Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When you realise you're not as awesome as you thought you were

 I know these are only fit for the beach but they're SOOOO comfortable. Zoom sandals - R99 at Canal Walk a million years ago (I think 10 year or more)
I'm not quite sure if this is "normal" behaviour but I do know that as children we generally have lots more confidence than teenagers and then again, as adults.

Before the world starts telling us we can't.

So when I was a child I always thought I would be kind-of famous .... and then life happens and you realise okay, that's not going to happen but why not CEO, right?

And then you work and work and progress through the organisation ... and think "the world awaits" and the sky is my limit.

Well, that was me anyway.

Something happened along the way.

I do think infertility and the babies affected me in that I got a bit sidetracked there for a few years but I honest to goodness thought that once I had babies I'd slip back into my ambitious self and be awesome again.

And while my focus and priorities have shifted somewhat, mostly because of logistics, I still really like to work and feel accomplished in a somewhat more controlled environment (!) than being with the babies.

I'm not saying you can't feel a sense of accomplishment taking care of kids; I just know that MY personality is not suited for that particular job. I enjoy my kids far more with "breathing space" and I know I'm a better mother because of that too.

But really, I honestly feel like for the last 6 years, not much of my awesomeness has been seen. There have been bits here and there but I feel like I had all this potential and it's wasted.

And then a meeting happened which, quite honestly, threw me.

My particular personality style leans towards action and results. I always thought these were good traits especially in the working world but in this meeting, those things were the "challenges I have to overcome".

Can you see how this would throw me?

I'm not being dramatic (I hope) but I was thinking, if this is not part of my awesomeness, then what on earth am I doing?

To be fair, the HR person did say that I was fine/ good/ competent as is in these current roles but for future career growth, I'd have to slow down and think deeper/ longer/ more carefully. Improve those parts of my brain. Magically transform into a more strategic thinker.

Other than the blow to my self-esteem, I really thought he coached me really well in the session and I wrote a whole page of notes after I changed my self-talk to "what can I learn from this?" instead of the "oh my word, they hate me" business :)

There's something else - we were using an old assessment I'd done 4.5 years ago which I feel boxed me in and also I've actively worked on some of the things which has made me more effective in my role so it's not 100% accurate right now.

(I since decided that if I apply for any roles, I'll just say "I need to have one done" instead of saying "yes, I've had that assessment done")

So here's the thing.

I honestly don't think a lot of this can be learnt. Yes, it can improve with practice but it's never going to be a core strength of mine and that's where all this is going -

what if I'm doomed to work in these sorts of positions for the next 22 years?

Do you think like this? Where will I be in  5, 10 years? In a "if nothing changes, I'm still likely to be doing the same type of thing" way...

I don't think this is just me, by the way. I see the young whippersnappers come into the organisation at all of 22 years old and think they're going to take over the world. (I feel for them - that was me!)

And then corporate or life, really, beats that ambition out of you.

Of course there are some young whippersnappers who do just fly up through the ranks. Somehow they have the magic combination of great people skills, being very visible and marketing themselves well,  with a side that's not scared of taking risks all the time. And sometimes they're even really competent!

One more thing - as far as women are concerned, I've only ever seen these hotshots be single females though...

What about you? What has your experience been?

Do you feel you're living up to your potential?

PS by the way, is R550 reasonable for a laptop bag with wheels? It is very nice but you know how I feel about boring black... ack!
Posted by Picasa


  1. Living up to potential - NO and it makes me very very very sad but I'm working to change that because I don't want to look back in a few years time and wish I had done things differently. So I do kind of understand how you are feeling.

    Depending on the bag, R550 is very reasonable for a laptop bag with wheels, they usually cost double sometimes triple that price in this country of ours

  2. This work thing is really bothering you. I will pray that you get peace in your heart, in order to realise how to progress in the way you feel you want to.
    Living up to my potential - I had a very hard and weird life as a child / teenager and never in my life, I thought I would come so far as I have. So in a way I do feel that I'm living up to my potential. But ... these days I do long for other things and I think that's way I am now looking into doing courses and changing my career path.

  3. Gee my friend, I can write a whole dabate about this but let's just lift out two things.

    Life is different after kids and I think one's focus does change. A client once said to me I did not change one bit after the Princess in my work, but I did after the twins and she feels I am a bit more of a "human" due to it.Which I gues for some poeple can be an issue - depending on the environment one works in.For others it means they can see the human side of you. It has also made me a much more understanding boss without a sliver of a doubt.

    However the action vs thoughtful planning (I assume) I guess is more related to the specific role. I had to take that exact leap at a stage moving from a "producer" of drawings to a fascilitator (if you wish to call it that) - making the decisions to action the production but channeling the action. It is a mind shift. Totally. But you CAN do it and it is not as if your talent for action is lost there, it is a redefinition of that. Not sure if this helps at all - but someone once as I was struggling with this called it the "management shift of mindset". (Maybe I am getting this all wrong?)

    Anyways, laptop bag price is very reasonable.

  4. Sorry my friend - wrote an essay in any event. Phone me if you need to chat

  5. OMw cannot believe how similar my thoughts have been recently.
    I think it's because I'm at a major crossroads again, and can't figure out which way to go.

  6. Mmmm....you’ve not been OK since that EQ thing earlier this year. Actually, I don’t think that you’ve been completely OK since your old boss left. Am I missing it?

    One of the reasons that I LOATHE corporate (besides the politics and ugliness) is because of the way they box you and assume that they know what is best for you – really, there is very little difference (for me) between corporate and school. Boxes. Boxes. Boxes. I feel that it’s bad enough that my personal life is challenging, but to have that AND then be boxed for 40 hours every week? Not so much. I want to cry at the thought of this going on for another 2 months, let alone 22 years.
    So no, for various reasons, I am not living up to my potential. And the factors in my personal life don’t make this easier either. I’m working on it but there are a number of “it is impossible, you are not worthy” voices in my head that I’m trying to keep at bay.
    And yes, I STILL think that you are awesome, even if your employer doesn’t. Honestly? They do NOT deserve you and you ABSOLUTELY deserve better. You and I both know that you have been created in the image of something BIGGER than all the awesomeness EVER!
    I really wish I could do something to help you with this.
    I will pray that you find the peace that you need about this.


  7. I don't see a problem with being action and results orientated at all. In my feedback sessions I got a raw deal about it too, like it's some sort of flaw. You know what Marcia, I really don't think it is a flaw - so I'm keeping it. I can scheme and manouvre with the best of them if I need to, put at some point someone has to roll up their sleeves and get the bloody work done or all the dreaming won't help one little bit?

    I think you can do whatever you set your mind to. Don't accept the labels other people want to stick on you if you don't agree with them.

  8. I think by now you know my feelings on big corporate - they suck the life out of you. I am watching it happen to a close friend - her self esteem is destroyed. Makes me angry!

    Am I living up to my potential? Probably not but I am happy :) Seriously though it is something I have recently become aware of - I fear success! Long story - maybe we need to go for coffee or something - I suspect you may understand it.

  9. In a way, I am not living up to my potential at work. I feel like I could do more. I have felt squished and frustrated. However, the last few years have been an incredible growing experience in dealing with pride- and entitlement. I think that God has taught me a lot about not seeking happiness in achievement, and not thinking that my abilities are what make me worthwhile and, frankly, learning a bit of humility. Okay a lot of humility. It hasn't been easy, but it's certainly been good.

  10. Marcia, you know I've been thinking about this post since you wrote it. I wanted to respond in a certain, thoughtful way. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to comment, and I can't promise that what I'm about to type can fully convey my thoughts, but here 'goes...

    I have so, so much respect for you. Of course I don't see you on a daily basis, we don't work together, we're not neighbors, but I feel like I see a lot of your thought processes through your blog. (And of course we spent two beautiful days together this summer!!!)

    I know you are very goal-oriented, very get-the-job-done, and I think that is a huge part of your awesomeness. I used to say at work, "Get it done, and get it done right," and I know that's a big strength of yours.

    But...IN ADDITION to that...

    I think you are so talented with how you process things. You have what I think is a very unique ability to ask the right questions and make people think.

    You ARE awesome.

    As you've been talking about your job situation for the past year or so, my gut has been -- as I've said (hoping I'm not overstepping my bounds here, with the limited information I have) -- that your awesomeness is not being fully exercised with your current position.

    I sense that you have been questioning that, too, for a long time. I am so thankful you are open to conversations at different companies, that you are thinking about this, too.

    I'll stop here and try to summarize...you ARE awesome. Please, please don't doubt that. That's not to say we don't all have room for growth, but you also have to be in the right environment to realize your potential.

    I hope this is coherent, and I hope I'm not overstepping. Many hugs to you, my fantastic friend. :) :)

  11. I don't have any advice on the work stuff- I haven't had a job in years and years and it was never anything like what you do. But I do know that you are awesome, regardless of what you're thinking right now. I don't know what it's like to try to climb the corporate ladder while being a wife and mom, and frankly, I know I couldn't do it. So that alone makes you pretty damn awesome. Coupled with the fact that you're a good mom and wife, and you still manage to cook and read and craft and blog and coach- everything else- well you're downright amazing. It's really inspiring to see all that you manage to do- and the thought of me trying to do the same is super overwhelming!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails