How One of My Greatest Professional Failures Became a Catalyst For Significant Personal Growth

The summer after I turned 30, I was an intern with Intuit’s Turbotax group. Given, that I have no particular passion for taxes, and kind of an aversion to paying them I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise that I haven’t spent my career doing that.

That summer, it was a different story. Hopped up on provigil in an attempt to concentrate, and make the days manageable, I showed up and tried to do what I was told. The measure of success for the internship was whether or not I got an offer at the end of it. I wanted to climb into a cushy corporate cage in a corner office, collect a steady paycheck and succeed at society’s life plan.

Many of the early seeds for my work as a writer and blogger were planted that summer. Anytime I discovered a new tool on the internet, I used it to make something. I started a blog and I wrote about my internship. At the end of the summer, I was called into my boss’ office for a final review and he informed me that they wouldn’t be making an offer. That moment was devastating because, I’d effectively blown the whole point of being in business school. My boss told me he was doing me a favor, and I think he had the foresight to see that something else was in store for me.

I’ve been writing ever since. Writing saved me, and as Dani Shapiro wrote “presented me with a window into the infinite.”

At my jobs I was lazy, unmotivated, and “uninterested in controlling my own destiny. But the blank page brought out something entirely different in me, persistence, grit commitment, and the consistency of writing 1000 words a day. It gave me a level of discipline that has never felt like work, but the opportunity to continually play with reckless abandon, wild eyed optimism and insatiable curiosity.

A blank page was the chance to sketch and scheme, scribble and dream, and bring into existence almost anything I could imagine.

However when it all started, I couldn’t see 7 years into the future, 600 interviews later, as I sit here putting final touches on a manuscript which I’ll submit to my publisher on Monday. It was a time in my life when as elle luna would say “nothing was known and anything was possible.”

Seth Godin said most entrepreneurs start businesses or make their art because they have no choice. They don’t get picked. And the rather odd paradox of this story is my history of not getting picked was the catalyst for my editor reaching out to me to write a book.

Words are the building blocks of all creation. They give us a chance to start journeys, and go to places that we can’t imagine as possible when we start.

Writing didn’t just save me, it’s enriched and defined my life. It’s a gift that has never stopped giving. It’s a gift that nobody can ever take away from us.

As I sat down this morning to sharpen the rough edges of my sentences, and shape words to touch hearts in the hopes that they shape and shift things in the universe, I read these words

If I’m not writing the world around me is slowly leached of its color — Dani Shapiro

And I let my fingers run riot across the keyboard, to spend the next 8 hours attempting to making order out of anarchy.

I’m the host of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast, and currently writing the first of 2 books with Penguin Portfolio.

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