The Story Behind the Smile as Dr. Phil once wisely put it, “It doesn’t matter what your mama did; it doesn’t matter what your daddy didn’t do. Nobody but you is responsible for your life.”
You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself.
We all face obstacles in our journeys, and we all have the choice of how we respond to them. When we take responsibility for ourselves, we are free to create a NEW path forward. I am truly a testament to all of the above. My life, my success, my reality should have been different based on where I came from.
Here’s how it all started.
A broken home…I grew up with no mom and no dad. My basic needs weren’t met. I was a foster kid – and experienced everything that went along with that stigma. I didn’t get tucked in at night with a bedtime story and kiss on the forehead. I didn’t get family dinners and Christmas trees full of presents beneath them.
At 14 – I was completely on my own. I didn’t go to high school. I didn’t go to college. I fought hard just to survive.
Yet here I am, at the top of my game, at a major corporation – successful in ways I never dreamed possible, yet always knew would be in my future.
There’s not just one path.
The definition of who you are on paper…doesn’t determine your path forward. If you were to look at my life – on paper – it would seem as though the only option for me would have been a life on the streets. But my upbringing, or lack thereof, gave me the skills needed to thrive in my professional role today. Because of that, I am passionate about helping others learn how to chart their own path and turn their liabilities into the exact things that propel them forward.
From early on, I had to get creative in order to survive. The fact that I did life on my own, that no one was there to lead the way for me, forced me to be resourceful. I had no backup plan and only two options – be brave and try, or call it quits and give up. I wasn’t going to quit. Courage was the only choice I could make. So – I took risks. I said yes before I was ready. I worked harder than anyone else out there. Because I had to. There was no one coming to save me. It was on me to make things happen, so, I did. I took the windiest road, learned how to adapt at the drop of a dime, and developed the hacks necessary to make up for my gaps in education. Today, I am able to cut through the red tape and make the hard decisions.
Today at Toshiba, my role is focused heavily on communicating with our clients, with my team, and bridging the gap between HQ and our field teams. I have to come up with the solutions our people want and need, and I have to be able to communicate in ways that benefit both my company and the people we serve. My high-risk upbringing honed my communication skills in some pretty interesting ways – if I wanted something, I had to ask for it. I didn’t have the formal training and education on how to speak perfectly and close a deal. So, I learned by watching, by researching, by reading, by listening, and by practicing on my own. That real-life training, that ability to understand people, has propelled my career forward and helped me connect with my partners, and with our clients in ways that have exponentially grown our company while enhancing people’s lives.
Problem Solving Skills.
To say I had problems growing up would be a huge understatement. There was always something to solve. And usually, I had very few resources to solve the problems that would arise. This made me creative. It made me think outside the box. It made me listen to the world around me and pay attention to the things most people never notice. Solving problems wasn’t a luxury growing up – it was a necessity.
Today, my job is to creatively solve the problems our clients face. What was once a necessity is now one of my greatest strengths and most profitable assets.
The Most Unlikely Candidate.
I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. A lot. And while my childhood may appear to be a list of liabilities and things that would stand in my way – I decided early on that nothing would stop me from creating a life that looked entirely different than the one I grew up in. I am an unlikely candidate. I don’t have the golden touch. I simply have an extreme desire to make this all meaningful – for myself and for those in similar situations. I made daily decisions to allow the “liabilities” in my life become the exact things that propelled me forward!
I truly believe that our greatest challenges can be the fuel to our biggest successes. But every day it’s got to be a decision we make. We either survive and flourish – or we give up. I’m not a quitter. So, for me, the choice has always been obvious.
What “liabilities” of yours are actually what’s made you successful at what you do?
Submitted by: Maegan Lujan
Wow! I think this has to be my favorite submitted story this year. What an awesome story of turning lemons into lemonade. Thank you Maegan for sharing your success story. I can't wait to see what else life has in store for you!