I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania completely sheltered from the world. I knew there had to be more out there but I was too afraid to go get it. I wouldn't even know how. I left for college and I never went back. I overcame the fear of what 'could happen' and turned it into the excitement of 'What COULD happen!!"
I was a big fish in a small pond, back in Pennsylvania, and it was hard to transition to a big city with lots of other 'big fishes' from small ponds. I felt like I didn't have a chance, that I was the underdog. But everyone loves a good underdog story!
I turned the fear and anxiety into motivation to come out on top. I worked non stop: I worked more and I worked harder than anyone around me to keep up, and eventually get ahead. I love fighting for the underdog, for those without a voice, but I never feel like I can stop. It's as if my identity is how much I work and how much I've helped. The more I fought for a mission at work, the more I felt like I couldn't stop fighting for the next one. Because if I didn't, who would?
It was the same in my personal life: "You're fearless, Melber" was a comment I started to thrive on. And the more I did fearless things, the more I felt like I had to keep outdoing myself to keep feeling fearless.
It took me 10 years to realize that I wasn't going to find what I was looking for anywhere 'out there.' Another country traveled, another promotion, another accomplishment...it was always just the next thing. My grit and ambition always has me hard charging to the next goal. I will probably always struggle with that balance, with the ability to slow down.
That's the reason I have the tattoo on my wrist, which is the design for the line with Intrepid Clothing. A compass has been used to help people find their direction. True north, for me, is myself. It's why North faces towards my heart. No matter where I travel in this world, or what problems I try to tackle, I just have to look down and remember that everything I need to find my way is within me.
There's a quote by Stephen R. Covey, author of 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' - "Live your life by a compass, not a clock" and I think of that every time I look down where my watch should be....