The past 18 months I have learnt so much about myself.
The knowledge I hold.
My method of learning.
My way of dealing with challenges.
The way in which my mind jumps from thought to thought.
My skill set.
Where my boundaries lie.
It’s all been about me.
The impact I make in this world, the difference I want to create and how my actions, words and thoughts affect others.
And I am my biggest critic.
I am the first one to doubt myself.
However, I have also noticed a shift. And it’s pretty subtle. And it’s also pretty huge.
That shift when you take action and your gut doesn’t gurgle, and you feel this sense of calm wash over you.
You have solid, back-up reasons why you make certain actions, say certain things and think in a certain way. There is nothing and no one that can take that away from you.
I think it’s confidence. Confidence in myself.
Confidence to speak up when I see something happening that is harmful or hurtful to another. To ask questions when I am unsure, to fight for a way of working that I know works for me, to offer suggestions or options and not be offended when they are rejected in favour of something else.
If there was something I could give my younger self, it would be this gift. But I can’t go back and do that. Unless I was Michael J Fox and it was 1985.
So the next best thing is to pass this onto to those who are just starting out in their career.
My one piece of advise is Just Be Your Self.
Cliche, I know, (insert eye-rolling emoji here).
However. When you are Your Self, you bring your experience to the table. You bring your point of view into the conversation and you learn and grow from this.
And it is ok to make the wrong decision. It is a decision and it keeps you moving forward. Moving forward is so crucial. You can’t move forward if you don’t make decisions.
And is there really such a thing as a bad decision? You learn, you experience and you move forward.
How can that possibly be bad?
Moving forward ensures that you are present, that you are creating your future. When you stand still, when you retreat inside yourself, you freeze and your mind doesn’t know what to concentrate on.
Moving forward means that you are open to new possibilities and opportunities that arise. You become curious about what is around you and what is around you becomes curious about you.
So this confidence comes in handy.
For example, there’s been a few situations of late where I find myself talking, suggesting, answering questions without thinking, what if I say something stupid? What if I say something that’s wrong? Instead, I just say it.
At work in team meetings I am questioning, clarifying, contributing and sharing my knowledge. With friends I am more open and compassionate and a little sassy.
And today this confidence came in handy, although it was also accompanied by fear.
This fear helped me to speak up and to say what I needed to say. I knew that if I held in what I was thinking any longer, then no good would come of it. I had become frozen.
I knew from past experience, that this dis ease would show up in my body somehow.
Well, not somehow, but in the form of eczema.
But not even an itch was to be had, let alone a full on scratch attack.
I had a difficult conversation with a work colleague.
Difficult doesn’t even begin to describe what was had. However, it was also necessary. In order for me to move forward, the conversation needed to be had.
What I learnt about myself was that although I don’t go looking for confrontation, I am not afraid of it.
I learnt that my words have a huge impact.
My actions have a huge impact.
And that although I had my needs met, I also need to be conscious of others needs. But not to the detriment to myself.
And this, my friends, is a work in progress.
There is a delicate balance of my needs vs their needs.
My expectations vs their expectations.
I learnt from this conversation today and I will take these learnings into the next conversation I have, and the next.
If I wasn’t myself in all of these conversations within the past 18months, I wouldn’t be writing this post.
I wouldn’t be doing all the things I am doing right now.
And so my one piece of advice is, Just Be Your Self.