I made a choice to take my power back (reference 10.13.15) and for me that meant choosing to leave my job. It did not mean that I failed and it certainly didn’t mean that I threw my hands in the air and forfeit. This concept was one of the most challenging for my mind to accept. At first, I thought everything must be my fault. Why couldn’t I win? What did I do wrong?
Now believe me, I know there were things I could have done differently. That said, it’s taken some time for me to fully digest that the crux of the issue – the driving force that was causing my life to nose dive – was not about me.
When I think about the things that I’ve decided to walk away from, the list is short. After one season of gymnastics at age nine, I said no more. I was very uncomfortable wearing spandex and just didn’t like the way I felt. Ironically, all I want now is clothing that has spandex, for a whole different set of reasons. *sigh* I also dropped my pre-calc class because the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. Other than that, I have pushed through a lot of unpleasant things to reach my goals; challenging bosses, difficult exams, complex relationships, wobbly legs on the Inca Trail…you get the picture.
My general belief is that I can do anything, and if someone thinks I can’t do it, that becomes fuel to prove the contrary. Some may call this being stubborn, but I like to think I’m simply strong willed. Suffice it to say I have a disposition not to quit things when the going gets tough.
When I first took the job, I was steering the boat of my career in a slightly new direction. At the time, I said to myself ‘if it doesn’t work out in the long term or if I don’t like it, that’s ok’. I had to go back to that, back to what success meant to me at that time. And success was learning something new, working under a new set of rules, making new connections and flexing a slightly different skill set. Success was trying change on for size.
I saw the writing on the wall pretty early, given so many of my past experiences. But still I tried, then I tried again with a different approach and when that didn’t work, I went at it some more. I knew I wouldn’t retire at this place, but I still had this desire to ‘win’. And with all this trying, molding and bending in order to win, I lost track of who I was and my confidence meter was going in reverse. Deciding to move on and make a different choice was not quitting. It was adjusting to the new situation. It was accepting that change was not happening in my favor.
There was and is no issue with who I am as a person, or what I am capable of as a professional. I did not quit. I made a choice to say “NO MORE”. I made a choice that I deserved better. I acted on the realization and belief that I could be happier than this and feel differently about getting up on Monday morning. And I didn’t have to (nor could I fathom) waiting another month, quarter or year to make that a reality.
It took a lot of tears and support from my closest friends to push through this feeling of failure and accept that I wasn’t a “quitter”. I know now that I can make these choices perhaps even earlier next time. It’s ok to try things, move on and try other things.
Even through moments of doubt and days where I desperately feel like I need a compass, I still don’t regret it for one fu#^ing second: I took hold of the wheel on my own boat once again. I chose me.
And little by little, my life began to change…