The ninth time IS the charm
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be road blocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan
There is a story about how Michael Jordan failed to make the cut of his High School varsity basketball team as a sophomore. At 5’11”, the adolescent Jordan simply wasn’t good enough to play ball with the best in his school in Wilmington, North Carolina. Motivated by the fact that he wasn’t “good enough,” Jordan went on to lead the Junior Varsity team while tallying several 40-point games, grew by 4 inches in between his sophomore and junior years, and would return to make the team, and be selected as a McDonald’s All American after averaging a triple-double in his senior season. Oh, and then he went on to be a six-time NBA Champion, winning the NBA Finals MVP award in all six times that he was there, along with all the other accolades doled upon what would be the greatest basketball player that anyone has ever seen play the game.
There were a ton of quotes that I kept thinking about as I applied for the ninth time to become a supervisor at Best Buy.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
“It’s not whether you get knocked down…it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi
I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t evaluated quitting Best Buy after having my value consistently overlooked. Each successive failure at each interview, watching underqualified applicant after underqualified applicant pass me over for opportunity after opportunity, it stung a little more each time. And failing to receive a valid reason as to why, that’s ultimately what motivated me to continue pressing on, and make certain that I achieved the goal of moving up within the company, and to continue to apply, interview, and to grow. And now, I got it.
The call came in yesterday a little after noon, as I was working with a customer. I had to let the initial call go to voicemail and call them back, but I had great hope for what the news was going to be. “Well, we’ve finished our round of interviews for the position, and after careful consideration,” he said, with my heart beating out of my chest, “we would like to extend to you the offer of the Lifestyles Supervisor position.” That was it. The couple of years of work that I’d put in resulted in a payout and a position of validation of my work, effort, and finally my ability. It’s always a great feeling getting the call that you’ve got the job that you’re after, and it took a little while for the excitement to kick in, as immediately I was simply…grateful.
I was grateful to all of the people that had continued to encourage me to move on. Grateful for Chris, our store manage in the Home Business Group who had originally said that I should apply for the job…because I wouldn’t have if he hadn’t pointed it out. I was grateful for all that I had learned from my supervisors within my store, Dani (who hired me), Laura, Devin, and most recently Jon and Gabe who provided me with extra levels of encouragement throughout the process. Thankful to the other leaders in my store, Corrine, Lawrence, Juliette, and our GM Kevin. And I was grateful to each of the employees in every area of our store that taught me different things about Best Buy, and how it operated. Specifically people like Ruben, Doug, and Andy, the full timers that really showed me how the business operated and functioned.
I then became thankful to my wife and my kids, who provided me with unparalleled encouragement, support, and love, and I couldn’t wait to share the news with them. I became thankful for all of my friends and family that have encouraged me to stay with it, and given me small little messages of hope either on Facebook, or in my living room or at a poker table. I didn’t intend for this to be like an Oscar speech, but in that moment of hearing the words that I was the person that they were hiring, each one of those people swam through my mind immediately, and I had a hard time focusing on the conversation that I was having. I was overwhelmed with a great sense of thankfulness, and the excitement, well that would come later I suppose. Because I was just experiencing an immense sense of “thank God, it’s about time.”
As I hung up the phone, I went in to tell my GM and my Supervisor of the news, and everyone was congratulatory. I sent a text to Traci to let her know. Then I bumped into Chris while walking through the store, who couldn’t have been more proud and gave me a giant hug after the handshake of congratulations. I felt proud, accomplished, and ultimately appreciative of what I had been given…but still not excited.
I guess that as I look at it now, it wasn’t as if I ever dreamed that this would be what I would be doing when I grew up. I mean, if you think about it, when you’re playing town with your friends when you’re a child, and one person says “I want to be the police man,” and another says “I want to be the fireman,” and the other says “I want to be ______.” There isn’t the kid that raises their hand that says, “I want to work at Best Buy.” I suppose that’s the case for anyone who has ever worked there, that it’s not something that they aspire to be. It just sort of happens that way. It’s not that I’m ashamed of the work that I do. Quite the opposite, but I really feel that my journey with the company is merely beginning.
As grateful as I am to have this new position, and yes, now there is some level of excitement, I really feel that it is just a step (albeit a larger one) into something bigger and better. I can see myself with this company long-term, and really establishing myself as one of the company’s best leaders. I can see myself ultimately taking this position and running with it to further my career. And I can see the opportunity that I now have, to coach and to train people to help others, and leave my imprint on employees and other customers for years to come. I’m happy with where I am at, but I am now finally excited for the direction that I am heading. And it’s been a long while since I’ve been able to say that.
In the end, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has encouraged me along my journey. I really do feel like so many people were cheering for me, and I can’t tell you how good that feels to simply be loved by everyone. Every conversation, text, tweet, and Facebook message sunk in, and I am now looking forward to making everyone even more proud as I continue the successes that I’ve had, and getting excited for what is to come.