without being too specific, as to not burn any bridges with the parties involved.
Some of you may know that I own a salon studio. Working behind the chair and running my business is my primary job. I also freelance as an educator for a very popular brand. I do hair 6 days a week and I teach my classes almost every single Monday. I’ve been working 7 days a week most weeks for about 2 years now. I’ve done this because I’ve been taught that working hard is the only way to achieve goals and I’ve taken that idea to an extreme. I’ve become a workaholic and to be honest, most days I’m not mad about it.
So right before Christmas, this brand that I freelance for sent me an email saying there was an opening for a full-time position in my area. This would be an opportunity to do what I do on Mondays, as a full time job. I LOVE doing hair but teaching other people, sets my heart on fire. The idea of being able to do it more was such an exciting thought! Almost immediately I sent in my resume and I thought I had a great shot since I’ve already been trained by the company in facilitation and have gotten GREAT feedback on the classes I’ve been teaching the past couple of years. Bonus: I already live in the location that the position was open in so they wouldn’t have to relocate me!
I felt that the interview went great! I got really wonderful feedback from the woman who interviewed me and she commented on how much I’ve grown as an educator since being a new hire with the company. Later on the same day, she called me back offering me to work a really big show that the brand puts on every two years. She phrased it as if it was an opportunity for me to see if I really was interested in the position. I was over the moon! The company was paying my airfare, hotel, per diem PLUS paying me to work! This was a dream come true. At this point it almost felt like a done deal.
At the show, things seemed to go WONDERFULLY. I felt that I got along great with the team I worked with and they repeatedly told me how grateful that they were to have me there. On the last day, team members were starting to lose their voices which was a problem because they were supposed to be demoing on stage! I stepped up and filled in for a couple of them and everyone told me I saved the day. I couldn’t believe how well things were going. I was on cloud 9!
Weeks passed after the show and I heard nothing. I thought this was strange, but I figured that everyone must be really busy. I could see no reason why I wouldn’t be hired so I honestly hadn’t even considered the possibility that I wouldn’t have gotten the job. I was just waiting for the phone call to confirm so that I could announce to my clients that I would be changing my hours and accommodating them on nights and weekends from now on. After a while I decided to follow-up with an email. The first time, I heard nothing back. I emailed again another week after that and then I got the phone call. The woman who had interviewed me called to let me know that they went with another candidate who would be relocating from another state to take the job. It was a person that was currently in training as a freelance educator (like I already was). To say I was devastated is an understatment. It took all my strength not to burst into tears while I was on the phone. I was so caught off guard by this news that I was completely speechless.
The next day I emailed her asking for coaching on what I could’ve done differently and I was so disappointed with the feedback I received. It was clearly so generic and not personalized to me. She refered to improving statistics behind the chair that she had never even asked me about and had no way of where I stand with. She suggested that I take classes that are quite frankly less advanced than the certifications I already hold. I don’t blame her, I know she’s busy but I wish that someone had taken the time to give me personalized recommendations of what I could’ve done differently. I feel like I’ve dedicated so much to them over the past couple of years and I thought this was the moment where it would pay off. I was wrong.
Here’s what I learned from this situation: When it comes to other people, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, if the right people don’t notice then it’s not going to get you where you want to go. This was the last time I’m going to leave my destiny in anyone else’s hands. I own my own business because I want my decisions to be the only thing that dictate whether I succeed or fail. I never want to give anyone else the power to decide my potential again. I know what kind of fire burns inside of me to win and it’s quite frankly it doesn’t matter if anyone else sees it because I SEE IT. If I win, that’s on me. If I lose, that’s on me too. I’m sure I will do plenty of both but I can promise you I’ll win a lot more often. I’m learning every single day and I take every mistake as a learning experience and when you learn, it wasn’t really a mistake in my opinion.
What does that mean for you? I understand not all industries allow you the opportunity to be your own boss at all stages. However, I want to challenge you to be so undeniably tenacious with whatever you do that it’s impossible for people not to see it. If they don’t see it… then they’re not the right person to recognize that in you. Take the risk to find your tribe, if you’re tribe isn’t out there, then I guess it’s time for you to be the leader and start your own. See you on the flip side Chief! And until next time, stay advantageous.