We’ve all done it, said we wanted something better for ourselves determined to make a change and yet we go right back to “comfortable” situations. I put this in quotes because what is comfortable is not always a pleasant situation. Whether it be personal or business, we’ve all been there. So if it is not pleasant, why do we do it? Insecurity, fear – we look at the situation and say, “It’s not great, but I can live with it, at least I know the rules.”
Let me climb on my little soap box and proclaim: That’s just stupid. Now I can climb up here and make that announcement because I was that girl. Was – period. In both my personal and professional life I was that girl. I did not think another firm or person would value me because I did not value myself. I stayed at a job that honestly I hated because I was afraid I would not be able to land another one at the same level within the industry. I was afraid of starting over again and having to prove myself, not sure that I would be able to do so again. But I did not want to get the criticism from my colleagues for leaving such a prestigious firm.
I stayed in a relationship, almost married the guy, because I thought even though I was not happy, it wasn’t that bad. He brought with him a wonderful son who became a part of my life and became a son to me. I realized I was more content as the boy’s step-mom than as the man’s fiancé. But I didn’t want to look like the bad guy and leave the relationship and abandon the child.
Because I did not make these decisions on my own, life stepped in. And even though it was not easy, I am so very thankful that it did. I am blessed that life picked up that 2×4 and gave me a good couple of whacks! It forced me to take actions, and I am not the kind of girl who likes to be forced to do anything which made it a not so pretty journey at times.
The firm I worked for downsized and being the newest manager, I was let go. Devastation. I forced to start over. I took a bit of a different direction before I ultimately realized what I really wanted to do and one day I jumped off the cliff and took a chance. Completely insane! However, I now own my own business utilizing the best of me to help others every day. I love it! Don’t get me wrong, it is scary going from a solid, lucrative paycheck to knowing this week may be a mac-n-cheese week, but it is all me baby! And I have one hell of a business!
The fiancé had an affair. Devastation. But over the next couple of months the nagging feelings I had throughout our relationship then developed into awful in-your-face dark and twisties – like a character written specifically for Criminal Minds, now if only Morgan were here to save me….I was forced to see that I had given so much good to another person but never shared that love with myself. I did not become a man-hater, rather I became much more appreciative of myself and what I want and deserve. I have no met-another-guy-happily-ever-after-ending for this aspect. Nope, what I have is even better: I am at a got-myself-back-and-happier-than-ever-before place.
I meet people who tell me they want a different job, but their actions all discredit their words. They do not attempt to seek other employment. They refuse to consider taking any steps to improve their skills or network with others in the industry to build new connections. Nope, they stay happily miserable in the world in which they live because they are afraid of failure. Afraid they won’t reach the same level of success. When they come to me for help, I kindly tell them that they have to prove it, to themselves and to me that they are ready and then I can help them move forward. A new company is not going to value you if you do not value yourself. Push past the pain, take that first step and don’t look back.
I have a friend that can’t let go of his past, he has been cheated on and hurt and refuses to see any other woman for who she is standing in front of him. (seriously, who hasn’t…) So much so that he keeps going back and forth with crazy-ex-girlfriend. Yeah, you know someone like this – and please don’t tell me you are this guy! Anyway, he met a terrific woman who actually kind of dug him, but he couldn’t get past the “all women are the same” and kept trying to push her away. I hate to tell him but keep pushing and a woman is going to walk away, she doesn’t need to be escorted. Push past the fear instead, take that first step and don’t look back.
I realized that life is going to give you the opportunity to make the hard decisions on your own, but if you fail to act, it is going to force it upon you nonetheless. I would rather have some measure of control and be proactive and potentially fail than to be reactive and potentially be paralyzed by fear. Again, I’m not preaching from Mount High here, I’m just telling a story from the trenches. It has not been an easy journey and it was made worse by not taking the actions I needed to years ago.
If you know you are content in “good enough” then do us all a favor – stop complaining and bringing your woe-is-me baggage to the table. You are happy with where you are, awesome, accept it. But if you truly are not happy with good enough then today take a look around you and see if there is some way, some action no matter how small or better yet how terrifyingly big that you can take to get to the place that you truly want to be. Take that first step, or leap, and don’t look back.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.