So, the day after I made like a hippopotamus and wallowed has come and gone. Today it was about getting back on the metaphorical horse which saw me ultimately back at my desk and plowing through more work than I’d done in a while (coz you know, shitty headspace and all that). What has been most surprising this past couple of days is how situations such as this bring people you didn’t even know well out of the woodwork to check in and see if you’re ok. That has actually been a beautiful thing. And gratefully received.
As I was getting ready for work this morning and putting on my make up, I declared that today was officially #NoMascaraThursday. I knew I wouldn’t get through the day without tears so preventative action was required. And in making this realisation that there were sure to be tears, I knew that I bloody well didn’t need tears AND a clown face in the aftermath. So #NoMascaraThursday it was. And just like that, I was prepared to face the day.
Well, my caution and clearly brilliant pre-emptive wisdom paid off because there were waterworks this morning. Not the snot inducing, ugly crying of yesterday, just the welling of eyes and a few sniffs in the initial instance – an improvement nonetheless. The first few were shed after an unexpected approach by two colleagues. It was so unexpected and lovely, I was taken aback and a little overwhelmed. The second few came during my phone session with the psychologist of the workplace wellbeing program I am currently participating in. It was carthartic and gave me another perspective to consider. Wanna hear it?
Let me explain. The psychologist, let’s call her Sue, for that is her name, asked me how I felt about all the changes that were happening and I responded that I actually love it. I have been advocating for this change since I started in my role and I believed then and still do now that it makes sense.
Sue then asked me to articulate one of my goals and of course I spoke of wanting to write and how I wanted to focus on finishing my draft manuscript by Christmas. And then after some further conversation she challenged me to consider that perhaps this situation was designed to provide me space to do just that.
What the what now??
She suggested that whilst I might not have been aware and my intent would not have even been known back when I was first suggesting my views on change, that maybe between the restructure, and perhaps even as far as how I responded in the interview, the path that had lead me to the now has actually been a part of a different design that I was not aware of… until now.
Hmmm, interesting. You have my attention.
We continued talking and it actually started to consolidate some of my own thinking. Had I ‘won’, the commitment would have been intense. The workload significant and my own personal and family goals would have definitely had to sit on a back burner for a while. The challenge was unquestionably a big one. But my pride was not willing to sit back so of course it had to go for it and head down this course. We now know the outcome but if I was to be really really honest (and suck up my pride for 2 seconds) I am actually a little relieved. Far out, did I just say that out loud? It’s true though. I would have enjoyed the challenge and believe I would have done a good job, but at what cost? My dreams? The plans we have for our family?
But I didn’t win, so that big challenge that I was vying for? Well, it is not my problem. I’ll say that again. It is actually not my problem. In that one conversation, where tears were definitely shed and which made me so grateful for the brilliance that is #NoMascaraThursday, I actually gained some clarity and a much better way of viewing things which has finally allowed me to see the silver lining.
I actually have the opportunity to redefine who I am. Previously a huge part of who I am and my sense of self has largely been embedded in my job. In having influence, in being perceived to be at a certain level and in having the opportunity for leadership. But I can actually rewrite how I see myself. What my sense of self is made up of. If I can work on redefining myself as a writer, an author even, then that could be the motivation to get past the humiliation and hurt that I have been drowning in. That I am still drowning in.
The cynical part of me scoffs at the notion, writing it off as a convenient rational to justify being a failure. But I actually feel like there’s something in it. That is wondering if she’s right. Fearless in 2015. This has been brewing for a while, right? One of the biggest things that resonated in reading Lisa Messenger’s book, Daring and Disruptive, is the notion of trusting your gut instinct. I’m all gut instinct. I always have been, I just haven’t been listening! What if the risk that I keep thinking I have to take in order to receive the payoff isn’t actually about leaving the organisation but more about recreating a new sense of self that will allow me to compartmentalise my job (still doing it well) and chase down my dreams?
That my friends is an exciting possibility. Oh, how far we have come in less than 24 hours.
What is your process for planning a future after a big set back? Do you look for the silver lining?