Skip to content

I Can Take A Punch

September 5, 2014


I was 16 years old all over again taking my driving test.
Okay, check mirrors. . .check.

Seatbelt. . .check

Lights on for safety. . .check.

Start the car. . .started.

Radio, off. . .click.

Slowly back out, checking both directions.

Shift into Drive and slowly accelerate.

No, it wasn’t the onset of early senility. It’s just that I’d fallen off the driving horse and I was very hesitant about climbing back on. Yesterday, I talked about Things That Go Bump. . .at 75 MPH. And, while everything turned out okay, other than the fact that my 45 minute commute took 5 hours, the gravity of the situation wasn’t lost on me.

Let’s face it, I was probably about 3 miles (that’s about 2.5 minutes at 70 MPH) away from having all 5 studs on my wheel break off. And at 70 MPH on a freeway during rush hour, the odds of a major accident were pretty high.

I like older cars. I even like working on older cars, although I’m not a particularly gifted mechanic. I have a well-stocked garage. My grandfather was a junk dealer and I inherited his tools when he passed away. But, the problem with older cars is that they breakdown, and not always at the most convenient times. The idea that rather than towing my car home on a U-Haul car dolly, they might have been hauling it off on a flatbed tow truck was just a little frightening.

Let’s veer back into the business world for a moment. How to you overcome that fear? I had an unfortunate string at one point in my career where I got fired from three jobs in a row; jobs I really liked and I wanted to keep. Emotionally, I was a wreck. My confidence was shot. I was scared to go get another job, because I thought “If I don’t have a job, no one can fire me.” It’s very difficult to interview with confidence when you’re emotionally hoping you don’t get the job. And it showed. I went through a period where I was being turned down even for interviews for jobs that I was abundantly qualified for.

Obviously, I got over it. And I got over it the same way you get past any scary situation, I faced it head on. I went out and started my own business. Not because I thought my little consulting business would totally support my family, but because working is better than not working. I got some freelance writing gigs, because writers write. I got some short term consulting gigs. They didn’t all go great (Your Bill Is HOW Much?) But, I was working. And while I was working I rediscovered something I already knew, I am really good at what I do.

I’m not bragging. If you’ve read my postings over the past couple of years, I should realize that I try to give away as much credit as I can (Tell Them It’s All About You. Make It All About Them.) But, we all have things we do well. As I worked my way back into the workforce, I rediscovered my strengths. And as I rediscovered my confidence, I started to interview better. Eventually, I was interviewing for a job that I was superbly qualified for. I got the job. It was a long term consulting gig. And then I got an even better job that was fulltime with health insurance benefits. (Always a consideration when you have a house full of kids.)

And now I’m to the point where I have a job I love and fortunately my boss thinks I do a good job. My clients seem to appreciate the work I do. But, getting here has been a journey of little, sometimes tiny, steps. At times it was all I could do to just fill out a job application. Other times just getting out of the house to attend a networking event was terrifying.

Nothing breeds success like success.

One of the benefits of that down period of my life (Much of which is chronicled in the five day series found here) is that I now understand that I can do hard things. I can take a punch, because life hit me in the gut pretty hard. I fell down, but I got up again. Maybe I was a little shaky on my feet afterward, but I’m not one of those to roll over and give up. We all like to believe that about ourselves. And I would never want anyone to have to go through that process. But, finding out that you are made of sterner stuff is reassuring.

I cringed as I made the first turn. So far so good. I moved from surface streets to the freeway. Still no unusual noises. I started to breathe a little easier. I have really learned to love this car. It still has its share of rattles and hums, but they are familiar rattles and hums. No doubt at some point in the future it will have another issue. But, having come through this issue, I’m more confident that I can make it through the next one. I can take a punch.

Today’s post marks the 400th entry on the blog. Thanks to all of you for reading along.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply