Denis’ story

“Before I joined the Spear Programme, in my final years of education, I was restless, in despair and had extremely low self-esteem. I was like this for a long time. I left college having written a theatrical play, something I was tremendously proud of it. I came back to London with the aim of getting that play produced, but it soon became apparent that this plan to jumpstart my career was overly ambitious, and it started to fall apart, as well as me. My frustration spilt over to my part-time job; I became sloppy, ran out of steam and wasn’t getting anywhere. It got overwhelming for me.

I gave up on my plans and left my first proper job after working there for six months. I punished myself so severely, as I took a step back and I said to myself, for anybody else, this would not be so demanding, so why is it for me? I came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. The impact this had on my already low motivation was astoundingly bad, it resulted in me cementing a sort of self defeatist, poisonous mindset. I start questioning, what’s the point of doing anything at all? I gave up, and I avoided having anything like that happen to me ever again by shutting myself in and staying in my comfort zone so that I could indulge my vices.

When I joined the Spear Programme, I came in with a pessimistic attitude. I just wanted someone to do my CV and point me to a job. But I tried to keep an open mind, and thank goodness for that.

A particular moment that stood out for me on Spear was the session on the victim and power mindsets. That session helped me put things into perspective – as much as there might be things in your life that aren’t your fault, it’s your personal responsibility to deal with the situation at hand. Off the back of that session, I then had a choice to change my victim mindset and take charge of my life.

It’s one thing to watch an hour talk about motivation; it’s a whole other to have a programme that gives you practical tasks, insightful sessions, sets challenges and expectations, helps your CV and teaches you how to handle feedback.

I quickly established a pattern to not look at the ‘glass half empty’ of my life. I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t ready yet to find a job, but the fact is I always was; Spear have put me on the right road, but most importantly gave me the fuel to actually go ahead and be persistent in applying, do a good interview, reflect on feedback, see failure as a stepping stone for success, and not expect an opportunity to fall on my lap.

A year ago if somebody came to my door with a piece of paper saying that there’s this job for you, I would have become conveniently distracted. Now, have been offered an interview with the manager of a local stores, and I’ve applied for multiple other roles.”

At the time of writing, Denis is working in front of house at a Central London theatre. He is not pictured, at his request.