• Baker Institute Team

“What’s the worst thing that can happen?”


What's the worst thing that can happen?

Travis Barnes '20 | Bethlehem, PA Major | Computer Science Engineering


Today was the first full day of the Lehigh Silicon Valley program and we were graciously hosted by Adobe. To begin our day, we had the pleasure of having an interactive discussion with three outstanding women working within Adobe. Ann Lewnes, Executive VP and CMO, started off with a talk about her academic background and early career. Throughout her career, she never seemed to question her worth as an employee as she was confident in her ability to provide excellent results. Next was Nadine Elsayed, Marketing and Communications Specialist, who highlighted her journey through Lehigh and into her current career inside of Adobe. She and I share the hometown of Bethlehem, PA and even went to the same high school, and seeing someone from a similar background succeed can be especially inspiring. We finished the discussion with Maria Yap, Vice President of Digital Imaging. Her talk gave me a quote that I haven’t managed to forget, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

This is a bit of an oversimplification of her message, however. Yap was discussing how she formed her current mindset that allows her to take on seemingly impossible tasks without thinking twice. She stated that it started when she had to make the choice to move to D.C. from her home in Florida. Her father advised her to take the chance saying, “What’s the worst thing that could happen? You don’t get the job, so you work at McDonald’s.” This started a trend where in many difficult decisions and situations, she walks herself through the worst outcome, accepts it and goes along to see the real outcome. Such behavior became second nature to the point where she simply goes head on without worrying nearly as much about the worst outcomes.

I’m hoping to adopt a version of this mindset into my own life. I’ve had multiple stressful experiences where I felt held back by my own mind overthinking negative outcomes. Having the ability to analyze a situation, foresee the potential negative outcomes but still pushing forward would be nothing short of development. Within the following days of this program, I plan on exploring this mindset further to help make LSV a much more fulfilling experience.

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