2021 has been one of the most challenging years I have encountered thus far in my life. Over the past two months I have been able to reflect on what truly matters to me and I have reconnected with who I am.
I care about my work a lot and I want to produce high quality work. I am extremely hard on myself for the slightest of errors and for ages I have compared my abilities, intelligence against my brilliant colleagues and comparing yourself to others is a horrible idea.
I am not competitive and I am happiest working alone and quietly behind the scenes. I can tackle any one on one conversations and can cold call whomever to discuss just about anything, even those awkward hard conversations. I am patient, calm and kind in my dealings with clients. I can diffuse just about anyone who is ready to explode. I am a whiz at active listening while trying to troubleshoot and provide a solution when possible.
It is necessary and expected in meetings to participate, but I struggle when speaking publicly & presenting; I suffer from horrible stage fright and I sometimes psyche myself out so badly my words come out jumbled. At meetings, when I do have something to say, I feel as though I am playing double Dutch skipping rope and waiting for the free moment I can jump in. It is daunting for an introvert such as myself.
Public speaking is something I need to work on and better prepare for, ask me a question off the cuff which catches me off guard and it is an explosion of nonsensical word vomit. Being able to express my ideas and suggestions verbally in an effective, comprehensive, respectful way is a goal for 2022.
I lack confidence. Friends, colleagues and family are perplexed as to why my confidence is so low. My husband doesn’t understand it all. I don’t understand it myself. I know I am capable of doing just about anything I put my mind to, so I am confident in this regard. My lack of confidence stems from believing others think I am a bumbling idiot which transpires into a self fulfilling prophecy. I know I am not, but I perceive others to believe this. Does that make any sense? What a conundrum! If there is a course on how to become confident, please sign me up. I want to have the confidence of a Kardashian, but I do not want to sound like one of them! Oh the irony!
I want to detach more from this material world. I want to live more simply. I want to grow in my current role at work and gain a level of knowledge and expertise as to where I was in my previous role, but as of present, I am not thinking about moving up the ladder beyond where I am. Growing your career can be like taking on a second spouse with added children to care for. You go to bed with your husband and your second spouse every night. Sometimes the second spouse complicates things and takes priority. I see how hard others work, I see how it effects them, and I want to work to live, not live to work. This is me.
However, if your goals are to become a VP or CEO, this is wonderful as we need people in these leadership roles, but do note, it won’t be the same as the position which allows you to clock out at 5pm and leave your laptop off for the night, and check your emails in the morning. It won’t be like that even for a manager or director. You are always on. Being in a leadership role of this magnitude requires a lot of you. People in these roles are working beyond hard for those extra dollar bills, in addition to the satisfaction of developing big picture plans, contributing to complex strategies and leading others. Very satisfying for many, but not for me.
I have recently learnt it is absolutely necessary to look after yourself and apply self care to your daily life. I believe self care looks different for each one of us, but for me it includes daily exercise, eating healthy, 7-8 hours of sleep daily, meditation in the mornings, prayer, and respecting and upholding my own set boundaries. We all set boundaries, but sticking to them can be a challenge. Taking time to care for yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself and it impacts everyone around you.
In a nutshell, I have learnt I am not as ambitious as I thought I might be, I want to live more simply with less materials and less worries. My family is my number one priority and how I want to express this is through spending more quality time with those I love. It isn’t about being able to financially provide more, or live in a larger home filled with modern replaceable goods. I want to have time right now for road trips, long hikes, flaking out with my husband, spending time with my parents and just doing what I want to do.
I have seen friends and family who have put living on hold to grow companies, build careers, wait for retirement, raise families and what not and then died before or shortly after. Morbid yet true.
Life is meant to be enjoyed today, and today may be all we have. So, once this ridiculous pandemic is over, go on that international trip, check off some bucket list items, change your career if this is what you want, just do it, as life will go on with or without you. Don’t wait until everything is settled as there will always be something to delay pursuing your dream. Carpe Diem!
Peace & Love – Rachel