On the career journey, we are bound to encounter obstacles along the way. When we do, it’s not the magnitude of the challenge but our response to it that makes the difference.
When we come face to face with difficulties, there are two options, give up or push forward. If we have a fixed mindset, we’ll give in to all the negative self-talk we’ve allowed ourselves to believe, throw our hands up in the air and give up. “That’s it! It’s too hard, I’m beat.” Overwhelmed by fear of failure, self-pity, or the blame game sets in and we find ourselves stuck with no hope in sight.
There is another option. It might involve taking a step back, not to give up, but to gain a new perspective and reevaluate the goal and steps we laid out to achieve it. To look at the problem differently and find a way forward. Sometimes, obstacles can be an indication that we need to redirect or change our goals, but that is different than giving up. The important thing is to develop a growth or success mindset, which helps us to see obstacles as opportunities.
“The primary difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the successful people fail more.” - Jody Michael, Chicago Tribune
The only way forward is through
Believing we can achieve success without difficulties is an illusion. If we don’t inspire students & job-seekers to overcome the obstacles they will inevitably face, then we are doing a great disservice to our future workforce.
Edge Factor's tools are categorized into 4 phases of the Career Journey: Inspiration, Exploration, Preparation, and Connection. Inspiration is all about helping students and job-seekers get excited about their future and using the power of storytelling to open up their eyes to new possibilities. Edge Factor creates award-winning films, short stories, and documentaries that showcase teams of people working together to impact the world, as they push back the boundaries of what’s possible to overcome obstacles. Learners of all ages discover they can relate to real-life challenges featured in the films and that achieving their goals is doable.
The Edge Factor Show library includes the film, “Metal & Flesh” which features the story of Mike Schultz, from athlete to injury to Olympic medal winner.
Obstacles are the springboard to success.
X Games Champion, Mike Schultz was well on his way to a glowing career until an accident almost claimed his life. When the decision was made to amputate his leg above the knee, it seemed the accident had claimed his career. With his life turned upside down, Mike had to learn to walk again and adapt to using a basic prosthetic leg. While materials and technologies have improved prosthetics over the years, there was no prosthetic in existence, yet, that could allow Mike to return to his sport.
“If I need something done, I just have to figure out how to do it.” - Mike Schultz
Mike identified the obstacle and worked on finding a solution. His goal was to compete in the X Games Adaptive Supercross so he created his first prototype of the moto knee, a prosthetic leg designed to withstand the immense force of extreme sports. Within 7 months he won his first silver medal in adaptive motocross and that was just the beginning.
Soon after Mike realized how his invention could help other amputees achieve their dreams. So he continued to improve and tweak his design to make it work for other sports and became the founder of BioDapt Inc.,
Today Mike is an eight-time X Games gold medalist in Motocross and Snocross; X Games Snowboarding, Paralympic gold and silver medalist in snowboarding, and winner of a 2018 ESPY for “Best Male Athlete with a Disability. While also being an author and public speaker.
It’s how you handle what you’ve been dealt that defines your future
From the inner city streets of West Baltimore to Executive Director at NIMS, Montez King didn’t let his past define his future.
Statistics show that growing up in West Baltimore would likely lead to a life riddled with crime. Montez grew up in a community where drug dealing was the norm. On a daily basis, he had to figure out which routes were the safest to walk to school. His youth consisted of skipping classes and stealing, but eventually, Montez made choices that changed the direction of his life.
“Empower yourself, think about your decisions. It can change and guide your life.” - Montez King
Opportunities were few and far between for kids like Montez, but he wanted something better. When he was denied enrollment in a business administration program, a teacher presented him with an opportunity to get real world skills through the work-study program in machining.
Even though the attitudes of the people he worked with were rude, discriminatory, and hurtful, Montez continued to show respect and learn what he could. Eventually, those same people began to help him advance. He was earning and learning to the point that he became a Plant Manager and was able to purchase a home. Montez was beating the statistics.
Today, Montez is the Executive Director of the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) where he works with schools and industries across the U.S. He is able to help students realize that opportunities are within their grasp if they work hard.
It’s how Montez handled the cards that he’d been dealt that defined his future. He chooses to work hard when others choose a handout. He pushes on when others give up.
Success is waiting beyond hardship.
As Montez and Mike demonstrated through their life stories success takes hard work and overcoming obstacles. There are many other stories like this and the message is the same, to be overcome obstacles, you need to:
- Define what you want
- Figure out a way to achieve it
- Put together a plan to achieve your goal
- Work on daily habits that better equip you to succeed
Wanting, waiting, and wishing won’t produce results. Blaming others for the difficulties or giving in to self-pity won’t help you move forward. Instead, find a way to push through to achieve your goal, and take action. This applies to your personal life and to your career.
Whether you are just starting your career exploration journey or working towards advancing in your career, obstacles are inevitable. So, if you are looking for more inspirational stories to motivate yourself or inspire others to face insurmountable odds, browse the Edge Factor library today and stay tuned for more inspirational cinematic films to come.
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