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Debbie O'Brien
Debbie O'Brien

Posted on • Originally published at

Amazing Things are Going to Happen

I am feeling absolutely amazing and I just wanted to share it all with you. It's kind of interesting in how it happened, perhaps just a process of events, but let me explain. I guess I could kind of say it's similar to when parents say their kids wake up in the morning and they see they've grown. And they say, Oh my God you've just grown. You've had a growth sprout and that's how I feel right now. Like I've grown and you're kind of going what? No, because my height is exactly the same, but I just feel I have grown right now in a way that I can't even explain. How did it happen?

Literally I went for a cycle in the mountains and it all just happened. Okay. Let me go back a little bit. No, seriously. I was cycling in the mountains. And when I'm cycling in the mountains, it's like you have a lot of time to just think and just process things. Your mind is clear and you get a lot of things out of you.

And today I just got it out of me, all the negativity that's been holding me back and stopping me from being me, all the voices that are in my head that have been stopping me from believing in myself.

Not being Accepted

Before I joined Nuxt I was working at some companies where I just didn't fit in. I wasn't accepted by people. Not just did they not believe in me. People didn't like me. People didn't want to be around me. They didn't want to work with me. Maybe it was all in my head, but it wasn't. I wished it was. But it wasn't, it was really hard. It was such a hard environment to work in. But when you work so hard to get a job in tech and you get a job, you can't just leave and go somewhere else.

It's not that easy. So now you have this great job. You have this great career, but you're working in an environment where people don't want you around. Why? I don't know. Sometimes I guess I'll never know. I was the type of person that was pushing things forward. I was making change. I was bringing change into the work environment, into technology. Not everyone is ready for change, some people just didn't want to change.

I also probably wasn't, the best role model because I was leading a team and I wanted people to be like me, I didn't understand why people didn't want to be like me, why they didn't want to go home after work and open their computer and start watching a conference talk or go to a meetup or study or do a course or spend two hours learning something new.

I mean, why would you not want to do that? Why would you want to go home and watch Netflix, for example? I was trying so hard to be better that I just kind of thought everyone else was like me and doing the same. And I probably pushed that on a lot of people. And that was probably hard for people to work with me.

Being Successful can be hard

Some people just didn't like my success. And that was really hard as well. I became Google Developer Expert, which was just an incredible achievement for me, but it was not acknowledged at work. When I got my Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award which was sent to the office. That's where you're spending most of your time so the award arrived at the office. And I took it out of the box and this is an absolutely beautiful award and a plaque. It was just incredible. And I put it on my desk and I was so proud that I'd achieved this.

But people laughed at it. People laughed at me. I seen them from the other side of the room so I brought it to my boss's attention. I told him, and he just told me that we don't celebrate success here. You should just take it home. You're just showing off and making people feel like that they're not good enough. And you're not better than anyone else. That was so hard. Instead of the company taking a picture of you with your award and saying, well done and promoting the fact that one of their employees had just become an MVP, a Microsoft most valuable professional, and using that to help their company grow. Instead of that, I just got told to take it home. It always stayed on my shelf in my room as kind of like something that I was proud of, but afraid to be proud of, afraid to feel that it was worth something good. And every day I went to work, I just didn't want to be there.

Going to Conferences was my way of Escaping

That's when I started going to a lot of conferences. I just wanted to go to conferences all the time. Because when I was at conferences people accepted me. People told me I was amazing. I was surrounded by these people who just had positivity and then I'd go into the office and it was all negative. It was all fights. It was battles.

I went to meetings where I would talk and people would just talk over me. In one company, I went to a meeting where I stood up to give a presentation and they all just started talking and arguing and shouting over each other. And I stood there with my arms folded thinking, I could walk out of this room right now, go and get a coffee and come back and they would not have even noticed that I had left the room. And this was my experience of giving a presentation. It was just horrible. It was so horrible. No matter what I did, people just did not accept me.

I went home from work in tears on many occasions, many occasions I wanted to give up. I wanted to walk away. I didn't want to be there. I had a really, really good CEO at a previous company who told me. "Don't ever give up, never, ever give up, no matter how hard it gets, people will always try and bring you down, be strong and just keep going." And so I did and I kept going.

It was Destroying my Mental Health

I went to a conference one day and when I came back, at the time I was a tech lead, they had basically moved all of the desks and chairs around and rearranged themselves, and they'd left me on the other side of the room, alone. I am meant to lead this team, but, I am not allowed sit near them or hear what's going on. And they told me, "you're a manager you can't sit with us" and I told them, "I'm a developer first, I lead the developers".

It was really, really hard to deal with. I kept analyzing things in my head. I kept going over everything. What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to me? Why do people not like me? I'm not a bad person. I'm just doing my job. And I'm trying to do my job really, really well. And for some reason, people don't want me around and I didn't know what to do.

It got so bad that I went on a skiing holiday and I couldn't even ski down the mountain because all this was in my head. All this was just going round and round, like a record playing, and I was analyzing and analyzing it. I just stopped on the mountain and I was in tears. I couldn't ski. It had taken over my life in such a way that it was so hard to deal with.

Speaker Friends and Counselling

I was really lucky to have had such amazing people, amazing speaker friends. One of them, gave me a counselling session, a few counselling sessions actually, and talking it over with her really helped and made me feel that it wasn't me. It's not on me. It's not my fault. I'm not doing anything wrong.

Basically I'm trying to fit in somewhere where I just don't belong. And that all these other people out there in the world think I'm amazing. Why should I focus my attention on the handful of people that don't? Focus on the people that actually want to read my blog posts, want to listen to me at a conference, want to watch my YouTube videos, concentrate on those people, because they're the ones that you need to focus your energy towards, and forget the others. Now that's such an easy thing to say, it really is, especially when you walk into the office, into a place where they're looking at you every day.

The Power of Thank you

And there was something really interesting she told me. She said,

"Instead of fighting back, you just have to stop fighting because anger with anger, hatred with hatred, no one wins. You're going to have to start doing things different and it's going to be really hard, but you can do it. You have got to use the word 'Thank You'. And the next day you go into work and they start attacking you for something or telling you you're not doing your job properly or you're wrong, or this is not good enough, you just have to answer with something like: Thank you, I'll keep that in mind. I'll improve that. And once you use the word, thank you. There's no way to fight back."

And when I used it, they just stood in their shoes and they were happy. And they said okay. And they walked off. I mean, obviously it wasn't a great solution. How can you work like that? Teamwork doesn't exist. But it got me through the day. It stopped the fights. It stopped the battles. And it allowed me to concentrate on moving forward, on getting out of that environment and finding another job, finding a place where I was going to be accepted and wanted, where people believed in me and where people were excited for me growing and being successful and helped me to grow and be better.

So after a couple of weeks of dealing with this and just saying, thank you. As people put me down every day, I would just say, thank you. I didn't know that, I'll improve on that. And I got on about my job.

I just tried to not go to the Office

I was really lucky that I had really good clients and I was able to focus my energy on these clients who really valued me and who wanted me around. So I just kind of constantly worked with the external clients who are brilliant and I tried to not go to the office as much as I could. I Tried to work remote, tried to go to conferences and just work from there, because that was where I was happy. And being in work, being in the office, going to work, was just not a good place.

I was really lucky that after a couple of months, it took a couple of months to get there. And finally I was offered a job at Nuxt. That's when I was able to move on. But just because you change companies doesn't mean that you get rid of all that negativity that's been there for years just being thrown into you, you hold onto it for some reason, and it's not so easy to just let it go.

I just didn't Believe in myself

How do you just let things go? I didn't really realize that it was still there, that all these emotions, all these voices were still there. All I knew was that I didn't believe in myself and even in my new job in Bit, when I started there after the first week, I told them "you've hired the wrong person. I'm not good enough for this job." I told them many times I'm technically not good enough. Now I'm a Google Developer Expert, a Microsoft MVP, a GitHub star, a Media Developer Expert, and I'm telling people I'm not good enough. Like that's crazy. But I didn't believe it because I had years and years of people telling me that I'm not good enough, years of people not believing in me, years of people putting me down, years of people not wanting me around, not accepting me.

Joining Bit has been the best thing ever

And for some reason, I seemed to care about them more than I cared about the rest of the world. Why? I don't know. I don't know. I think moving to Bit has really, really helped me. I've been surrounded by people who are just telling me I'm doing amazing, who are pushing me forward. I'm seeing myself grow.

I'm seeing myself doing more programming, getting better. I feel more comfortable, more. I feel stronger and the team are helping me and pushing me towards this direction. I'm working with people who are telling me that they think I'm a star. It's like, they want to work with me. And they're proud to have me on board and have me working there. And it's just such a great feeling, it's incredible.

Receiving the GitHub Star Award

Then when GitHub sent me the GitHub Star Award, and I have this physical award that I'm looking at thinking, wow. Like this is incredible. When I got awarded the Google Developer Expert award, I actually believed they'd sent it to the wrong person, or that they just couldn't find someone else to award it to. Seriously, I know that's crazy, but that is exactly how I felt. And even with the GitHub Star, I was like, why would people nominate me? Why do people think I'm good? Why do people think I'm a star? I'm not a star. I'm not good enough because in my head, that's all I was hearing.

But when I got this award and I have it here in the place where I'm working every day, I see it every day. And then I get a GitHub Star t-shirt and a hoodie and I'm wearing them and I'm looking down and it's right there, the star. And I'm like, actually, you know what, maybe I am a star. Maybe I am actually good at what I do.

Maybe I'm actually really good at what I do

And as I went for that cycle today in the mountains, as I'm cycling along, all these memories came back up, all these thoughts, but they all just came up and just released and all of a sudden, and I seriously don't know how, but all of a sudden they became not important. Those voices were not holding me down anymore. They're not stopping me. They don't mean anything to me anymore. And that's how I'm able to talk about it today. Whereas before, there's no way I would have talked about it. And now it's like, you know what? Maybe just, maybe I'm actually really good at what I do. Not

I feel now I can just grow and be better and actually just move forward instead of constantly thinking I'm not good enough or I'm not learning fast enough or I'm not able to do this. People are wrong in believing in me. I'm not good enough because actually, you know what? Just because someone tells you you're not good enough, that does not mean that, just because some people tell you you don't belong here. That does not mean you don't belong. You're just in the wrong place and right now, I'm so in the right place. I belong. I am good enough. And yeah, I am a star and I believe right now, I don't know. I really, really believe I can do anything right now.

There's no one stopping me anymore

It's really weird. I can't even explain it properly, but I just feel. I can do anything. There's no one holding me back anymore. There's no one stopping me. There's no one like dragging me from behind saying, you can't do this. I can just do it. And I guess I just wanted to share this story to maybe help others see that it is possible.

If you're feeling that way, that you can't do it, that someone's telling you that you can't then don't listen to the negativity. Don't listen to the people who put you down. Be strong, surround yourself with the people who believe in you and listen to them and stop listening to the others.

Let's build a better world

It's taken me a year and a few months to get here. So it's not an easy process, but I'm here. I've made it and you can too. And now. I don't know. I just want to help others in getting there. And I'm just going to do really cool and amazing things. Just watch. Amazing things are going to happen.

I don't even know what, I just know it and I'm just really excited and I'm just like, yeah, let's do this together. Let's build a better world. So people don't have to go through what I went through. Let's do it together.

Me and my awards

Top comments (6)

schleidens profile image • Edited


Y'a pas que les bons moments qui existe, y'a aussi ceux qui certaines fois nous donne l'envie de tout laisser, et ces moments là deviennent des leçons et nous aide a partager avec les autres ou encore de leurs conseiller quand ils sont en face de ces même moments.

Votre carrière m'a toujours motivé et m'aider a bosser encore plus quand je sens que va mal, ( j'ai lu ton article sur treehouse.. :) )

Continue de faire ce que vous aimer et a réaliser des trucs incroyable. Alllezzzzzzzzz y Debie🚀

debs_obrien profile image
Debbie O'Brien

merci beaucoup 🥰

lansolo99 profile image

You're the most passionated people on Nuxt i can remember, you shouldn't be concerned regarding what you have achieved for the community. Keep going!

debs_obrien profile image
Debbie O'Brien

thank you so much

ajcwebdev profile image

So happy for you Debs, congratulations on finding a place you can thrive!

debs_obrien profile image
Debbie O'Brien