My story starts as a 5th grader under the piping hot Georgia sun. In honor of the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, my elementary school decided that they would host their own “Track and Field Olympic style event” for the entire school. I was selected to jump hurdles-I have no idea why they picked me because until that point I had never seen a hurdle much less jump over one.
As race started I had a pretty good lead and as I was approaching my first jump-I fell. This wasn’t your typical fall! I scrapped up my hands & knees, chipped a tooth, and was bleeding. I was down on the ground for a couple of seconds and in pain. I clearly recall looking toward the bleachers and like a scene from a movie everyone said “aaaaahhhh”. Everyone was horrified and I didn’t know what to do. A few more seconds passed and I got up, finished the race, and successfully jumped the remaining hurdles.
The next day everyone was picking on me-these kids were ruthless and wouldn’t let up. In gym class the teacher recognized a few folks for coming in 1st or 2nd place in their event. As he was wrapping up, our coach asked everyone in the class to stand up. He then looked at me and asked me to sit down. I immediately thought….“oh man” he’s going to make an example of how bad I did. He asked everyone to clap for me and then told us “We’re all going to fall but Tunisia got up and finished the race.”
And I did get up, no one told me to but in that moment I just had to become a fighter. You know most of us wouldn’t be here today if we weren’t fighters. Even today I feel like I’m getting back up after falls, I have this quota to maintain and I sometimes lose clients but I tell them “this isn’t the last you’re going to hear from me” I’ll keep trying and even when I do lose an account I try not to focus on the loss because for me it’s about maintaining those relationships and stamina to keep getting back up.
Tunisia told this story in front of 500 of her colleagues at Deltek’s annual sales conference. Thanks for having us!