Say Yes to Everything!

Say Yes to Everything

Say Yes to Everything. This is a piece of advice I received from a former boss at the major nonprofit where I worked many years ago. Now he meant it in a mean, sarcastic manner. Basically he sucked as a Director and later sucked even more as a Vice President, since he used the management by intimidation style. However I overlooked his sardonic manner and made it one of my mottos for life. In a more positive light, keep yourself open for new opportunities. At work this may mean taking on an assignment or responsibilities that you don’t believe you can handle. For school this could be tackling an extra credit project or taking classes during the summer when everybody else is having fun and sun at the beach. There is some sacrifice and hard work involved in realizing our dreams.

I recall many years ago at the aforementioned job but with a different boss the then VP of IT gave me the task of training external clients on our proprietary software. This involved public speaking. Public speaking terrified me! Need I say more? Via another employee in my department I tried to get out of the assignment but to no avail. Not wanting to look like I was not being a team player I buckled down, thought about the best ways to approach this training session and developed a brief PowerPoint presentation on the product and a companion lesson plan. To my surprise I went over big! The clients were impressed and my presentation and teaching were a major factor in their continuing to fund our software product. I subsequently became the training manager for this social services software and went on to do many in-house and external trainings and presentations. Overcoming a fear of public speaking enhanced my people skills, compelled me to become more organized, and forced me to use my intellect to develop training materials for new software.

Later on when I finally decided to pursue my BA in English at the ripe old age of 36 the skills I had acquired at my job enabled me to persevere in writing those 25+ page research papers required to earn my degree. After eight years of part-time study I finally received my BA in English from Marymount Manhattan College in May 2002. Did I mention I graduated cum laude? Outside of giving my life to Christ as a young woman in her 20s this was my best and most fulfilling accomplishment.

Christianity, The Holy Bible and my pursuit of education/life-long learning has been the foundation for my life. December 2006 to December 2007 was a tumultuous time in my life. I lost my job, I was involved in an abusive relationship but then by the beginning of December 2007 through God’s grace and mercy the ex-boyfriend left, I went for a job interview at the museum and by January 21st, 2008 I was working at the museum. Mind you my ex-boyfriend had left me broke, busted and disgusted and the pay on the new job was very low, no prestige whatsoever, but the job was stable, overtime was pretty much always available and offered many new learning opportunities.

Little did I know that working as a security officer at the largest museum in New York would begin to open so many doors for me.  Supervisors who offered me encouragement and support even after only knowing me for barely eight or nine months, suggestions and advice from other security guards on how to make my current situation work for me. Mind you being a security guard is not the most glamorous job in the world, however as one of my favorite supervisors reminded, Ms. Palmer you are in the right place to pursue your dreams, however stay put, make a little money and work towards your goals.

As most of you reading this already know I’m an aspiring writer seeking to become a published author, I’ve shared my efforts and struggles with two supervisors I trust and one has dubbed me the “James Baldwin” of the museum, the other gentleman has entitled me the new “Tyler Perry”! Amazing that these two men who have only gotten to know me within the last two and a half years can come to this conclusion, therefore there must reside within me some potential for success. So I’m moving forward, albeit slowly, towards realizing the desires of my heart.

Another thing I’ve learned along the way is you need a support system in order to achieve success. Kind of like a cheering squad urging you on when you feel depressed and are ready to give up and have a pity party. At first I thought my support system would be family or long-time friends. I just expected these two groups of people to understand me. Not so. Relatives and folks you’ve known for years don’t always support the vision God has given you. I love my cousins but though we share the same blood we don’t share the same dreams, goals, or in many cases not even the same morals or values. As for people I thought were my friends just because I knew or thought I knew them over the course of years, in some cases I had to amputate those relationships. It was painful but if a limb is gangrenous it must be cut off.  I’ve even had to do the same as far as workplace “friendships”. Haters must have their wings clipped right away. I don’t allow any negativity to invade my house. Once you betray my trust you have lost the right to be called friend. Now if you apologize maybe we can be acquaintances but the relationship will never be the same because the trust is gone.

Ties must be severed in order to advance. I’m very selective in whom I associate with and careful with whom I share my vision. Yes I do welcome constructive criticism but usually before I embark on an adventure I’ve already consider the ins and outs, pluses and minuses, pros and cons. After all I worked as a Researcher for many years and I possess that analytical mind.

So I confront my fears, dispel myths and perhaps in the process my journey will help another woman struggling to overcome and push through adversity.

2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

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4 thoughts on “Say Yes to Everything!

  1. I do get your point. I was brought up to say No to everything, that being the safer course. When I was a young working single woman, raising 3 children with no support, I decided to say Yes to everything. Of course, I got into a lot of trouble, but it enriched my life and gave me material for writing. Now, no matter how bad things get, I can shrug and say, “I’ll write about this someday.”

  2. Joe Quatrone, Jr.

    Wow Deborah! You and I are very alike – job loss, part-time college student as an adult (it took me 10 years before I earned my BA), abusive relationships, commitment to life-long learning, considering obstacles opportunities for growth, etc. I am excited to hear about how you buckled down to overcome your fear of public speaking and went on to earn your BA in English as an adult. I am also glad to hear about your pursuit of life-long learning. We can always learn more, can’t we? This took me a long time to learn as I was obnoxious and arrogant for most of my life. I still struggle with pride, but am long way from where I was. Your job loss and abusive ex-boyfriend resonates with me very well too. You mentioned New York. I used to live right outside NYC. It is almost as if we have been through many of the same experiences.

    I pray God’s best for you, Deborah, and for your continued success as a writer and in whatever you do. In just the short time we have know each other, it is clear to me you have what it takes to achieve your dreams.

    I hope your recent move went well. God bless you always, Deborah!

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