I started this blog a while ago trying to document a new life, a new source of inspiration for me. I’ve done pretty well and despite the few ups and downs, I’ve picked myself up and aced everything.
This post is not my usual humorous Sunday blues tone but rather what influenced my decision to shift my focus from pleasing people 24/7 to doing the things I want to do.
I was always scared of judgement, being laughed at and looked at like I am an alien. My fear intensified when Brexit happened, and a growing sense of alienation developed. I’ve made conscious efforts to change my mindset when I realised that life is too short.
I know – it’s not exactly a novel concept. It’s more of a cliche, and I don’t mean it in the ‘live everyday like it’s your last’ kind of vein. I want to emphasise that it’s very likely that the days we’ll spend alive and kicking do not suffice for us to do everything we want.
As we grow up, we find out more and more things we want to try out. We discover how many countries there are that we haven’t seen, how many board games we haven’t played, how many songs we haven’t even known exist. And the hunger is overwhelming.
That’s when I decided to unchain myself from the fear of judgement. I put myself out there, or rather forced myself out of the comfort zone of a job where I’ve learnt everything there is to learn, and where I felt safe knowing everyone in the office. I did many interviews, spoke to many people, and my conscious efforts paid off. I got offered many second interviews and eventually a job offer from a big publishing house, which I accepted.
I was faced with the challenge of adapting to a new work environment, and this isn’t news to me. I’ve worked a job for a year and before that I did a failed internship, and before that a 2 month internship, and before that various work experience placements. I’ve met lots of people, seen a lot of book covers, visited many different office environments. But when you’re there to stay, it’s different. When you’re making the conscious effort to learn, and the hunger kicks in, you’re unstoppable.
Let me clarify that the conscious efforts are rather gradual, so if you want to put yourself out of there, give it time, make few steps at a time, don’t rush. Don’t force yourself to become something you’re not. Make small, substantial changes and you’ll notice the difference, & your colleagues will too.
- I consciously try to do as much training as possible, and learn to use as many systems as possible. Any kind of knowledge is invaluable, and will prove useful at some point.
- I consciously did presentation training to overcome my chronic anxiety and fear of speaking at a podium in front of people I might or might not know well. I feel more confident, and it was a small step towards my overall development of self confidence and reassurance.
- I consciously scheduled a catch up with my line manager to discuss my performance so far, where we talked about new projects I’ll be taking on.
- I consciously showed enthusiasm about learning new processes and covering for colleagues on leave, as it’s an invaluable opportunity to complete tasks I do not usually have to do, and gain insights into how different workloads relate to each other in such a complex, busy office environment.
- I consciously triggered my perfectionist gene, and tried to complete any tasks in the clearest and most beneficial way possible.
There are small steps. But for me they’re important. At the heart of this lies my realisation that I do not want people and their judgement to hinder my personal development anymore. I care less about pleasing people and more about working hard, doing my job right and being of value to my colleagues. It is a long way to overcome chronic feelings of anxiety and recover from the wounds of bullying, but it will happen, I am more confident than ever.
I do not try to teach people how to live, and I am not a life coach. But I do stress that we should all try to make the most of the opportunities we’re given and leave no stone unturned when it comes to knowledge and experience. Talk to people, but do not let your fears of being judged tie you to the ground. Be helpful and kind, but do not let people walk over you. Respect everyone but above everything, respect yourself. Learn. Keep your eyes open, observe. Take time off to enjoy life outside the four walls of the office. That is what I’m trying to do. Consciously.