So picking up where we left off. What happens after we fail? What happens when the world doesn't end after the worse thing we thought would happen, happens?

I didn't immediately pick myself up, but eventually I did. I finished school, finally, in record time receiving a four-year degree in two years. In that time, I beat applicants at some of the best schools to intern at Uber one year into its founding. I got the opportunity to help women entrepreneur in Nicaragua on a full scholarship from a prestigious scholar program (the pre-Fullbright program called the Gilman Scholars). From there, I parlayed my story to get my foot in the door as a Social Media and Email Coordinator. Within those three months, I took on more responsibility and my manager, whom I looked up to at the time, left for another company. 

I was on my own at an 80-person startup. And within a few more month, the company transitioned from a CEO whom I respected, to someone who did not have a proven track record. I was promoted to Digital Marketing Manager within six months. Though I was a star performer, turning our email channel into a new source of revenue stream, I was extremely unhappy. Our CEO had gotten wind that I was potentially looking for opportunities elsewhere and began to act vindictive, cutting me out of meetings and projects. He also gave me the silent treatment. Oftentimes, adults can be more childish than children. 

A company's culture starts from the top down. A lot of my colleagues would act in ways that were territorial, undermining and insecure. They would take over projects that were not theirs and ask for deliverables that were not part of my responsibilities. These were all symptomatic of issues from the top; unstructured leadership with no boundaries and goals. Luckily, another company reached out and offered me a global position in marketing automation. At this time, the field was fairly nascent. I was so excited to expand my skills and work for a global company as a Manager.

[Narrator Voice] Little did she know, our protagonist was in for much worse. She had no idea what was about to come.

Being a high performer who is constantly self-critical, I always bring my all to any role or project otherwise I will never feel good enough. I believe that if I work hard enough, my work would speak for itself. And it did at this new company. However, the culture here was just as toxic, if not more than the last. It's so funny, because I only realized that now thanks to where I currently work. You don't realize how bad you had it until something better finally comes along. I was there for three years, and in those three years, while I grew a lot and learned so much about perseverance and thinking outside of the box working with limited resources I also put up with a lot; from toxic and insecure co-workers who took their frustration of not being recognized out on others to those who would establish a pecking order based on intimidation and cliques. 

Eventually, all the toxic ones left as I continued to be promoted. Within two years of starting my full-time career, I reached my goal of earning six-figures. It was anti-climatic as San Francisco's cost of living is one of the highest in the world. Making over $100K isn't that significant as $96K or below is officially considered as low income in this city. 

When I reached this milestone, I thought I would feel complete. Instead, I placed my stakes on a higher goal. I wanted to close the gap between mine and my husband's income. Having taking such an untraditional path to where I am today, I always felt a sense of inferiority because I didn't figure it out earlier, because I couldn't do what so many others accomplished so easily. So I staked my goal on to something that would remove this inferiority complex once and for all. If I could make what my husband makes, who attended two Ivy Leagues and has been working for over a decade, I would finally feel good enough. 

I reached this goal at the end of 2019 when I accepted the offer from the company where I am at today, five years after starting my career I am now Head of Marketing Operations here. Sure it feels nice, but it doesn't change who I am intrinsically. I gained a bit more confidence from financial stability and a flashy title. But the truth is, I have always been enough. We all are. That's my next goal; to learn how to love myself even if I made nothing, did not have a job and nothing to offer. To feel so enough that no material thing can take that away.

I'm sharing all this because I believe everyone's journey is different. You may be beating yourself up comparing yourself to someone else. You may be looking at an Instagram influencer's feed and see them travel the world in designer goods and think because you are not doing the same, you have somehow failed. I'm sure you thought the same when looking at my feed. If there's anything I've learned in my eight years of therapy, its that comparison is the thief of joy. We don't know what is really going on behind the filtered photos and smiles. Everyone is struggling with something. Every one of us. I've pushed myself this far and have successes racked up. But I've only made it this far because I failed so many time. Each time I failed, I took that lesson with me forward. We go at our own pace. 

In my darkest days I used to mourn what could have been if I had figured my shit out sooner. Now I realized how much dwelling on regret was holding me back.

Letting go of regrets lead to memories I will never forget; renting out an entire chateau in France for our wedding, owning my very first home in San Francisco with the most breathtaking view few will ever have, working at a company that I can finally say I love and am proud of, making peace with my childhood trauma, forgiving myself, forgiving my parents, and loving my partner more and more each day during this pandemic. It took so much work to get here.

Looking back, I wouldn't change anything about my journey.