…Life is hard.
Sometimes we make decisions that dramatically impede our quest towards fulfillment and happiness when we believe that those decisions are the linchpins that will lead us there.
I have spent a considerable amount of time weighing risk in my personal life… “What is the risk of staying in this relationship?…for a year longer? A day longer?”… “What is the risk of accepting this new job opportunity?” …”What is the risk of staying in this job any longer?”… “What is the risk of caving to peer pressure?” (Which has resulted pleasantly into being 32 and having *never* even tried an elicit drug. None of them – not even those that I think should be legislated to be legal) … “Medically – what is the risk of doing this to my body? What are the outcomes and what are the percentages that things will be favorable for me?” and then determining potential outcomes and whether or not the risk is giving me a large enough margin for success.
I am an incessant planner. I plan everything. I feel comfort in having things planned out on the calendar. I plot out our finances generally about 6 months at a time and make decisions from there… that gives me an odd sense of control and comfort; I feel like I can control those things so it subsequently makes me feel in control.
However, as it pertains to the future – my career – things related to the kids – there are so many variables that are wildly outside of my control. No, this is not to say that I am a control freak, because I don’t believe that I am one of “those”… I do think that my need for “control” lies in “What is the plan?”. If my spouse or work colleague or what-have-you has a plan related to how they imagine this thing plays out then that is good for me… if its left up to interpretation… like que sera sera style…….I can’t deal. I need structure and a plan – even if that plan might not work out – I need the plan to exist in its simplest form.
Which brings me to today. I have resisted going for things consistently in my adult life out of fear of rejection or failure. I consistently do not pursue things out of fear and today that feels all too real to me… I often flounder immediately following a “failure”… and a failure can be simply finding out something profound that was the opposite of what you had hoped. In example, I pursued an opportunity that was graciously offered to me and supported by my current division to try something out before accepting it. I realized all too quickly that under no circumstances was I working a 16+ hour work day. I met some incredibly fun, enjoyable, personalities on the respective teams that made my workday less painful – but I could not sacrifice the things I had worked so hard to build.
1. Proper eating habits. (I was 100lbs overweight once. I have battled back from obesity and thyroid disease; nothing is going to put me back in that place.)
2. Exercise. (I was tired and every part of my body hurt from sitting in a non-ergonomic meeting room chair after a spinal injury in 2009 changed everything – you might think its ‘prissy’ but have a spinal injury and then sit in a chair that isn’t designed to be sat in for 16 straight hours and then talk to me when every part of your body is throbbing and you can feel your heartbeat in places where you shouldn’t feel your heartbeat…).
3. Education. (I am a lifelong learner and even though sometimes I think I am an idiot for the student loans – nevertheless I persist. I want the letters behind my name – I want to be the young mom/wife who defied the odds and didn’t become a statistic, so I continue. I am a good student, with an excellent GPA, and I am not letting anything except a family crisis interrupt that).
Sometimes it is completely OK to say – Thank you… but this is not right for me. It is OK to stand up for yourself and respectfully (key word) challenge the status quo. Women need to hear this, especially. You are not required to simply ‘fall in line’. Be grateful for opportunities, but do not feel as though you must professionally conform if it does not suit you. You can respectfully thank someone for their time, be sad it didn’t work out, but be OK with admitting that even though this worked out for other people – it does not work out for you. <— this part… I struggle with… If other people do the thing just fine, why can’t I do ‘the thing’? In my heart it feels like it means I am a failure, I am less-than, everyone else is better, I am the odd-man-out. But – maybe it just means that I am the one with different priorities?
Things I am grateful for…
- A division that prioritizes training above all else.
- Leadership teams that get me the help/training I need if I feel as though I am lacking in it.
- Boss, husband, friends, family who remind you that you are not a failure and that sometimes things just don’t work out and it has nothing to do with your abilities or who you are as a person. Its like a puzzle and we are all pieces that don’t fit into all puzzles.
So, I took a risk and “failed” so to speak… Chose that this was absolutely not the right move for me; leaves you feeling like a rudderless boat – without direction. Sadly, it also makes you feel as though you shouldn’t take risks, that the scary jumps you’ve taken haven’t been worth it and that maybe you should go back to playing it safe. I tend to play it safe. I need to accept that sometimes I will take risks and that they don’t live up to my hopes and dreams and that I simply need to change course – as opposed to letting it turn into a catastrophic, personal, existential crises.
I realize that I write all of this – it sounds great on paper – but that I likely won’t take the advice just yet. We grow and we learn but sometimes old habits die hard. Always grow – always learn… even if the risks lead to “failure” – you learn something from each of them; focus on the thing you learn.