Know Your Worth

By Justin Simpson

The famous boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson, once said, “To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.” That quote really hit home for me recently. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and how I handle challenging situations. I’ve been placed in positions where I felt that my opinion wasn’t valued. Honestly, I’d be ok if someone didn’t value my opinion because my logic was flawed or if my argument wasn’t presented appropriately, but I have a hard time coping when it’s because of the color of my skin, my age, gender, or the person’s personal dislike of me. This realization caused me to stop and take a good hard look at myself. After deep self-reflection, I realized two very important principles that I’d like to share with you today.

It’s not what you’re in that matters, it’s what’s in you

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you feel unvalued, I would recommend you reflect on the wise council my father gave me while I was growing up, “People can take everything from you, except knowledge and passion”. Those words didn’t mean much to me then, but I can certainly relate to them today. I realized that what he was trying to say was no matter what happens to you in life, knowledge and passion are the keys to success and no one can take them from you. At the end of the day, your personal drive and determination will dictate how successful you are. You can Google a lot of things, but you can’t Google how to be passionate about your career. If you’re not investing your time, you’re wasting your time

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the campus of the University of Alabama at a seminar, and I was talking to one of the students after a session. While we were talking, I asked her what the one thing was that she took away from her four years of college She said, “If you’re not investing your time, you’re wasting your time”. As simple as that sounds, it was a profound statement for me. At that moment I realized that I had been wasting time trying to please people who didn’t like me and weren’t interested in helping me grow my career. I focused more on what they wanted me to do rather than what made me happy. I spent more time trying to prove to them that I deserved to be where I was rather then growing my skillsets.

She went on to say that I’m a role model for her because of how successful I am and that I make time to come back to mentor young African American students who don’t have many opportunities to see and meet successful African American men. Her statement meant more to me then she’ll ever know. It reaffirmed for me that it’s the small things that matter. It helped me see that she, and others, are depending on me to be their motivation. and I refuse to let them down.

Throughout this experience, I learned that no matter what position you are in, whether you are a manager at a large corporation, a janitor at a college, or even in your role as a parent, someone is always looking up to you. I hope you remember to be passionate in whatever you decide to do, invest your time wisely, and above all, know your worth. That’s what champs are made of.

Justin is from Northport, Alabama and received his Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration from The University of Alabama located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is very involved in the community, actively participates with local non-profits and has served on several boards of directors.

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