June 16

ENDURANCE vs. THE UNDERDOG

Kate Moss for Vogue France October 2012  issue

No one wants the underdog to succeed more passionately than the underdog…

I was born fighting, ready to endure a violent, twisted and mentally abusive childhood. I was gifted at school but never able to focus or excel due to the distractions within the four walls I had no choice but to call home. Against all odds, I clung to my belief that I didn’t deserve this life and refused to accept my fate, finally stumbling across an ingenious opportunity to escape the dysfunctional hand I’d been dealt. I left the UK for Southern California with my new American Marine husband, just several days after turning eighteen.

I was often on my own with his various classified missions taking him to unknown places for undefined periods of time but I didn’t mind at all. I’d always been alone but I now had a safe home, a safe sunny home with a beach just down the street and a huge pick-up truck to boot. I had independence and freedom instead of drama, violence and pain and for the first time in my life, I was able to focus on defining: ‘who do I want to be in the real world?’

The 3 years that followed provided some of the best times of my life, a chance to catch up on some of the childhood I’d sadly missed out on and created the breathing space I needed to refresh my energy levels. I then learned that as we were married in the UK, I was unable to leave the states whilst my residency paperwork was being processed. Unfortunately this critical information only became known to me whilst I was trying to re-enter America at LAX following a holiday in the UK. A holiday which had consisted of a smug and cocky me bragging about my new amazing life, gloating at the people who tried to knock me down and this time saying goodbye forever. A few hours later I found myself undergoing a ‘self-deportation’ process and being escorted to a departing plane out of LA in handcuffs whilst my husband stood helplessly in Arrivals. It turned out that my goodbye forever was another cruel twist of fate, a disastrous irony.

I returned to the UK alone, devastated, temporarily inconsolable and unable to enter the USA again without having to start the residency paperwork from scratch. My husband stayed in the states, unable to leave and restricted to within 50square miles of base due to his military orders. My holiday in paradise was well and truly over. Fact.

With the immigration system showing no signs of logic, speed or understanding, I set about rebuilding my life again… Reinventing myself to adapt to a new reality.

I got my first ‘career’ job in production at a local newspaper where I worked so hard, harder than I was expected to and at times harder than I knew was possible… all for just £10k a year. I had to make an impression, I had to get what I deserved out of life otherwise what was the point? I started the long, slow, arduous climb up the corporate ladder…

Evolving skin that was thicker than an alligator, I pride myself on always remaining professional, even in the face of absurdity. I appear calm and controlled in the height of the stress storm, even when I’m screaming with panic inside. I believe in encouraging and inspiring others, even in the presence of morons and I always deliver over and above expectation… Every single time. I am my harshest critic.

I took my experiences from home, lessons learnt in the real world and began to realise that you don’t get paid for being able to solve problems… you get paid for actually solving problems; this takes time, effort, and most importantly “endurance.” Some pay you more than others and as my self-belief grew and my self-worth became more defined, I found myself at the top of companies, the CEO, the COO, the Board member; leading, influencing, empowering.

I have found myself in some of the most influential and impressive boardrooms in London but I’m about to turn 35 years old and am ready to start the next phase of my career. I’m taking a new direction which focuses on the personal evolution of others with the hope of providing the guidance I wish I had access to so many times throughout my own personal journey. In addition, I am acquiring and developing the skills required to deliver motivational speeches, designed to inspire others to go after exactly what they want in their life regardless of the past, regardless of their personal circumstances. No excuses accepted.

The thing I’ve realised is that the underdog has to work harder than everyone else, always trying to prove something. That’s why we often see the less privileged, harder working crowd sneak up on the super-educated and become very successful in life. I, myself like a very select group of us harder working kids never had the ‘privilege’ of developing an ego large enough to convince us that we didn’t need to put in the hard work.

Success is a combination of “endurance” and talent… leaning strongly towards “endurance”. The good news is that if less privileged  and possibly less talented people are succeeding at “endurance”… just imagine how successful a more privileged  and more talented person could be if they just understood the concept of working a bit harder!

If you are a person to whom things come easily, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at your choices and habits. The difference between an amazing life and a good life might just be a little bit of “endurance” to get you started.