As much as I absolutely love to write, it’s been several months since I’ve blogged. I’ve attempted to blog dozens of times since my last post but… you know…. life gets in the way. Plus, if you have ever attempted to write anything, you know that coming up with original content is no small feat. Sometimes it’s simply easier to read an article on Facebook and click “share” than it is to give your opinion on the content you’ve shared. But I digress…
Today I found myself reflecting on the last 2 years of my career. During that time, I was fortunate enough to be presented with several career opportunities (7 to be exact). It’s more activity than I’ve ever gotten in my life in such a short period of time and in such a competitive field. In 4 cases, I made it through multiple presentations and interviews with panels of the people “in charge” only to be told at the end that I was 1 of 2 finalists and they went with the other person. Sigh… The let down each time was devastating, even if I wasn’t really that into the opportunity. Then there are the two positions where I went through the interview process, got the offers but decided to reject the offers. Neither offer felt like the right fit for me and my long term goals. I still wonder why I even went through the motions. A part of me thinks I did it to validate for myself that I could get an offer. It’s sort of an insane way to function, don’t you think? In any case, I realize now that the devastation I felt came from an unhealthy place where anxiety was driving my emotions and affected my ability to clearly see each “opportunity” for what they truly were. I was wearing those rose colored glasses, so to speak. Every email and phone call from a prospective employer was met with glee, followed by worrying about what they thought of me, when or if they would call me for a 2nd or 3rd interview, whether or not they will make an offer… and so on. I was completely consumed by the whole process. This is an example of unhealthy anxiety vs healthy anticipation.
Anxiety – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Anticipation – a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen; the act of preparing for something
These two words bring me to today’s reflective moment. I am once again faced with a couple of career options. One feels more sure than the other and while it’s a great option, it’s not the amazing, life changing opportunity the less sure option could be. Yet, I don’t feel anxious in the same way that I did in 2013 and 2014 when I was faced with my previous career dilemmas. I am experiencing hopefulness and healthy anticipation. Last year I orchestrated, then accepted the 7th opportunity that presented itself which was to stay with my current employer in a new role. You know what? It’s actually not terrible! Ha! It’s not perfect but what is? So I guess what I’ve finally realized is that any choice is the right choice because it’s the choice you’ve made. You have to own it, live with it and artfully spin your decision in a way that produces a net positive outcome. Life is a series of peaks, valleys, and slow crawls. It’s the overall upward trajectory of the quality of your life that is within your control regardless of high the highs feel or how low the lows feel. That’s why you can’t allow yourself to see your situation through the lens on anxiousness which breeds fear of the unknown but rather see your choices through the lens of anticipation which nurtures excitement about the great outcomes any decision you make could have.
I’m not a therapist nor do I pretend to be one. I’m not talking about the clinical definition of anxiety but rather that overwhelming sense of worry we have all experienced regarding things we can’t control. That unrealistic desire to make the perfect choice… That concern that if we make any choice it could be the wrong one. That feeling that immobilizes us… prevents us from moving forward. If you choose to see your world through grateful eyes, you quickly realize that few choices are bad or good. They are just that… Choices. List out the pros and cons of every career move and then just pick one. It’s that simple. In my current situation, I’ve decided to take a leap of faith and hold out for the opportunity that may be life changing and absolutely amazing. It wasn’t an easy decision to come to because it means potentially saying no to a sure thing in anticipation of the unknown. It may not work out the way I anticipate but, in the end, that doesn’t really matter. This whole process has forced me to think of bigger more grand possibilities for my career. I’ve been forced to expand my consciousness and embrace the belief that sometimes, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
It’s new territory for me. I’ll let you know how it all plays out.