Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Liberation in Truth

After my last entry, I had quite a bit to contemplate about. I finally admitted and accepted shortcomings I’ve spent most of my time denying or ignoring. I had a cathartic and insightful conversation with a good friend of mine when I expressed my concerns to her. Recap: I find that I have a retention problem and jobs I should be able to keep not working out as a result of my performance, performance issues I shouldn’t have.

She postulated that perhaps I deliberately sabotage these jobs because they aren’t meant for me and I’m desperate to escape them. That makes perfect sense! After all the problems that result in my termination only surface in the workplace such as debilitating memory issues, which under normal circumstances are fine. It’s amazing how when things become clear, the fog lifts and we feel lighter. It doesn’t change my challenges because I still need to make an income and if I continue down this path, the situation will perpetuate and I certainly don’t want that. But I’m beginning to realize the value of customization.

I have to be more selective in the jobs I apply for. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. I keep applying for the same types of jobs that don’t work out. I can be frustrated that I can’t hang on to them because it is, but I need to be productive with my time.

I don’t choose to sabotage these jobs, but they continue to occur. I see the sabotage as a child acting out. It’s frustrating when I’m my own source of destruction and I’m unable to reason with myself, but it also serves a valuable lesson because it’s forcing me to look at other areas of opportunities that would be more conducive for me. I’m not meant to be trapped in an office-support position long-term.

I have that “look.” I appear professional and am well-placed in a corporate environment, but I have a rush of energy which over time crashes. I’ve always been like that and as much as I wish I had a steadier source of discipline and stamina, it’s best for me to accept how I operate and act accordingly because I’m me; no one else. It’s incredibly liberating to come to terms with this.

I wasted so much energy feeling inadequate for not being able to execute what others seem to do well that I never focused on the strengths that come with my circumstance. By being open and honest with myself, I also came to terms with some other areas of weaknesses that are important to address.

They all came to me through different sources like puzzle pieces I had to put together. My mother told me that “you can’t be successful at an entry-level job with a senior management mentality.” Who knew that being told I’d be a failure would be such welcome news. Something about that statement had an intrinsic effect on me that it made me receptive to some of the other things she’s said so many times before that I’ve dismissed such as I’m meant to be in business for myself.

Some people have a natural knack for business; I’m not one of them. Business schools are available, but I find that people who have a natural talent are the best at it, which isn’t to say people who engage in professional training are any less capable. I just don’t even find business to be appealing that I can’t imagine being suited for it. But I’m beginning to realize how crippling my mentality is; I think too much in terms of absolutes.

When I shared my concerns and ideas with my friend, she told me that I don’t learn quickly enough according to my intellectual level and personality. That is so true! I find myself resentful because I get scrutinized for my learning curve, while others are tolerated for their delays. But the difference is that I’m more intelligent than the others, so the expectation that others have of me are much higher. And when I don’t meet them, consequences follow. It’s an example of when my intelligence is a disadvantage.

She and I have worked together and are good friends, so she understands how I am. She recognizes my intelligences but is also aware of my learning speed. It’s not particular a proud moment, but by becoming aware of this, I’m giving myself an advantage because I can refine my job searches to positions that don’t require me to learn something in a shorter amount of time. By selecting jobs I can perform well, it’s the best situation for everyone involved.

I used to believe that people who accepted and “settled” for their weaknesses did it because it was too difficult for them to deal with their shortcomings. But now I realize that we all have shortcomings and the people who succeed are the ones who channel their strengths. I’m doing no one any good by dwelling on my faults because when I embrace my strengths, I’m able to help others and that’s a powerful thing.

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