‘I’ve to go back in again tomorrow!’
‘I’m weak, look at how I performed today.’
‘I’m clearly not good enough to be in this place.’
‘I don’t fit in.’
‘This person doesn’t like me and I’m only a distraction to them when they’re trying to focus, that’s all I am there.’
1. Knowing and Owning your own truth.
2. Accepting your humanity and where you are in life.
3. Self compassion and connected to your heart.
4. Stop thinking you’re a charlatan and own your achievements.
5. Reminding yourself of achievements…
Transformation Through Trials
In the Tarot, it’s generally thought that the Death card is the card you don’t want to get. It’s poppycock. Death represents endings and therefore, new beginnings, which isn’t always a bad thing.
The card you DON’T want to get is the Tower. The Tower is the disaster card. It represents a particularly bad situation that could befall you, for example, a close loved-one suddenly dying, losing your house or ending of a relationship.
I draw this association of the Tower with events that transpired over the past few weeks in my professional occupation.
The pain it spurred led to a type of breakdown mixed with depression, and left me sombre and regarding my circumstances soberly.
Weeks passed and eventually I found at its core, my following underlying issues:
- Imposter Syndrome. Fear of being found out and not good enough by others, therefore rejected.
- Social Anxiety. Feeling and belief of being lower than others.
- Low Self-Worth. Others judgement of me particularly influenced this.
- Loss of Identity. Allowing others opinions to flood me so I don’t even know what I think or feel about particular things/topics.
- Low Self-Esteem. One false move and it ‘was all over’ mentality.
- Self judgement. To the point it hampered my productiveness; the blade I hold at my back is no joke.
I’ve caved a few times already over these, and working in a professional capacity throws fuel on a kind of already deadly fire that only burns myself. And I’m not out of the woods yet.
However, I journaled furiously for two hours yesterday to make sense of the how, the what and the why. But my Tower incident highlighted in sharp contrasts what I wanted versus what I didn’t want, and more importantly, pre-existing beliefs about myself and the world that needed a serious reality check.
It took a shitty situation to reassert my self-worth (and maybe listening to a few Brene Brown’s audiobooks!), and to not just lull through my professional career but to figure out where next I wanted to steer my sails.
I’ve realised time and time again, how adulthood (possibly when reaching middle-age) is where the hustle begins to tame and relinquish baseline beliefs that hinder growth.
I know I’ve written a few blog posts already, similar to what’s outlined above, but if nothing else, I’ve found that if you haven’t learned from the past and adjusted accordingly, the same situation will play out again until you do – life’s patient teaching method :).
And the passing of time doesn’t simply mean it goes away. It goes away when you drop your smoking guns, recognise and acknowledge it’s there and don’t turn from it in shame.
I had a similar issue pop up when my step-dad died two years ago and I can’t help but draw comparison here.
For a while, the situation felt hopeless, but I’ve found the kick I got pushed me to raise my standards and open myself to new opportunities and change (nothing like crap circumstances to crave change, believe me).
I left the structured world of immediate reality, and put one foot in the fluid world of possibility, a wilderness that excited me a little. Enough to keep going.
Enough to look at those courses.
Enough to figure out what I wanted to do.
Enough to not push away any option.
I’ve persisted enough at it that I’ve got ideas forming and more options coming to me (amazing how the universe loves to accommodate positive change).
If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that I’m not a settler. I’ve tried, tried so damn hard to be like the people who can stay in a job for more than 3 years (I haven’t). But there is a restless pioneer within me that is always scouting the horizons and when I’ve to pushed it down, I’ve only hurt myself and by god do I owe myself a huge apology for it.
Because it’s in my blood, my innate nature.
And I know now that to go against it is to rebel against your spirit, the invisible fundamental that makes you, you.
And there is no place for peace, until it’s Call is answered.
That’s what this disaster gave me.
What did yours give you?
I’ve noticed that last few months that my sense of self-worth and value has decreased, or at least, has disappeared so much so that I’ve lost touch with myself. With what I know my abilities are and what I’m ‘good at’, not having a job can do that to you.
A good way to boost yourself is to write all your achievements down. In an effort to try and recall and remember what it is that my strengths were, I decided to write some of them down from the past 1-2 years. Here’s a quick shortlist to share:
- Completed a postgraduate qualification that really opened up my mind and helped me realise the various possibilities that I had.
- I finished my book and managed to edit it nearly four times.
- Set up my blog and inspired some readers with my stuff.
- Learned a lot about myself through setting up my own business. What I’m good at, not so good at and what I like doing most.
- Traveled to far distant countries alone and met some great, unforgettable people.
Besides writing down all your achievements, one other interesting thing to consider is how you measure your self-worth? The ‘Looking Glass Self’ was a theory proposed by a university instructor called Charles Cooley, who said that we only develop a self-concept when we know how others see us. This is supposedly where our self-image stems from. Remaining conscious of that, you could also question the various sources that contribute to your self-worth. Does it come from being a loving parent or family member? Is it climbing the corporate ladder or being the top student in your class? Does it come from putting work into your passion?
Identifying sources of your self-worth is a good starting point of taking control of how you value yourself, and perhaps cutting off sources that reduce it such as negative comments from others.
Here’s a radical question, what if breathing as you are right now in this space was enough? As I write this blog post, I’m telling myself I need to be doing something else, something more of value and importance. And I realise this is how I’m hard-wired to think. When was the last time you felt that being in the moment that you’re in right now, even as you read this post and breathing, concentrating, on these words I write, was enough? What if the only way out of a self-defeating process of negative self-worth, was to first dispel what others taught us was of value to them? When I’ve looked back at my own successes, the road to achievement was so much easier and enjoyable when I accepted myself completely, no matter what I was doing. There was no judgement, only an unconditional love for myself. My healthy self-worth was naturally matched with healthy successes.
When I made a decision to leave my job two years ago to go abroad, I never expected all that happened to transpire. I thought I would stay in Australia and get a great marketing job and find someone and settle down; coupled with a nice, secure future. I thought that when things didn’t quite work out that way I would home and go back to working full-time. But I didn’t because I wanted another adventure, and to improve myself more by upskilling and start a business. I wanted to know how far I could push my limits because travelling alone was one of the scariest things that I’d ever done, and I wanted to know what else I could do. I know now that if I’m not being challenged, I’m not growing and I’m bored. That’s something I may never have known if I didn’t take the chance and leave.
At the end of the day, it’s really how you define your own success, and determine your own self-worth. You devise your own measuring stick for weighing your achievements. Don’t use one that was given to you, distorted and patterned with someone else’s perceptions and ideals.
I’m on a course that focuses a lot on teamwork and I have to say I’ve learned quite a bit in the last few weeks on communicating and working with others effectively. It has highlighted a key issue that I’ve been struggling with: patience.
Why is there a real need for patience with other people? Because for a lot of us we don’t have it. It’s a lot easier to interrupt when others are speaking so that we can blow out the tension of thoughts that form in our mind like dark clouds to a storm. We seem to think that what we’re about to say is more valid than what they’re currently saying and therefore, we stop listening. Game over.
The reason it’s game over is because you’ve fallen into a trap that a lot of people fall for when communicating: impatience. Patience and listening requires self discipline and is attained only through practice, and the realisation that people are not what our judgement tells us they are, and may have a better point to make than what we may be pushing to say. What I’m saying is that they are complex creatures like ourselves, and when we realise this we can then begin to be empathetic. But I’m diverging.
Impatience can be applied to other situations but regarding people it normally boils down to frustration or disagreement with what they’re doing.
I’ve found that concentrating on inner calm regardless of the environment in which I’m operating (takes practice!) and giving space and real estate within myself for others to make their impressions and have their voices heard, has been an effective tool.
It’s also made me an attractive team member to work with and I’ve found myself in quite a lot of demand as a result!
Collaborating is tricky business, but an essential ingredient to the betterment of humankind. Think of when perhaps Martin Luther King had to be patient and flexible with others in his campaigning, or Ghandi’s non-violent protests which resulted in the liberation of a country. There is something to be said for allowing others to express themselves, whilst maintaining your own counsel and having enough sense of knowing when to exercise power. I believe that can only be achieved through our more intuitive side. It’s maturity manifested in full circle, and others do pick up on it.
1. The bane of the disorganised people’s existence and yet the solution to a lot of their implementation problems. ‘Oh my god, I need a calendar’.
Do you like my definition? Not exactly Oxford’s standard but makes a lot of sense to me (someone who wishes the calendar fairy would come along and wave her magic wand and banish my procrastinating tendencies away!) Picture the fairy dust just waving it all away…Ahem.
Here we go.
I’ve struggled with not just creating an organised calendar but committing to each of the action items. Some tasks really only take a minute whilst others require more effort, brainpower etc.
What I’ve found it really boils down to is self discipline and accountability. You’re the only person responsible for implementing the tasks that you’ve appointed yourself to do, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. Since I’m looking at setting up my own business as well, I’ve found you need to be very committed to what you set out to do which can be different to when you’re employed, as you may have a boss that will cast the odd look over your shoulder. Just, y’know, giving you the nudge.
For those of you who are like me and struggle to engage in organising and committing to tasks, here are some tips:
- Think about how you will feel after you’ve done the task – you’ll feel good right? Right.
- Each task brings you a little closer to something or somewhere you want to be. Remember it’s the little things you do everyday that will eventually add up to something bigger. Baby steps guys.
- Treat yourself everytime you get a difficult task done. It doesn’t have to be major – it could be that new episode on Netflix you’re dying to watch. (Ahem, Marco Polo).
- If you find that you did skip over particular task, and it’s not time sensitive, push it to another time so you don’t lose sight of it. Try not to repeat too much!
- I spoke to a business owner recently and he told me to pick a day to go over your weekly calendar. My day is Sunday and I usually revise tasks that need to be done for the upcoming week. It gives you an overview of your schedule and how you see your week going (make you feel organised, even it though doesn’t go as planned).
Has anyone else had the issue of sticking to certain action items on a calendar and getting them done? Or even maintaining a calendar week in/week out? As I know from experience that time management is not my forte! Any more tips are welcome :).