When I was in High School, I struggled with math. All other subjects were interesting and I did pretty well, but when it came to algebra, somewhere along the line, I got confused and couldn’t seem to catch up, especially since the principles of Algebra are built upon each other. Although I had many teachers who were AMAZING, my Algebra teacher was not. Instead of helping me to get over the stumbling block that prevented me from moving forward, my teacher dismissed me and told me if I would drop her class, she would give me a B. Young and not particularly interested in long term effects, I eagerly, took her up on her offer and remarkably enough, was able to graduate HS without knowing how to do ALGEBRA.

Now I know what my strengths are and obviously I wouldn’t have ever put myself in a situation that required me to use talents I didn’t possess or enjoy, (life is just too short) but the ramifications of what the teacher did are far greater than if I had somehow muddled through the class without promises of a short cut out of hell. The stigma that I was just “too dumb” carried with me for years and years, and took a direct hit on my self esteem. Now the fact that I excelled at many things did nothing to replace the fact that a teacher, (one in a position to influence) believed I was incapable of grasping the Algebra concepts and that I wasn’t worthy of the time or attention it required for me to complete the class.

As entrepreneurs, we use math everyday. Maybe not the algebra kind, but the math kind that solves problems. And the funny thing, I’ve found that I am actually pretty damn smart in this arena! I find solutions and help entrepreneurs think outside the box. It has taken a long time to BELIEVE that I am good in MATH. And at times I wonder how much farther I would have gone had I not been affected by a teacher that shot me down with just a few words. The good news is, we are not defined by the words of someone else. We are defined by who and what we want to be. And NOTHING should ever stop us from believing in ourselves and our capabilities.

xo, jan

Jan McCarthyComment