Lessons Learned from 2014 – Finding Myself Again?
I went to Marshalls several weeks ago and found this shirt that read, “When Nothing Goes Right Go Left.” I chuckled at the sentence, but yet in its simplicity it was so profound. 2014 was a year of ebbs and flows, disappointments, hope restored and then lost, rejections and not as a great of year as I would’ve liked for my business.
I found my confidence tested in the midst of a challenging job market. If I had a dollar for every recruiter or hiring manager who used the same line over and over again, “you were a great candidate, but….” and you can fill in the blank. There were days when I was motivated to push through what seemed like an endless series of closed doors and there were other days where I just went through the motions, feeling like a failure in my professional life.
I missed great opportunities as I held out for opportunities that seemed to be more promising (only to have nothing manifest from the latter). I found myself going into hiding in some ways because I didn’t want to have to answer the dreaded question so what do you do? In my mind, I’m like well do I tell the truth, “I’m an unemployed marketing professional with years of experience and an MBA and I can’t find work and I’m a business owner, but I’m not brining enough money to stay afloat.” During those moments, I felt inadequate, and as time went on I found myself less motivated and I became a semi-shadow of the confident woman I used to be.
Through my coaching practice, I had the opportunity to speak on several panels and to lead training sessions for women in the U.S. and abroad. While I was honored to take part in these speaking opportunities, a part of me felt like a fraud. I sat on panels along side other professional women, yet I felt out of place. From my perspective they were so accomplished and seemed to have it all together (a lie no one has it all together, we are all works in progress), while I felt like I was starting all over again, trying to regain my footing.
For some reason things recently changed, I found myself in a process of finding and redefining me. I didn’t have an “aha” moment, but for some reason as the New Year approached, I just made a decision in my spirit that I’m not going to allow myself to live the new year with last year’s baggage and disappointments.
So as I continue to focus on things I want to do differently this year, I still reflect on the past year, and I wanted to share a few of the key lessons I’ve learned:
1) Faking it until you make it is not a lie.
I learned this from a dear friend, I tend to be overly honest (not in dealing with others) but in how I describe myself. While I had opportunities to teach and train both in country and out of country, I was not necessarily getting paid a whole lot of money to do this (the life of a fairly new entrepreneur). So, because I wasn’t bringing in the revenue that I desired, I felt like a failure in some ways. My friend challenged me and said, “Anide, when people ask you what you do, tell them what you are becoming not where you currently are.” That statement completely changed my outlook. We are all in the process of becoming and if we describe ourselves through this lens it will change our outlook on life.
2) I allowed my job titles and the work I did to define my worth.
I never thought that I would become one of those people that defined themselves through their job title or educational achievements, but I became that person. I was laid off from my full-time job in October 2014 and it was a definite blow to my ego. I had always rested on my laurels, well I am a such and such…but without a regular 9 to 5 gig, I now used my business as my crutch, “I am a professional and executive coach and through my company, Overcomer Consulting…” You see, my lead in was always my title and when you no longer have titles to describe yourself by, it can challenge your sense of self-worth, as well as your confidence. I had to learn in 2014 and in going into 2015, titles don’t define my worth and a company should not validate me. My worth really stems from an innate sense of self, of living authentically and unapologetically and of understanding what skills and experiences I bring to the table.
3) It’s ok to allow others help you (you are reaping what you have sown in the past).
One of the hardest things for strong people to learn is the art of allowing others to be a blessing to you. There were some months, I wasn’t sure if I would have enough cash flow to cover my basic monthly expenses, I needed help, but my ego and pride wouldn’t allow me to voice my need for help. I am thankful for family members and good friends who were able to provide not only monetary support, but also emotional, spiritual and just overall “being there” support. One friend shared, “Anide, you are just reaping what you’ve sown into others for years, so allow people to help you.” It was humbling lesson to learn and now I am learning to embrace the concept of sowing and reaping.
4) No more waiting for the gravy train – give yourself permission to flip the script.
By far, the most transformative lesson that I learned was, just because I’ve been in the marketing and communications profession for the past 15 years of my life, does not mean I have to stay in the field. I feel like I have an opportunity for a second wind and I’m at the point of my life where I’m ok with starting anew. If I have to start off at an entry-level assignment (total career change), or just live the life a newbie entrepreneur for a few more months until I find my groove, I’m giving myself permission to release myself of where I thought I’d be at this point in my life and career.
My key themes for 2015 are UNAPOLOGETIC and NO LIMITS.
So as I choose to go left, I’m making the decision to readjust my expectations, to start over and to build on the life lessons learned in 2014. Trust me, there were many more key lessons I could have shared, however, I feel that these were the most transformative. It’s not too late to do a self-reflection or evaluation, take the time out and figure out what key lessons you learned. I pray that you move forward in 2015 with greater hope, resilience, peace, faith, fearlessness and perseverance.
As owner of Overcomer Consulting LLC, Anide Jean is a certified coach, consultant, marketing professional, speaker/trainer dedicated to helping individuals and organizations overcome challenges that keep them from achieving their life, professional or business goals. She is a champion for causes aimed towards education, urban youth, Haiti and empowering women and organizations through social, professional or spiritual development. She holds a BA in Communications & Journalism from Rutgers University, MBA in Marketing & Management from Fordham Graduate School of Business, a certification in Personal & Executive Coaching from the CAPP Institute and a certificate in Sports, Entertainment & Events Marketing from NYU’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies.
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