Stephen Nardone | I Am the Creator of My Own Success

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 22, 2020
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Stephen Nardone shares what drives him to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
What drives me to #AchieveMore I have always been fascinated by computers and computer programming. I grew up watching my father, a software developer, communicate with computer systems to create complex system applications. I was continuously amazed at what he could do and begged him to teach me. He never would, a fact that was even more damaging than disappointing: as a young child, I was diagnosed with several mental handicaps/learning disabilities. For the first half of my life, I was consistently told that I was limited, and that I lacked potential. I believed these things for many years, and truly thought higher education was out of my reach. I abandoned my childhood dream of a career in technology and found a job I was good at but that never challenged me. I thought I was doing well "considering my circumstances". Last year my world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease and required a spinal fusion surgery. Doctors said in no uncertain terms that I could no longer do the work I had performed for 20 years. I refused to accept this as another limitation; in fact, I have always prided myself in my ability to provide for myself and my family no matter how much or how hard I had to work. During this time a friend gave me the encouragement I needed to finally take a chance on myself, and I found the courage to follow my inner truth despite a lifetime of messages to the contrary. As I decided to begin the journey of a lifetime, I engaged in a lot of soul-searching and reflecting. I discovered there are 3 main truths that drive me and have done so in different ways throughout my life. These are; that I do the right thing even when it is difficult or when it costs me, that I follow an honorable work ethic, and that I defend those who have been mistreated, taken advantage of, or who are vulnerable. Despite my less-than-ideal beginnings, these truths survived as key elements within my personality and my values. As a reflection of this fact, I have chosen Cyber Security as my major and my career, beginning my college education much later in life than most but also far more determined to make the most of this opportunity and my education. These truths, along with the burning drive to prove to myself that none of those other voices were right about me, drive me every day toward my goals—not just for me but for anyone out there who has ever been told that they are not enough, or that they shouldn't bother pursuing their dreams.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?