Without exception, I’m certain if you are reading this article now, you have experienced a time when you didn’t want to be where you were. Or, didn’t feel as if you could bring yourself to show up or that you couldn’t imagine one more day doing what you were going to do. This applies to both work and life scenarios, and both provide built-in opportunities to encourage you to hang in there. Sometimes for other people who are depending on you to do so.
We all have days, or sometimes longer periods of time when we are either re-evaluating our decisions or confused by them. Sometimes when we are in professional or personal scenarios that don’t appear to be in our favor, we question how did we end up here? You may not be able to pinpoint the time when your situation began to go in a different direction, as sometimes there is a subtle shift which makes it difficult to recognize. However, at some point you do realize that you are no longer where you want to be personally or professionally. This can either be cause for concern, or a wakeup call that you need to be doing something different.
Professionally I am always impressed by people who have what I’ll refer to as stamina. Stamina which seemingly allows them to remain in careers or on team’s which don’t outwardly appear to be working for them. Perhaps it is easier for others to see this, or potentially the person themselves is hitting the “ignore” button. Or, realistically, they may not feel as if they have a choice. Feeling like you don’t have a choice is a difficult place to be, and I’ve been there.
I remember the first time I wanted to quit a sports team I was on. My reasons for quitting had nothing to do with the other people on the team. I wanted to leave the team because I didn’t think I was able to significantly contribute to it based on my skills at that point in time. I was new to the sport, and it felt like everyone else was miles ahead of me.
On the day when I had made up my mind to leave the team, a funny thing happened. It was on this day that my coach approached me and told me he was really impressed with how hard I had been working to improve my skills on the field. For reference, the sport was soccer. I was shocked to hear him tell me this, as I internally was thinking I wasn’t progressing, and was dragging the team down. Hearing this changed my decision to remain on the team, and it made me work even harder so I could contribute and add more value to the team.
The lesson I learned from hearing just one dose of positive encouragement changed how I began looking at other choices I would later be confronting. Namely when I was working in corporate America. The industry I ventured into wasn’t my first choice to pursue, and I have often regretted having made the choice to remain in it for as long as I did. Although I was very skilled at what I did professionally, I always felt a bit like a fraud. Mainly due to the fact I felt like I had to outwardly appear as if I was passionate about the work I was doing, while in reality, I felt like my soul was slowly being chipped away at on a daily basis. When I finally reached a point when I could no longer tolerate this feeling, I made the decision not to quit, but to change the trajectory of where I was heading. It was one of the best decisions I have made in decades.
Making the decision to pivot and change the trajectory of where I was going to take my professional skills didn’t happen overnight. I also took the time to realize and appreciate that had I not endured decades of doing something well that I didn’t enjoy, there were aspects of what I did that I loved. What I realized I loved doing was developing people, and the team’s I was responsible for leading. Although developing others wasn’t always in the job description for my roles, being responsible for leading others was, and I took this very seriously.
As I began to transition into my new career, I was aware of the fact there were going to be people who didn’t agree with what I would be doing. Knowing this fueled my desire to succeed, and to demonstrate I could in fact also be successful going in a completely different direction. One that I felt was in much better alignment with my innate skills. Skills which I could finally leverage daily, and which allowed me to shine, and simultaneously help others to do too.
One unexpected yet hopeful outcome from my career transition, is I have found there is nothing better or more motivating than hearing from someone that they are happy I chose to pursue the type of work I am doing now. I’m also able to admit that I am finally proud of the work I have embraced pursuing.
Thinking back to the day I almost quit the soccer team I was on, but had my mind changed by a single comment from my coach, I realized the parallel comparison in that experience with the one I am professionally having now. The best part is I can authentically share with you that I am thrilled to show up to work every day, and that I am driven to become even more skilled and better at what I do. The best part for me personally in stating this, is that my top goal is in strong alignment with my top talent (e.g., Positivity). It’s because of this realized and applied alignment, that I have been able to focus and channel this talent towards having a widespread positive impact on others professionally. Yet, I couldn’t have imagined being able to do this just a decade ago.
If you are in a situation where you need some inspiration to keep pursuing what you are doing professionally, or potentially consider other options, below are some suggestions I have to offer.
- Independent of what you have heard or think, you always have options. You might need support from a friend, mentor, or trusted advisor to help you to recognize what they are, so make sure you explore them.
- There is no such thing as perfection. For those who are in constant pursuit of this, they will more often than not be disappointed themselves and by others until they realize that sometimes it is the imperfections in any given scenario that can make a job, team you are on an acceptable option for a short-term time period.
- Often the most difficult challenges we will encounter are going to be the ones which will allow us to grow and progress towards the next level of where we want to be. Take time to gain perspective on which challenges you have encountered and grown from, and which ones you may be avoiding, or do not have access to experiencing yet, and which not having them, will prevent you from future growth.
- Sure, everyone would love to have more stress-free days professionally or personally, but as the saying goes “we can’t appreciate the sunny days as much without the dreary and rainy days”. Experiencing less stress can generally be helpful, but at the same time, consider that a small amount of it can also fuel you to remain in pursuit and achievement of your goals.
- There is another saying, “half the battle is just showing up.” Sometimes this is perfectly true, and often, the situation you are dreading going into, is much less dreadful than you make it out to be in your mind. Keep this in perspective.
- If you find yourself in a professional situation or on a work or sports team that you don’t want to be on, please spare the others from your negative emotions and verbal statements about not wanting to be there. No one wants to hear this, and the more they do, the more it will have an adverse impact on both of you, those that you work with, lead, or interact with.
Some people appear to be more dramatic than others in terms of expressing their negative sentiments. Remember to leave the drama up to the professionals in the theatre profession, as this will serve everyone much better, and no one wants to be around a drama queen or king.
TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Business #Sports #Sportscoach #Motivation #Communication #Teamdynamics #Management #Organizationalbehavior #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #dontquit #Perseverance