Mitch Stelter – A Young Professional’s Story

As I was stepping into my professional career… I was a complex mixture of excitement, determination, and nervousness. I wanted to impress, be taken seriously, and prove that I can be a valuable asset. 

My first client role was a big undertaking, especially at the young age of 19, and I knew I had to give it my all in order to succeed. I was pouring my entire heart into my work and focused on getting things done as quickly as possible. This is where I learned my biggest lesson in the business world.

I learned that pouring your heart into your work can actually work against you. I got too attached to my work. I took everyone’s advice as a stab at my personal abilities. The dull grey cubicle walls started to grow, engulfing me like I was walking into a prison cell each day. Feeling trapped, I became defensive, which negatively impacted the quality of my work and mental health. My work, excitement, determination, and communication skills took a downward turn. I was not putting my best self or work forward.

Several weeks later I read a book called “The Defining Decade” written by Dr. Meg Jay. This book changed my whole outlook on my life and career. The author explained how many young professionals in their twenties take things too personally. As soon as I read that I knew that was me! I realized that the client wasn’t criticizing me, they were just giving me advice from their years of business experience. From that point forward I took what everyone said as advice and not as a personal attack. As a result, I’ve undergone tremendous growth in my confidence, skill set, and communication skills.

I wish I could take back the days where I took things too personally… However, that is not how life works. So now I want to spread the word to other younger professionals that are feeling the same way that they are not alone. I want to help people come to this realization before they are entrapped by their own prison walls.

So why do we take things personally? I realized that the answer to that question is our ego. Our own personal ego wants us to always be right. You’re in a constant struggle with yourself. This is what it comes down to- Do you want to be right? OR Do you want to be happy?

Wouldn’t it be so much easier not to take things personally? Then, no one has power over you. You can be free. Your energy can go towards good things instead of mentally draining yourself.  

Our brain produces about 50,000 thoughts a day. Only about 10,000 are positive. This means that 80% of what we think are negative thoughts. Imagine how many more positive thoughts you could have in a day if you stopped taking things personally. 

Bonus Tip

Look at the other person’s intention and you will realize how it is not about yourself the majority of the time.