Overcoming Circumstance

Turning disadvantage into advantage.

I’m about to get REALLY REAL with y’all and talk about something I’ve NEVER discussed on A Grim Sense of Style. Actually, I’ve hardly talked about it with even the closest people in my life. But I’m sharing this story with YOU in hopes that it brings you encouragement to push through the “circumstances” you have allowed to hold you back.

Ah, circumstance.

I find it extremely exhausting to hear someone who has so much potential blame their circumstances for the situation they are in and unhappy with. And I’ve discovered more often than not, placing blame on circumstance halts the ability to progress (whether it be in a career, relationship or life in general).

Maybe I’m on my own here but I don’t believe in circumstance. I don’t know if it is my upbringing, my faith or the positive personalities I choose to surround myself with but I don’t believe it. I DO believe there is a reason behind EVERY good and bad happening in life, and I use those happenings as means of motivation. Funny enough, a few years ago my best friend shared with me this quote, embodying these feelings.

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstance they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.

George Bernard Shaw


How powerful, right?

But I will be honest, it took some major life happenings to put me in this frame of mind. Let me explain….

I grew up in the country of south central Pennsylvania where family was my EVERYTHING and to be honest, anything I ever wanted as a child was mine. But (just as my dad would now remind me) even when you are working for good and everything is seemingly perfect, sh*t still happens. Over the course of high school years turned college, my family quite literally fell apart. My brother was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, our family business went under, my parents divorced and we literally lost everything including my childhood home.

I was 19 with a dream to work in the fabulous fashion industry and (quite literally) lost everything.

But after too many days of feeling bad for myself, I decided wallowing in self pity wasn’t going to get back my home, fix my family or help me achieve my goals. So, I changed the situation of disadvantage into one of advantage. This became my motivation to finish college, motivation to provide for my family, motivation to move to a city of opportunity, motivation to share my experience and make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It meant working a full time job while in college, sacrificing fun nights out with friends, extremely uncomfortable conversations and moving A LOT. But I firmly believe owning even the worst of circumstances was the key in getting me to where I am today.

Whether you grew up in a financially difficult situation, you’re a minority, you seemingly don’t fit into societal norms, electing to use your disadvantage as an advantage is where success begins. Success like this means bringing something to the table others can’t. Utilize your unique advantage in job interviews, as means to start a business, to positively influence others. Because what you do with your story is what shapes your journey of success.

I share this story with y’all not for pity or a pat on the back BUT as a means of motivation. Let me remind you that no matter where you are, no matter how bad things may seem, no matter how hard you’re working, you ARE more than your circumstances. Never allow yourself to live in disadvantage, but make the most of EVERY situation and use it as a means advantage.

You CAN make your own way.

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