I sat on the floor of my darkened bedroom with the last moments of November light trickling away. I was talking on the phone with my best friend about leaving my job.
This friend knew just how much I loved my job, so she knew something had gone awry.
"Maybe someone else can do a better job than me," I confided to her. I didn't feel like I was living up to a standard of a specific critic, I was a new mother, and I was having some personal challenges with a loved one who was addicted to prescription medication (this flipped my life upside down).
My close friend, who also happened to be my business mentor, listened closely. Then she spoke. "Julie, you are operating at 90 percent, do you really think that they will find someone who will operate at 95 percent?" she said. "Why are you so willing to give up?"
It was a dark moment in my life and two nights of insomnia had just added to my despair. Her vote of confidence -- and her willingness to confront -- were just enough fuel to ignite me out of my somber haze.
I had to agree with her. I knew deep inside I was capable and worthy. I realized at that moment I had a choice. I could allow myself to be intimidated by the critic in my life and circumstances beyond my control, or I could stand up and not allow myself to be corporate roadkill.
Many of us, especially women, do a number on ourselves in the workplace. WOW! Even some of the most amazing women I know are often way-to-willing to look through the 'I am not worthy lens.' This can happen when we get knocked down in a professional setting or just by our own high expectations.
I have two words, GET UP! You are amazing, wonderful, full of potential and have so much to offer the world. GIRL, GET UP!
Today I was speaking to a young woman I adore, Alexa. She will be a fabulous leader one day. She is bright, competent, dedicated. She has a keen mind and wants to make a huge difference in decreasing conflict amongst warring nations. She shared how a recent boss would publicly mock her in front of other people and how she would often just break down crying.
- Write down two lessons learned from the situation you are facing. Take this perspective though: I am in charge of my life and feelings, I am not the victim.
- Write down three action items you will take to better your situation. Remember the only difference between stress and pressure is that stress occurs when you don't have a plan. Alexa will now tell her bosses that she is worthy and would like to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Take your professional role seriously, but learn to laugh at yourself. Be great but let go of the need to be 'perfect.'
- And if you make a mistake somewhere, apologize for the action taken, not for the person you are.
Julie Kantor writes weekly on job search and careers including corporate culture. She is co-founder of a an innovative Startup called Barrel of Jobs that incentivizes people helping their friends get jobs.