After my divorce in 2010, I promised myself that I would NEVER.SETTLE.AGAIN.
That was a big, bold statement. One that I meant with all my heart, and one that would require sacrifices that I didn’t even know I was capable of making, but today as I walk out my purpose-filled work as a career strategy and confidence coach, I can say that it was all worth it.
This week as I was doing my daily motivational readings on purpose-filled work, I begin to reflect on my journey from a career perspective. Once clear example of refusing to settle came rushing back to my mind and I want to share a little piece of my journey with you.
I was in a career transition and whenever I was transitioning (yes, it happened more than one time!) I would fall back on my administration skills because it’s something I have always been very good at – but it’s also something that has never satisfied me professionally.
The company I was with at that time was a good company and as I typically did, I came in, got right to work and was promoted within 2 months.
I was in charge of coordinating and planning everything from executive board meetings all the way down to troubleshooting IT problems for team members. We were a startup in many ways, which meant I had my hands in just about every single thing that was happening. It was dynamic, ever changing and invigorating and I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, the traditional corporate culture started to invade our small office and things began to become more and more bureaucratic. The less creative outlet there was, the more dis-satisfied I became.
My boss noticed the shift and asked what she could do to help revive my passion. The exact phrase she used was “how can I help you to feel successful”.
We tried some things that were helpful but the bureaucracy of the culture inevitably began to take over and so in my heart of hearts, I knew I it was time to go.
I began thinking about a possible exit strategy and here are some steps that I took to stick to my convictions and begin moving toward my purpose-filled work:
Keep A Cool Head. I have learned that you should never make a decision based on emotions – they are fickle and will fail you, so I checked my emotions at the door and I began to think about what I really wanted to do. My children were small and so I knew I wanted to stay with the company because there were some perks that were really family friendly. So I got out my journal and begin to write out my requirements.
Get Clear On Your Gifts And What Brings You Joy. I knew I wanted to somehow work directly with people but in a training and development capacity. I knew I wanted to build programs and courses. I knew I wanted to be involved in coaching and mentoring. As I thought about all the departments available at the organization, I decided the one that fit the bill most was human resources and so that became my goal.
Prepare For Obstacles In Advance. It’s funny how right after you make a decision, you have an opportunity to test that choice – it’s like the universe wants to see if that is, in fact, a choice you are willing to stick with.
My boss came to me shortly after I made that decision and shared with me that one of her executive level colleagues was looking for an executive assistant and that she could make the introduction for me – oh and by the way, the starting pay was $15,000 more than what I was currently making, they were closer to my home and they were a faith-based business. Side note here – She was a great boss because she told me upfront that she thought I did an amazing job and really wanted me to stay with her but she wanted me to feel successful in work and pay and so she was passing along this opportunity.
For me, in the natural sense it sounded perfect but I knew immediately that I could not take it.
Keep Your Eye on the Long Term Prize. I did not even really have to think about it. In my heart of hearts, I knew that if I got off track now, I wasn’t sure if I would find my way back to work that I had identified as meaningful. I told her that I would pass and I could clearly see that she didn’t understand. She encouraged me to at least go to the interview and see what happened but I stuck to my guns and passed on the opportunity altogether.
A few months later, an opportunity arose to work with the HR team on a community event. I jumped on the chance, made connections and yes, through a series of events that would require a whole other blog, I eventually transferred into that job.
The point is, once I became clear on my goal, turning down “good” opportunities was not really hard. Clarity brings resolve, so keep your eye on the prize! Never settle for good when you can have the best!
I’d love to hear from you!