“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd and uneven time.” – Sylvia Plath
That quote sums up the mood of my week pretty well. An uneven time, hot weather, warm rain, autumn on the horizon.
You know those weeks that are so busy you can barely remember what it was you actually did? That’s becoming a norm for me this season.
By far the most important thing I’m learning is that no matter where you go, what type of work you do, or what your hours are, you are not hired solely because they believe you can do the job.
You’re hired for your ability to drive change, take charge, document, you’re hired for your ideas and your perspective. You’re hired because they believe you bring something to the table that has been missing.
The job becomes how you’re able to contribute with consistent innovation and initiative. It’s your responsibility to set a standard for yourself and follow through.
It’s easy to get caught in the web of passing responsibility to the person who will have eyes on your work next. “It’s probably fine, and if not, they’ll catch it, right?” That thinking can be damaging if you’re not both equally invested in the project, or expectations aren’t clear. That’s how things get missed. That’s how quality suffers. Being on a team means sharing perspectives, collaborating, trusting each other, but it also means owning what’s on your plate.
This is easier said than done when you’re in the quagmire of day to day work, 50 tabs open, emails coming in every minute, three-to-four different departments sucking up your energy, a pending customer ticket that keeps mutating into more and more steps, another meeting on the horizon.
But it’s worth the effort to invest in what you’re doing. And when it’s done well? Priceless.
This person, right here, has been in a shift of self-perception. I started thinking about how I crave affirmation and validation from others, but when I receive it, I immediately begin to unravel it and dismiss it. I don’t believe it, even though I wanted it so badly. I don’t take it in and truly feel it.
Criticism or harsh words, on the other hand, stick like glue. I internalize them. I assume they must be right because that’s how I speak to myself. They align with my internal monologue.
And I’ve had just about enough of that.
So, I’ve started to try and examine the evidence for kind words, too. Started to make a case for why they could be honest perceptions of who I am to people, just as much as the opposites.
I didn’t realize how polarizing I’ve been to my inner self for so long. I knew self-talk was powerful, but I hadn’t connected the dots to how much I’ve been beating myself up for being a person.
Part of that is external life events, most of it is from poor self-image. Just like it’s important to own and invest in your work, you have to invest and bet on yourself, too.
Genuine compliments are great, so is constructive criticism. But along with those has to come balanced self-evaluation. What do you know to be true about yourself? What do you know to be false? You don’t have to rely on others to tell you who you are, or trust others to decide where your intentions lie for you.
Try to take genuine compliments as seriously as constructive criticism.
Make a case for yourself and your true nature like you would for the people you love, and hopefully, eventually, that will help you have grace for yourself, also.
Thank you for reading!