Own Your Phenomenal Self by Rita P. Mitchell

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Excerpt from Own Your Phenomenal Self, by Rita. P. Mitchell

 Overcoming the “No’s”

I am no stranger to hearing the word “No.” Throughout my career, many people told me that the goals I had for myself were unrealistic and unreachable. I was told over and over by multiple employers that I was never going to reach my long-term goal of becoming an investment advisor. Wrong! I did. I was told that I would most certainly fail if I took the risk of changing careers or starting a business. Wrong! I did both.

Today, I am happy to declare that my goals were neither unrealistic nor unreachable, and all of the people who told me “No” were wrong. By seeing beyond the “No’s,” I stayed focused on my goals, chose my path, and owned my success. I doubled down, and I bet on me.

 So, how do you overcome the “No’s”?

DECIDE THAT YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO GETS TO DETERMINE YOUR SUCCESS.

It’s easy to become pigeonholed in a position you’re good at, even if it’s not the position you want. If you don’t take control, step into the driver’s seat, and develop your own agenda, you will most certainly end up in the back seat, riding down a road that others have chosen for you.

I was told over and over again that I should be happy with my role/job because I was adding value and delivering great results. Unfortunately, though my employer was satisfied with my level of success, I was not. It’s up to you to determine your worth and value and to determine what success looks like for you. Own the work of the journey and you will have the end result that you desire.

GIVE YOUR BEST AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY.

Being successful means giving your all every day and having a mindset that failure is not an option. When I finally acquired the credentials to become an investment advisor, no one would hire me. Again, I received “No” after “No” after “No.” At that point, there was nothing left to do but open my own insurance and investment firm, Mitchell Financial Inc., in my den. A new baby, bills to pay, and the hardships of starting a business out of the family house almost cost us our home. But failure? Not an option. Blinders on? Not an option. Failing to deliver my best effort each and every day? Not an option. My husband and I worked hard through the uncertainty and built a very successful company. Another set of “No’s” turned into more than a decade of success, proving that we all are in control of being our very best and owning our successes to come.

BECOME THE BEST AT YOUR CRAFT.

The skills required to succeed in your chosen field may not come naturally. The beauty of success, however, is that you don’t need to be a natural at your craft—you just need to be determined to become the best at your craft.

Selling was hard for me at the beginning of my career. I had to study each and every part of the sales process: how to start a conversation, how to build rapport, how to uncover a need, and how to close the deal. Not a single part of the process came naturally to me.

Everything was difficult, and I could fill a book with the many “No’s” I received as I developed  my  sales  acumen. However, I read every book that I could get my hands on, attended every sales seminar that I could afford, and unmercifully picked the brain of every successful salesperson I met. I was determined to become a great salesperson, master the process, and become a top producer in my own right. I knew that, only when I mastered the sales process, would I be in the driver’s seat to achieve my financial goals. It took everything I had, but eventually, I became a top producer. What was previously uncomfortable had become natural.

 DEVELOP “ALLIGATOR SKIN.”

Somewhere along your personal and professional journey, you will be treated unfairly. The world is not perfect and people are not perfect. Know that it is going to happen. When it does, you have to remain focused, positive, and determined to stay the course to reach your goals. You will be told “No” all throughout your career. But, understand that you own the “Yes’s,” too; they are all in your pocket. Owning a “Yes” means that you and only you determine the next path on your journey. So when you hear a “No,” put on your alligator skin, refocus, and take a “Yes” out of your pocket. You are in control!


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Rita P. Mitchell is an overcomer. In a career spanning nearly four decades, she has navigated countless roadblocks and conquered numerous obstacles to accomplish her personal and professional goals in the very competitive financial services industry. Rita became president of her own insurance and securities brokerage firm, spoke on the TEDx stage, contributed to Black Enterprise magazine, and became the first-ever recipient of First Horizon’s 2018 Inclusion & Diversity Leader’s Award. Before retiring in early 2018, Rita served as Executive Vice President and Manager of Private Client Services for Middle Tennessee, First Tennessee Bank. Most recently, she has written Own Your Phenomenal Self (January, 29, 2019), a guide to empower young career women to achieve their desired success. Rita resides in Nashville, TN, and enjoys writing, cooking, and traveling with the love of her life, Fulton, and her daughter, Brittany.