How Have You Overcome Being Underestimated?

UPDATED: May 23, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 16, 2019
Overcome Being Underestimated

Virginia LeAfter my second child was born, I decided to put my career on hold to become a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was a decision that friends, family and colleagues thought my career would never recover from. But in that new role, I adapted and gained new skills. Fast-forward 16 years later, and I surprised everyone, including myself, when I rejoined the workforce and realized that my career hiatus had been a metamorphosis for me.

—Virginia Le, production manager, SUCCESS

Jamie FriedlanderA year ago, I decided to become a full-time freelance writer and editor. I felt people underestimated my ability to do this, as I received countless skeptical questions: What do you do all day? Do you intend to do this forever? I used their skepticism to fuel my motivation to succeed. It worked. Not only am I thriving financially as a freelancer, but I’m also much happier now that I can be selective about my work and have the freedom that accompanies being self-employed.

—Jamie Friedlander, freelance writer and editor

Jessica Larijani

In school, I always liked English best, which is why I decided to major in journalism. But as part of our curriculum, we had to take economics—a dreaded course that many students struggled to pass. Instead of letting those low expectations drive my attitude or determine my grade, I used them as motivation to succeed, studying my butt off by rereading chapters and handwriting stacks of notecards before every quiz and test, and I walked out of that class with an A+ because of it. You can prove anyone or anything wrong if you’re willing to put in the work.

Jessica Larijani, director of digital content,

Related: 3 Ways to Boost Your Confidence When Nobody Else Believes in You


This article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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