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Without the Struggle, What is Success Anyway?

Written by Michelle Pullara, Senior Creative Manager

I have two little kids – ages 2 and 5. They wear me out. Constantly. My youngest is a boy – and as much as I hate saying “he’s a boy” as validation for his bad behavior – well, it pretty much sums him up. He’s into everything, doesn’t listen, and doesn’t eat; you get the picture. My oldest is almost the polar opposite. She listens, she hates when she disappoints Mom and Dad, she tries so hard in everything she does, and she follows the rules and rarely gets into trouble. Parenting such opposite kids is a challenge. I get home from work and I’m tired. I forget who I am talking to and if I talk too sternly to my oldest, she breaks down in tears. If I don’t talk sternly enough to my son, he looks at me and (I swear) laughs at me in his head and ignores me. Michelle Pullara

I won’t lie – there are nights where I throw my hands up, declare movie night, and just say forget it.

I give in and have this underlying feeling of defeat. But the next day we start again and I feel refreshed and ready to conquer any tantrums that come my way. As a mom, I have to push through. It’s taught me a lot about perseverance and I realized I deal with this constantly, not only at home, but at work.

I work in marketing and am the senior creative specialist. I work on marketing and advertising campaigns that serve the needs of multiple decision makers. So naturally, when we decided it was time to freshen up one of our ad campaigns, I played a big role in how they were going to shape up.

In the recent past, I worked to launch a new campaign that I was fully vested in, only to find out at the end that it didn’t meet all the requirements everyone had. Talk about feeling defeated!

After the realization that almost a year’s worth of work wasn’t going to get launched, I did say forget it.

I sat on it for weeks while I focused on other projects that needed my attention. When I (dreadfully) came back to it, I started to see the concerns others had and the holes that weren’t filled in the plan.

It’s so easy to get caught up in huge projects you’re working on that you forget to take a step back and make sure it’s right.

As disheartening as it initially was, it later provided our team with the opportunity to learn more about what we really needed. We could retackle the project from a different perspective with this new key insight.

The end result was far better than what I could have imagined.

It just took us twice as long to get there. Perseverance is hard.

Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Charlie Day gave a commencement speech for Merrimack College during which he spoke about fear, risk, judgment, and failure. He said everything he’s most proud of to this day has been difficult. Hard work is uncomfortable and scary and pays off in the long run. Fail, pick yourself up, and fail again. Without the struggle, what is success anyway? Push through the struggles, and it becomes success. I think all great entrepreneurs do this daily, and it’s a great lesson for anyone.

I know every mom and every person who’s ever had a job knows the feeling of defeat. You’re not alone. Perseverance is hard but will make you better! I struggle with my kids sometimes, but I’m also so proud of them – it’s hard to put into words.

I think if it were easy, there wouldn’t be so much to be proud of. Which is probably why I’ve not been more proud of a work project than I am of our most recent campaign, and, without failure, it wouldn’t have happened. Take your failures, turn them into lessons learned, and ultimately into successes.

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