A few years ago, I applied for a promotion. Long story short – I didn’t get it. It stung a bit. In reality not that much. When I spoke to my brother about it – he’s good at breaking work situations into tiny chunks and analysing them correctly, he asked me where I thought it had possibly gone wrong…
I knew. I was working part time at that time, my eldest was 3 years old and my youngest was 9 months. There was a point when someone on the panel asked me if I would work full time when I got the role. I replied no.
My brother nodded sagely and his simple assessment was this – you didn’t get the job because you didn’t want it badly enough. You weren’t prepared to give them what they wanted – all consuming commitment! He was right. He must have only been about 25 at the time. But he was right.
You see, after I had children I knew that they had to come first. Work is important and fortunately I am lucky enough to do a job I love, but whilst my children are young – they need a mother more. A functioning, happy mother, who is not bogged down with feeling that she is failing in all areas in life. So, I had to make some life choices – which was more important for me at this particular point of life? Career progression or spending time with my children – time in their most formative years, time that I would never get back? For me it was a no-brainer. Family first.
And you see, I learnt a few valuable lessons from not receiving that promotion. But the biggest lesson I learnt was that when you know what your ‘drivers’ are in life, when you know what is the most important thing, the element that drives you in life – you have so much freedom. A freedom that lifts a huge weight off your spirit. Those people who only liked and respected me because of my professional position in life, I soon discovered who they were and they quickly drifted away from me – some people I already knew were like that, others were slightly surprising. But what was great was that a lot of insincerity and toxicity was removed from my life.
Then of course, what I realised for the first time in my life, I was able to manage my time more effectively so that work time was work time – and weekends and holiday times were mine. So my decision meant that I can go on holiday and not worry about much work is still pending when I get back. Or, worse still, trying to have a wonderful time, but secretly thinking, if I wasn’t doing this – then I could have been getting on with my work. Believe me, there were times in my life that I couldn’t enjoy anything because of how much work I had to do. I can now spend time with my family at the weekends and not have a worry worm, drilling a hole in the back of my mind, reminding me of how much work I still have to do.
That’s all good and great – wonderful and fantastic…but there is one other thing I want to discuss in further detail – and it’s something that my brother spoke about in our post-interview analysis.
His words: ‘you didn’t want it badly enough, that’s why you didn’t get it. If you really wanted that role, you would have agreed to anything they said, to get it.’
I want you to think about that too – think about situations that you’ve been through in life, perhaps in your career, perhaps in a relationship where things didn’t work out. Was there a point when you were asked to do something that you just weren’t prepared to do? Perhaps you felt that it would affect your integrity? Or perhaps you thought it was disrespectful or degrading? But there does come a time when someone draws a line for you, and you have to decide – will I cross this line, or not? Sometimes it’s a decision to do with morals, other times it’s to do with one simple question. If I cross this line, for this person, or this situation – will it be worth it? Or will I regret that decision for the rest of my life, or at the very least, not feel good about myself, afterwards?
You can get advice from people, of course, everyone will have their own point of view based on their own life experiences. But the only person who can decide if anything is worth anything….is you.
The problem with many people in society is that you are expected to live according to other people’s timeframes and other people’s values. You should have completed your education by this age; found a partner by that age; bought your own place by another age, started to have children by that age; of course you should also be in a highly successful job; earning lots of money – all before the age of 35!
You only live this life once. Once. Whether you believe in reincarnation or in an afterlife elsewhere, or whether you believe there is nothing else after this… this life, we get once. So live it according to your values. Live it according to what drives you and what you hold dear. Trust your self, trust your instincts – don’t compromise on things that you know will do you more harm than good.
I will admit, that with my own children, I strive for them to work hard at school, become educated – as education will open doors and give them choices in life. I teach them to respect their bodies and respect themselves – as self-respect is the biggest gift a child can have. I want them to have a hunger and desire to succeed in life – just as my mother ensured my siblings and I did. But the rest – is up to them. I will be here to support them always – and if not me, then my blogs.
Failure is only temporary; success is all relative. What matters is that you live a life that you love. And a life that makes you happy.