When I was growing up on the other side of the world, I received so much of what I would call today ‘crap’, that I was proving a divergent time and again. I was studying at pharmacy school and was a paying guest at a very religious and orthodox family where the patriarch despite being a doctor would not appreciate me for several things. While I was an obedient, cautious paying guest, he did not like me looking in the eyes while I spoke. And I did not know otherwise. I did not trust anyone who would not look in the eye and speak. That was not the first time I experienced chauvinistic behavior. I had teachers who taught me to be perfect and in that pursuit I almost became someone who was risk averse.
My counter parts on the other hand were taking risks, winning and crushing life and I was just striving for excellence. That kind which does not give me the courage to recoup from failure, the kind that will tarnish my brand and it wouldn’t be okay. But again, I was managing to the perception that became reality. There was a class rank that was held in highest esteem and memorization was a skill which I lacked. As if it was not enough, the father figures in my life thought I should wear long sleeves and floor length dresses to ensure my modesty or stop writing poetry because it stirred unwanted attention, and I was measured against a yard stick that didn’t exist.
Thus started what learned later as MCP (Male Chauvinistic Pig). The term started gaining more and more notoriety from within the family and not just because of males. From aunts and uncles saying I was unfit, to relatives calling me names for indignity because of rebellious behavior to being accused of wasting my parents’ hard earned money – it was all covered. I would never be up to their ‘expectations’. Then came the grand escape that took me across seas and oceans to the land of opportunity. The land of opportunity not only taught me a new life but also gave me affection from strangers and people that barely knew me which I wasn’t aware of back home. And yet again, I was exposed to MCP’s but this time it stood for ‘Mentor Care Program’.
This new MCP felt so good in the beginning. It filled my life with feedback both encouraging and constructive. Feedback that I could work on and was not simply what I used to hear. It was tangible, worth investing time in and it helped me grow as a person and professional. Then reality struck and I realized this wasn’t what it seemed. I’d have to struggle for the 1% I don’t have while the 99% perfection was complete waste. Totally opposite of the first category but kind of the same. I was held to a brand and failure was still not favored. I was never thought to be ready for any coveted roles because of the good folks that cautiously watched over me and my well-being and worried on my behalf!
Quitting was the easy route but I took the road not taken, the Robert Frost kind. I started fighting for what is mine, created a brand that was unique, redefined success and built teams that added value – not alone at all but with those that were on my wagon. Not one day I told those emerging leaders they are not ready for the next level. I reminded them of Peter Dinklage’s motivational speech, “Don’t wait until THEY tell you “you are ready”! Get in there! Sing!.. The world might say “You are not allowed to yet” I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please, don’t even bother asking. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it! Do it! What did Beckett say: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”. Because I didn’t want to be an MCP for them that I never benefited from. Instead, I wanted to be that manager / mentor that added most value. And for my own, I will do what I do well – keep failing forward and getting up twice as strong, and never getting bogged down by any MCP.