Your Next Job.
“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”- James Baldwin
A client I’m very proud of—yes, I sound like someone’s mom, and have you just met me? I have clients who will do their assigned homework, and then DEMAND praise. I don’t blame them. I’m exactly the same way: “I worked hard, acknowledge me, REWARD ME!”—recently received two exceptional job offers in the course of one week. You’re thinking, “Wow, so is she dancing in the streets, and giggling whenever her soon-to-be-former odious boss gives her work assignments?” Oh, please. This is 2016 America: once she achieved her goals, she immediately started fretting about how she was going to f**k up her brand new job! Sunrise, sunset.
But seriously: success is frequently far more terrifying than failure. (Just ask Donald Trump, as he starts to lose what’s left of whatever’s underneath that unfortunate weave, when confronted with the staggering reality that yes indeed, the old Simpsons joke came true and Trump is the Republicans’ presumptive presidential candidate. Not sure if I should be laughing, or covering the windows in my bunker with tinfoil. Probably both.)
Anyone who’s honest has to admit that getting what you want, while satisfying, can also, simultaneously, be absolutely terrifying. (If you’re not honest, on the other hand, then you’re probably going to get a whole lot less of want you want, since success requires utmost honesty in order to benefit from previous failures.)
So, let’s say you, like my adorable client, have worked hard and recently received a new job that makes you feel like skipping through the streets, but then, once you’ve oh-so-modestly bragged to your friends, and enjoyed the misery in their eyes as they wished you, “Like, OMG, so excited for you, you SO deserve it!,”now suddenly, it’s 3 am, the hour of the wolf, and you’re off on a brand new adventure and DEAR F**KING GOD, you’re going to ruin this, and end up having to move back home in disgrace, and everyone will laugh, and this is a mistake. Chillax. You got this, kid.
I want you to write out what exactly frightens you. Be honest with yourself, and write out, in black and white, what exactly it is about this new situation that worries you. For many of us, having to confront our fears, diminishes a substantial amount of their power over us. Your wildly overstimulated imagination, the very thing which makes you great at sex and parties, can be a bit of a handicap when you start contemplating your new responsibility. I want you to identify the things that are most worrying to you…and why. Because, for example, if you tell me that you’re afraid that people won’t respect your authority, that tells me much more about you, and your lack of self-confidence, than it does about any future co-workers. If you tell me you’re worried that new co-workers won’t like you…and? Do you like you? Do you believe in your authority? Do you believe you deserve the opportunities you are receiving? If so, you will act accordingly, and create the excellent reputation you deserve. If not…
Unpleasant as it may be, it is crucial to start understanding the narrative in your head. Are all of your future co-workers and staff going to adore you? Probably not…and so what. As long as you believe in yourself, your staff will believe in you, and your management style will constantly evolve and grow and yadda yadda yadda. Newsflash: your staff is not there to be your friend, or to make up for the fact that you weren’t invited to Becky Hochmann’s 4th grade birthday slumber party. You’re going to have to let that go. You’re going to have to forgive yourself, and allow yourself to TODAY be the great boss that someone else knows you can be. (PS: What does it say when other people believe in you, and you’re busy tearing yourself down??)
Because, the alternative, is giving in to the worst parts of yourself—the parts corroded by fear, and resentment and jealousy—and without exception, smothering your potential. That’s what happens: use it or lose it. If you keep telling yourself “No,” that same “No,” is all you’re ever going to get. The alternative is deciding that you’re “not ready” to be a boss, so you keep turning down opportunities that would have, over time, allowed you learn how to become the boss you could have been. The alternative is waking up one morning, and thinking,”…I don’t understand my life.”
True story: I have a female acquaintance who hasn’t had a date in 13 years. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Why? Because when we were in elementary school, she asked a certain boy to our 6th Sadie Hawkins dance, and he said no and NOW IT’S 2016 AND SHE’S STILL BENT OUT OF SHAPE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN 1985. (Sorry. I was yelling.)
Think about that horseshit the next time you have a great opportunity, and you worry you’re going to ruin it. No one can sabotage your opportunities like you can. Do you honestly want to ruin it (i.e. YOURSELF)…or are you wiling to take responsibility for your (learned) fears and start the hard work of living a life based on your potential, not your fears? Being a grown up is damn hard work, kids.
But, you’re worth it.
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