I was just 19 years old and found myself waiting to be interviewed by the Market Area Manager of a Fortune 500 bank in San Diego, CA. I had applied for the Personal Banker position that was open for one of the branches in the area. I had no previous banking experience and no previous formal sales experience either. I was thinking to myself, “I really want this job and I know I don’t have much experience, but there is no reason why I should not get this job!”
A few moments passed and I was called into the room. There she was, the Market Area Manager. She was very poised, professional, and she emitted a very strong and powerful energy that was very intimidating. I was invited to sit and I sat down in a chair in front of her. For a few moments we were both silent while she reviewed my resume. Then she looked up at me and asked, “Why are you applying for this position when you don’t even have any sales or banking experience?” Now let’s pause for a few minutes and let me tell you what I did prior to that moment.
I had been a waitress at a local restaurant and I worked about 30 hours a week in the evenings from four in the afternoon until midnight. In the mornings I took classes at the local community college. During this time I was very displeased with my current financial and living situation.
Deep inside I just knew I should be doing something greater than waiting on customers or tables. I knew I was more capable and could offer so much more to a business. I also knew I was not going to grow personally and professionally if I didn’t do anything about my current situation. Realizing I would have to make a drastic change for me to change my situation, I decided to pursue a position that I thought at the time was out of my league.
Willing to take a chance and put myself out there, I took a risk and decided to make a big change in my life.
Leaders often are not complacent with status quo and they are willing to reach above their boundaries. I was ready to do the same. Asking myself, “If I can have my ideal job, what would it be?” My answer was “A Banker.” There was no research or due diligence done on my part with my decision to picking Banker as my ideal profession. I just thought that it would be a fun and interesting job for me to learn. This decision led me to get the interview with the Market Area Manager of a bank, interviewing for a Banker position that even my resume or experience could not support or justify!
So now back to the interview. She asked me, “Why are you applying for this position when you don’t even have any sales or banking experience?” I looked at her and said, “I know that I don’t have the ideal experience you typically look for in a banker but I want to let you know that I am a very driven individual.
I am an action taker and I will do whatever it takes to learn and do any job or task that is given to me, regardless of how small or big it is. I would do myself and the company a disservice if I didn’t make sure that the branch I will support and the company is not successful. I know that it is a big risk to go with someone that has no prior experience but I am also taking a risk in a applying for this position. I decided to apply anyway because I am taking a risk to become successful…” The interview lasted for about 40 minutes and I am very pleased to let you know that she offered me the job before I left her office.
I learned a valuable lesson that day that still supports decisions I make today. People are willing to give you a chance if you are willing to step up. Another thing I learned is the importance in conviction of your beliefs. Conviction and passion to follow through on a decision will carry you far. Others will see it and will support you when your vision is strong.
About a year and a half later I was promoted to Assistant Manager. Two years after that to Assistant Vice President of my own local branch managing up to 25 employees. During my time as a Bank Manager I received numerous awards and recognition of achievements for being top sales performer and top manager in my area during my career.
While I was closing and locking the branch one evening, I remembered thinking to myself: “Wow, if I can do this without having a college degree and just having a little bit of self determination, persistence, drive, and vision, what else can I accomplish if I put my mind and self to it?” At that moment I realized that I can have and do anything I wanted regardless- even if I was unclear on how it could happen.
Achieving goals and dreams starts with determination and the ability to look at oneself and see what skills you have today. What benefit can you bring forth with who you are now-and what can you learn to add to that ability?
Leadership acknowledges where you are today and builds upon that. That was one of the turning points in my life. I realized that all things are possible and there is no limit to what can be achieved regardless of what circumstances may look like.
Accomplishing so much at a young age freed me from the bondage of typical stereotypes in the business world. People say that you need to have a college degree to make good money and be successful. They say you need to have a business degree to make it and be accepted in the business world. I am not saying that education is not important. Education is very important. Getting education in your field is very important because without it, you cannot possibly achieve as much or be as successfully without increased knowledge.
What I am saying is that getting what you want in life and wanting to be successful has little to do with a college diploma. It has everything to do with your own determination and will for making success happen for you. The willingness to lead your destiny to an outcome that you create is one way success can manifest.
Until I really came to the full understanding that your determination and your ability to invest in your self is a foot hold on greatness, I did stress out sometimes thinking I needed to finish college. I took night and online classes in hopes of completing my degree. Eventually I came to acknowledge that I would be fine without a degree. This change in my perspective allowed me to be guilt free with this decision.
Personally and professionally knowing that I am good enough and that I can continue to learn as I need to propelled me to really grow. No longer thinking that I needed to have a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree to accomplish the things I wanted for myself and my life, I created mental and emotional freedom to pursue whatever I wanted for myself.
I was 28 years old when I finally ended my career as a Banker. In 2006 I joined my husband and started our company, IT TechPros, Inc. I am now the CEO of the company, and in charge of growing the business. In less than a month of starting our operations, we were already making money. Within a year, both my husband and I were supported by our business financially. Within a few months after that, we were able to hire a few full time staff members to help up with the growth and future success of our company.
IT TechPros, Inc. is an information technology company providing outsourced IT services to businesses in So. California. I am happy to share with you that I had no previous experience in the industry and was the worst when it came to computers!
All I knew about IT, before I became co-owner of our company, was email and internet. (Good luck if you needed help from me then with a computer problem.) But once again, with my determination and willingness to take a risk to lead our business, I now consider myself a very knowledgeable IT consultant. I now know how a network works, how to design one, and I am highly credible and regarded by my peers as a leader in a company that is on its way to great success.
I took risks time and time again to become the leader that I am today in my field, within the local, and business community even only at the age of 30. You can be 15, 18, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50, or 60 or more years old and it is never too late or too early to pursue your dreams and live out the life that you want!
Age, education, background, disabilities, or whatever excuse a lot of people use, is not a factor to pursuing success and happiness in your personal or business life. I did not let excuses stop me from pursuing what I want out of my life. It doesn’t take luck, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist’s or a brain surgeon’s knowledge for you to become a leader, be happy, fulfill your life dreams, and become successful.
It takes you and you only to be your own leader. Make decisions for yourself and not excuses!
Step out and stretch your comfort level so you can grow your leader within. Take risks and see your plans through to completion no matter what! You alone, even in your current situation, can make a change for the better. Don’t let any perceived handicap or shortcoming stop you from pursuing what you want. Let your desire and passion be the reason why you pursue the things you want out of life.
By Kathy David
Phone/Text: (442) 273-0073
Email: support@pro-publishing-company (dot) com
Address: Pro Publishing Company, P.O. Box 3406, Vista, CA. 92085 United States
©2010 Pro Publishing Company and Daniel D. Sweet