Setback Saturday: Don’t let people diminish what you’ve earned.

I recently heard that someone who I’ve met one time said to my close friend and co-worker, “So does Lyndsey actually do any work or is she still just using her name to get attention?” I won’t lie, it stung when I heard that because it isn’t the first time I’ve been accused of something like that. The fact that I even have to work through the emotions that come with something like this is a setback because it requires mental energy to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, I am practicing what I preach and utilized the power of positivity and a growth mindset to get through the frustration of these comments. But I do want to break these comments down and provide some insight from my perspective.

First, I had to work extremely hard to get “my name.” In college, I sacrificed many nights out with friends, I would work out after games, I was structured to the minute which wasn’t always easy on my relationships and made such drastic changes to my eating that it actually resulted in a real problem. During the Olympic year, I was constantly fighting for a 4th line spot and mentally had to work through that during practices and games. I would put my hard hat on and grind for every inch. I was not a star player. I didn’t not make the Olympic team on talent alone. I made it because I outworked others. So I want to be very clear when I say that my name was earned, not given to me.

Second, I didn’t just work hard in hockey. I worked hard in school. I got the first C of my life during my freshman year of college at Harvard. I figured at that time that I just wasn’t “Harvard smart.” By my senior year, I decided that I was as smart as my work ethic would take me and I finished with a 4.0 GPA. That came with sacrifices too. My college roommate would be able to vouch for this. She used to host these awesome viewing parties of Scandal and instead of watching with the team, I would go into my room, put on my headphones and do my homework because of how badly I wanted to prove to myself that I could get all A’s. When I went on to get my MBA, I was one of the youngest people in my class and had zero formal experience in business. I knew I would have to work hard to prove myself. I graduated top of my class while training for an Ironman and received the school’s top marketing award. None of that had to do with my “business intelligence.” It had everything to do with how hard I worked.

As you can imagine after reading this, when I am accused of just getting things because of my name and not because of my work ethic, it insults me. And yet, I always use it as an opportunity to grow. All I can do is control what I can control. So I have been trying to double down on how hard I’m working and take on more responsibility wherever I can. For those who are close to me and say things like this, I am trying to better know them to understand why they feel that way and work to find a solution to the miscommunication between us. And above all, I try to remember one of my favorite quotes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

So when I face this type of setback, I focus on ensuring that everyone knows how deeply I care about all that I work on and spread as much positivity as I can.

Don’t let anyone tell you don’t deserve something you earned. Just go prove yourself by earning their respect.

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