What doesn't kill you can make you stronger

"Once upon a time there was a farmer who had an old mule.

The mule fell into a deep dry well and began to cry loudly. Hearing his mule cry, the farmer came over and assessed the situation. The well was deep and the mule was heavy. He knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to lift the animal out.

Because the mule was old and the well was dry, the farmer decided to bury the animal in the well. In this way he could solve two problems: put the old mule out of his misery and have his well filled.

He called upon his neighbours and they agreed to help. One after another, shovelfuls of dirt began falling on the mule’s back. He became hysterical. Then all of a sudden an idea came to the mule: each time they threw dirt on his back he could shake it off and step up. And so he did; shovelful after shovelful, the mule shook it off and stepped up. Eventually, after long hours of shaking it off and stepping up – exhausted and dirty, but quite alive – the mule stepped over the top of the well and walked through the crowd."

(Author unknown)

What a great attitude, and a great way to approach life. “Shake it off and step up.” Too often we hold on to bad things that have happened to us. I have reflected on my career and it's true - those truly horrible moments when you think things can't get any tougher can feel crippling:

  • the negative feedback that floors you because you thought you were doing a great job
  • the toxic boss who diminishes your confidence day by day
  • the "at risk of redundancy" letter that hits you like a bolt from the blue

But, we all have a choice: keep it inside, embrace the hurt and become bitter; or shake it off and step up.

Give it a try. Shake it off and step up. Once you are on your feet again you can take some action. You decide where you want to go in life, in your career, the direction you want to take from this moment forward.

You never know - what might once have buried you could be what lifts you to your next summit…


If this resonates with you and you want a career change or some guidance on how to turn those tricky experiences into interview answers to be proud of, then simply contact me at holly@hollyashford.com - I'd love to help you!