Don't Underestimate Me
“You can’t do that.”
“You’ll never be able to get it.”
“There’s no way that’s going to happen.”
Statements like these don’t resonate well with me. They never have. I don’t like other people to decide what I’m capable of doing, especially when they don’t really know me. I’ve heard, and ignored, assertions like this most of my life.
- My high school counselor told me I couldn’t balance my classes and work, yet I had a full-time job the last 2 years of high school and still graduated with high honors.
- Doctors said I couldn’t manage my chronic pain without multiple medications for the rest of my life, but that was 20 years ago, and I still handle it without prescriptions.
- People thought I couldn’t enjoy working for myself because I’d miss the routine and security, but I’ve never been happier in my career than I am right now.
It seems like people have always made assumptions when they simply don’t understand the depth of my drive and determination.
I think it’s easy for people to underestimate me for two reasons:
1. I’m quiet.
2. I’m nice.
These aren’t typically the qualities people associate with accomplishment. But I’ve never been someone to take the traditional path. I don’t find it necessary to be brash to be effective. Being quiet allows me to listen and observe others. When I do speak up, it’s because I have something important to say, and people tend to pay attention. And being nice is just an easier way to be. Most business involves people, and people are more likely to respond favorably to those they enjoy being around. It seems pretty simple to me.
It’s not that I’m a rebel, or inherently defiant. It’s just that I’m a problem solver by nature, and unless there’s a rational reason why something can’t happen, my instinct is to find a way. My logical brain is good for analyzing situations, and my creative side finds different ways of approaching problems and challenges. So while I’m not a very emotional person, I am pretty tuned in to human behavior and how to connect and communicate with different types of people. And again, most business really comes down to people. It’s how you present yourself, how you ask for what you want, and why it makes sense for them to help you.
I haven’t thought about this much lately, because I haven’t felt like anyone has doubted my abilities in a while. But it came up again during the finishing stages of “Dream Out Loud.”
- “Bono is never going to participate in a fan project.” Well, guess what. Bono is in our film, and he took the time to give us some very thoughtful and insightful responses.
- “You’ll never be able to get the licensing for U2’s music.” Okay, but we have 36 U2 songs in the film, including the master recording of their current single. So there’s that.
How did we get these things? We believed it was possible, we tried, and we didn’t give up. We didn’t let other people tell us we couldn’t do it. And we kept a few key ideas in mind, which are really the impetus for how I live and work:
- Everything works out the way it’s meant to, but it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to get there.
- You can never be afraid to ask for what you want, because you probably won’t get it if you don’t. There is a fragile line between patience and persistence, but both are imperative to success.
- Always ask yourself, “Have I done everything I can possibly do?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to try something else.
People will always try to bring you down, for a number of reasons. Sometimes they even think it comes from a good place. But you need to know yourself, trust your abilities, and decide for yourself what you can and cannot do. Believing in yourself is really the most important thing - because if you don’t, then why should anyone else?