Thank You Mean People From High School

mean-girlsI recently adopted a rescue dog, Farley.  He had some aggression issues, so we hired a dog trainer to teach us how to work with him.

Now, this dog trainer had his act together.  He charges $875 for 5 sessions, which is pretty good considering most dog trainers make about $30/hour.  His schedule is booked weeks out and he’s clearly got the whole thing scripted out and down.

Of course, because I can’t help but coach everyone I meet about either starting a business or expanding their business, I immediately start talking to him about expanding his business by licensing others to use his systems and creating a dog training franchise empire.

Each time he came back for one of our sessions, I coached him a bit more and he got more and more excited.  He had considered writing a book or doing some TV in the past, but he’s so busy working all the time, he’d never gotten around to it.  By licensing others to use his systems, he could stop trading time for dollars and free up some time.

At the last of our 5 sessions, he admitted to me why hadn’t ever moved forward with any of his big dreams to expand his business and probably wouldn’t now either.  What he admitted is something that holds most people back and could be holding you back too.

It made me absolutely, positively, totally grateful for the kids in high school who made my life miserable.  Back then, I was devastated. Today, I’m grateful because it’s allowed me to experience massive success and take action where many others can’t.

The kids who excluded me taught me to deal with being judged, criticized, hated, taunted, teased, and bullied.  As it was happening, there were times I wanted to die.  But, I made it through and it made me strong.

I went within myself to discover the truth.  Was there something really wrong with me or was it them? How could I hold onto myself in the face of their cajoling?  Should I conform?  Hide?  Disappear? Or grow?

Through my introspection and inquiry, I discovered and accepted there was something about me that was threatening to them and they dealt with this threat by being mean.  I came to see it as a reflection on them,  not me.  To survive, I learned to embody that truth and stand tall in the face of yuck.

As a result, I am able to put myself out there as an entrepreneur in ways most others can’t.

The dog trainer made me realize how important this was when he told me that he hasn’t moved forward with his big dreams because he’s too sensitive.  The pain of criticism is too intense for him to bear.

He sees the lawsuits, flames and barbs that are tossed at Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, and he can’t bear to experience it.  I understand.  Just imagine how Suze Orman feels when she reads this and this.

In the past several months as I’ve gotten more exposure, I’ve experienced some serious ugliness – criticism, lawsuits, threats, barbs, all of it.

And because I experienced and dealt with that pain in high school and discovered the truth of it and what it meant about me, I’ve been able to mostly let it roll off.  Mostly.

So, thank you mean people from high school,you have prepared me well to carry out my mission.  And thanks to your preparation of me, I’ll be able to make a big difference in the world.


  1. Queen of the ClickTuesday, April 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm 

    What an uplifting story! So many young people who are going through the troubles of being a teen and not popular need to hear this. I am going to copy and paste it so my middle school students can see that everything turns out right for good people 🙂

  2. Rosy VillaTuesday, April 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm 

    Bravo! Excellent post. To quote you, “criticism, lawsuits, threats, barbs, all of it” is a part of life. Because you just can’t please everyone. 🙂

  3. Gina LaGuardiaTuesday, April 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm 

    Amen to that. I, too, am thankful for my awkward and sometimes-tumultuous high school years. I made some amazing friends despite not being part of the “in crowd,” and they’re the ones in the “in crowd” now. 🙂 Each of us has been able to do something original, ambitious, risky. Like you, I do believe that enduring some of high school’s stereotypical cruelty helped pay it forward when it came to tuning out naysayers and triumphing even in the face of doubt. Great post. 🙂

  4. CourtneyWednesday, April 22, 2009 at 1:21 am 

    great post and I have no business to start but it makes me want too! hehe

  5. Lisa SolomonWednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:07 am 

    Wow, Alexis – I can’t imagine that someone as successful and (let’s be honest, here) beautiful as you could have had experiences in high school that so closely mirror my own. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m going to print out this post and show it to my 6th grade daughter.

  6. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)Monday, April 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm 

    Woohoo! Way to go girl!

    It is incredible to see how many successful people were targets in high school. You are so right – it is very often because the bullies feel threatened.

  7. Karen Griffith GrygaTuesday, April 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm 


    I just attended my daughter’s talent show at her school. I was so PLEASED how the kids supported and cheered one another throughout the show — whether it was a good act or not. It was fantastic. I thought about my 7th grade talent show .. not the same experience at all.

    You are correct that all those bad experiences when you are younger, help shape you as a person. For many of us, it reinforces our desire to be an individual and to not worry about what others’ think. For others, it turns out to be a devastating experience.

    I am so thankful that those experiences made me stronger and I hope that I am able to pass this type of learning onto my kids!! I too am going to print this out and share it with my 5th grader.

    Thank you,


  8. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 9:06 pm 

    How wonderful to hear that you turned those negative experiences into your successes!

    It is crazy how much impact — both good and bad — bullying can have.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

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