You Will Figure It Out

Alone in a CrowdFor years I was in Corporate America, and I could never quite get “-ized”.  You know, when you work for the big company and must learn to communicate in their language, act a certain way, understand their acronyms and behave as expected.  I just never quite got the hang of it.


There was one phrase I heard over and over again: “you are a very strong person.”


It was always stated in a thinly concealed manner translating into a bad quality meaning that I should learn to conform.  The hair on my arms would stand up when I would hear that phrase.  I heard it a lot in my personal relationships, too.


Strong willed, independent, driven, motivated, unrelenting, committed, tough, dogged – these are just some of the nicer words that were used.  The way they were implied was that these were bad things.  Shame on me, I should just put my head down, keep my mouth shut and learn to blend.


I don’t blend well.  It isn’t who I am, or how I was reared.


I struggled for years that one quality that defined me as an individual was the one quality that seemed to be hurting me the most professionally and personally.  I struggled with the expectation and desire of everyone else wanting me to change to fit their expectation or being true to myself.


I won.  Finally.


But it took me traveling a strange, tangle path to reach the point where I figured it out.


Long story short the one thing that made me an outcast or un-“ized”-able in my previous positions is what makes me rock in what I do now.  Yes, I just made up the word un-ized-able – whatever.


You see, my strength in being straight forward and communicating what people need to hear rather than what they want to hear is a great asset for my clients.  That doggedness makes sure that they do not give up on themselves, I’m always here, I don’t give up.


There may be a conflict between who you are and what you are doing and I know the internal stress that can cause on a person.  Looking back I realize it wasn’t until just recently that I was meant to discover the connection, the purpose and the value.


I had to go through the torturous activities of failing at being ized-able before I could fully appreciate where I am now and what I have to offer.  While going through that process I learned as much as I could and attempted to see the value in where I was at the time because it would only help me moving forward.


I learned finance, management and communication skills from some of the most amazing people.

I learned how not to talk to people and how not to manage.

I learned how to appreciate individual contributors, at every level.

I learned how to analyze and trust my gut.

I learned how to play nice with the big boys and bite my tongue without severing it.

I learned people have different motivations for greatness, and understanding them greatly benefits everyone involved.

I learned that doing the right thing is not always the popular thing.

I learned to apologize and mean it.

I learned to ask questions and not be afraid for my lack of knowledge.

I learned that kindness translates to every level of an organization from the CEO to the mail clerk.

I learned that everyone has dreams, goals and inspirations and none of them are trivial.

I learned we have more in common than we do in opposition, finding the common ground is key.

I learned not everyone cares about what they do as much as you do, and that is ok.

I learned not everyone thinks, learns or performs duties the same way; it doesn’t mean it is wrong.

I learned I always have more to learn.


You may not be where you are supposed to be – yet.  But look at it as an opportunity to learn other lessons important for your growth, development and journey.  There is something positive about what you are doing, what is it?  How are you adding value right now?


And that one thing that gives you the greatest conflict – you will figure it out.  Once the other lessons are learned it will all make sense.  In the meantime, what can you learn right now?



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW




What Becomes Comfortable

sleepytimeMy dogs snore.  Each and every one, in a different register, at varying volumes and accompanying noises.  This isn’t just a cute little puppy snore like you have seen videoed and posted on Facebook.  On no, this is all out, wake themselves up, complete with yips, yaps, convulsions and seriously thinking if there is a testing for dog sleep apnea snoring. 

Times four. 

I was married, we were together for 10 years and that man snored so loud that it could wake the dead.  Even the subtle occasional elbow or foot jostle didn’t help.  But I got used to it.  

I also grew up near train tracks.  The trains would run in the middle of the night – I never knew this until my grandmother stayed the night and asked how we could sleep through all that train ruckus.  I got used to it. 

The only way I can sleep through the dog snoring is if I fall asleep first.  Last night they all fell asleep before I did and it was a long, noisy night.  

That’s when today’s blog hit me.  How we can become comfortable with certain things.  I guess I am used to falling asleep before the dogs and didn’t realize just how loud they are – oh, and they fart while they sleep.  Bonus. 

When we get comfortable in our job we get comfortable in what we do and take for granted what it is that we really do, the value we bring to the table.  That is why it is so difficult when talking to others explaining what we do.  

We have gotten so used to it that we don’t even think about it anymore.  

Time to wake up. 

Even if you are not preparing to look for another job it is a good idea to stop in midday and evaluate what it is that we are doing.  Think back to how you got to where you are now.  What skills did you master to take that next step. 

Who do you serve – is it clients, teammates, a department or division?  How do you serve them?  What tasks do you do that add value to others?  

How do you perform those tasks?  What skills are needed in order to perform those tasks well?  How did you learn them, how do you improve them and what have you done to get better at what you do? 

What do you enjoy doing?  Why do you enjoy it?  What does it involve?  Who does it involve?  What are the outcomes that you have contributed to? 

These are all great questions to ask yourself when thinking about looking for a new job but they are also great to help you rediscover the great aspects of you as a contributor.  This in turn will give you a sense of gratitude for where you are and what you are doing now.  

These questions will help shed fresh light on your current job from a positive perspective and bring back some of the joy that you may have become comfortable with and get you excited about your job again. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to fall in love with your job again and bring that sense of purpose, excitement and enthusiasm back into your every day?   

Bring back the gratitude and joy and leave the comfortable for snoring dogs. 


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW