Author Miss T.N. King turned her eight months of unemployment into an opportunity to discover her true purpose. Images courtesy of author.
It took eight months of rejection letters before I landed my first job. It took me getting told "no" not once, but twice before I finally received an offer from my second job. There have been countless nights when I've gone to bed feeling frustrated, confused, and discouraged about life. But, if I've learned one lesson, it’s that hitting rock bottom can set you up for a rock-solid foundation and future.
There is a hidden blessing in getting rejected or overlooked. There is a hidden opportunity in feeling unfulfilled and uncomfortable. That’s because life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. The pains will either punish you or propel you. The choice is yours.
When I look back over the past few years, I understand that the reason I bounced back from pain is that I allowed it to drive me. I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2013 and found myself unemployed and unsure of what to do next. I had followed the “success recipe:” I went to college, was on the dean’s list every semester, graduated with a high GPA, completed in addition to working a part-time job, and was very involved in community and campus activities. Yet despite doing things the cookie-cutter way, life did not excuse me from disappointment. I endured more than 200 employer rejection letters. Instead of despairing, however, I used eight months of unemployment to soul search and discover my unique identity and purpose. Every day, I spent hours praying and dreaming of the impact I wanted to create. In this season of having nothing (and nothing to do), I was able to paint a clear vision of everything my heart desired.
Thanks to this period of reflection, by the time I did ultimately land a job, I actually knew myself. Because of this, I was able to manifest one of my visions while working full-time and launch a women’s empowerment blog. I had no idea it would spread quickly and touch millions of lives around the world, but I had unwavering faith that I was called, created, and crowned with a mighty purpose. I felt fortified. I sometimes imagine what might have unfolded had I found employment immediately. In all likelihood, my blog never would have come to fruition.
A few years into my career, I set my sights on another professional opportunity. I was determined to work at a particular company and it didn’t come easily. I was rejected twice, but those rejections led me to yet another discovery. I became a certified professional life coach. I became my own golden ticket to success. If others didn’t have faith in me, that was okay. They could never take away the wisdom and knowledge in my mind. Once I eventually landed that second job, I was better off than I might have been had I gotten the job right away: I had mastered a new skill and way of helping people outside of the office. I reminded myself that having it all is about adding value to other people's lives; that's when you encounter true success and significance. So while I was working, I launched my coaching business on the side.
Now I realize, my purpose goes beyond having a nine-to-five. My purpose is not about me; it's bigger than me. It is about creating a legacy where my impact will continue long after I’m gone. If your dreams haven’t manifested yet, it may be because you’re still being prepared to handle the magnitude of your blessing. What you need is grit, courage, consistency, and a commitment to be bold, the audacity to dream the invisible, and unwavering faith in your ability. Every setback I've experienced turned into a set-up not when the circumstances changed, but when I made a personal choice to overcome it. Many people fail to realize their true purpose because they haven't discovered their true identity. Setbacks can awaken us to our true selves if we allow them to. I highly encourage you to write out your truth. Begin with “I am” and list encouraging affirmations to read whenever you're having a bad or discouraging moment.
The journey from rock bottom to success is challenging, but the beauty is knowing that you can only go up. Be resilient and press forward in the direction of your dreams. You can and will accomplish all things.