You guys, I've been rambling on about empowerment this week and today is no different! Today I'm talking about taking charge of your life and having an a-ha moment that is the catalyst for the change. They're funny, the a-ha moments. A lot of times, they come when we least expect them. I can remember when I had a big a-ha moment that changed the entire course of my professional life - forever. In my 16 years at the last corporation I worked for, I had to make a choice whether or not to stay in my job or find something new. I had over a year to plan, and make the decision, but ultimately something was going to have to be decided. I honestly didn't give it much thought for a long time because I thought I was going to stay there. I figured I could just keep my (well paying) job or possibly look to move within the company for something new, but I rarely thought about the option of leaving - and then February 2014 happened.
Let's get one thing straight - I can hang with the best of them. I'm fun, I'm personable and I like to have a good time. I'm not one to shy away from playful, sarcastic banter with co-workers either. BUT there is a time and a place for everything and in February of 2014, that line was crossed and my decision for my professional future was solidified. I lasted until August. I escaped. Here's the thing - in my very long life working in corporate America for different companies along the way, I was NEVER spoken to or treated the way I was for the last 6 months of my tenure. There were over the line comments coming from someone with zero regard for others. His professional demeanor and attitude was pompous and disgusting. The way he treated other people (men and women alike), was deplorable and his moral compass was misguided at best. Co-workers witnessed his actions not only toward me but toward others, and when I brought it to the attention of "the powers that be" I was assured it would be taken care of...let me just say this - he's still there. THAT my friends is disgusting.
I voiced my concerns to people I knew could do something about it, however chose to ignore it. I even took it to HR and nothing happened. So when the time came for me to make a decision about my professional future, I knew I couldn't stay. I could no longer work for a company where employees were ignored. Where issues were swept under the rug. Where shady dealings were happening. It made me sick to my stomach to have to go to that office. It made me angry to have to be around the very people I once trusted and believed to be honest and forthright. I had to go, I really had no other choice.
The thing is, when I made the final decision, it wasn't with trepidation. It was with the full belief that I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. I was ready, and maybe this was my push to take the leap. I needed to take charge of the situation and make a change. I wasn't running away from it - I was running toward something greater, something better. Making the life changing decision to leave a safety net is not easy, but if you want to talk about empowerment - well this is right up there with one of my most empowering days. There was no hesitation in my decision, I knew in my gut it was the right one. It may have taken me a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do professionally, but I believe I needed to take some time for me - to explore options and to make decisions based on my needs and the needs of my family.
I can often be heard saying "make it happen" to myself and my kids all day long - it fits in most situations. Let's get up and go to school (make it happen). How about you start your homework (make it happen). We're gonna be late, put on your shoes and let's go (make it happen). You see how it works all the time!?! Make it happen. Make the change happen. I certainly don't regret the decision I made - it's been life altering. And I don't ever have to be in an uncomfortable situation again, because I get to call the shots.
I know how hard it can be to make big decisions. Having the right support system in place is awesome and very necessary. I know how easy it is to get inside your own head and pump it full of false negativity. It sucks. I know how it feels to be let down by people you thought would have your back, it's a hard pill to swallow. All of these things are life lessons, regardless I'm grateful for them. They helped making my decision that much easier. My message to you is this: if you're struggling somewhere in your life and you're afraid to take the leap - close your eyes and visualize your life without your struggle. Imagine what your life COULD be. Paint a picture of how you WANT it to be. If that picture is 1/10th of a percent better than where you are now - Take the leap. I'm not going to tell you it won't be scary, because it will be. I will tell you that it's going to be okay and with a lot of hard work and focus, you can have/be/do whatever you set your mind to.
I don't for one minute regret my decision. I don't regret the situation I was faced with. I'm thankful for it - because if it hadn't happened, there's a high probability I would still be sitting in that office daydreaming about the life I've been creating over the last 2 years. I'm thankful for the ups and downs, for the fear and the uncharted waters. It's what keeps me going, keeps me motivated. Take charge of your destiny - it's powerful stuff. Make it happen, take the leap.