Sometimes 34 is the lucky number.
This week my daughter landed a job with an employer for which she’d long wanted to work. After applying for nearly three dozen opportunities over the past year, she’s in. After dozens of decline emails and a handful of promising interviews, her foot in on the inside. The streak of stubbornness she developed years ago at bedtime is serving her well.
Sending her to bed as a little girl was always an adventure.
“Time for bed,” I say.
After a bit of stalling, she’d try to turn the moment into a negotiation.
“How about a book first,” she’d say, knowing how much we encouraged her to read.
“Sure,” I’d say. “One.”
“How about two?”
Negotiations would continue until we found ourselves curled up in her soft pink Fisher-Price princess bed, her handing me an armful of books to read.
One book down, she’d play her next card.
“And this one too, please. It’s a short one, and I know it is one of your favorites,” she’d say, using me against myself.
Eventually, we’d get to the end of a couple of books, and I’d reach down to kiss her goodnight only to find another book or two hidden beneath her pillow staged for after I’d leave the room.
A stubborn streak, put to good use, can be a useful asset in life.
When my daughter began researching employers, friends told her the company she was applying for would only accept six applications a year from you. After that, wait until next year.
Again, a stubborn streak can be a good thing if used in the right circumstances.
“All they can do is keep telling me no,” she said to me one day.
There were times when she felt as if she was banging her head against the wall. But, to her credit, she learned slowly to get back up, dust herself off, and make another run. If she gained anything from this experience, if you want something bad enough — for the right reasons and are willing to put in the extraordinary effort — you might change the outcome.
But you must put in the work.
In life, you learn more from not getting the desired result than you do from hitting a home run on the first pitch you see. Foul balls are a part of the experience. So are pop-outs.
In life, learning to be resilient, resourceful, and not let others’ input derail your desires is one of the most important lessons you gain. In anything from career to relationships, the road to success rests on a foundation of jagged rocks and jarring bumps. Stumbling, tripping, and falling are all a part of the journey. Having the courage to get back up to your feet and reset for another run is the difference-maker.
I remember sitting on that tiny pink princess bed, hoping my little girl would carry this creative and stubborn trait out into the world, not letting anyone dictate her journey. She’s proving me right.
Leonard Woolsey is president of Southern Newspapers Inc. and publisher of The Daily News in Galveston, Texas.