A Chance for Change
I have had months of big decision consternation and internal discussions with resounding should I or shouldn’t I’s rummaging through my head. After 23 years in one company, I am electing to leave. Yes, electing! That is the tricky part. The company offered an early retirement plan and although I am not ready to be retired, I stepped out of my fear and said yes! I did not make this decision lightly, without difficulty, love or support. Once I made the decision and signed off, the burden of decision making ended and for a few weeks, I was feeling quite jubilant. Downright relieved in fact.
Then, Miss Fear showed up again. She’s a force to be reckoned with if you let her in. Daily, she beats the drum about losing my benefits and salary once the company plan ends. She looks at me in the bathroom mirror every morning and says, “you’re not so young anymore either, what if nobody wants you”? In her intoxicating voice, she declares, “who do you think you are; and what a big mistake this could be”. Those messages play on as my brain’s newly found background music. The earworm stuck like the tonearm that won’t lift on an old vinyl album.
I realized, how much fear has always tried to rule me and my life. Fear is not a bad thing. We all need it because it is critical to our existence and survival. That said, it should not be the emotion that takes over life and paralyzes you from taking a chance on change. To know the difference between being afraid of something or looking at it from the perspective of what a precious gift it could be, that is the mind shift I had to make. I would be lying if I did not confess Miss Fear nearly won me over. I cannot allow her to lead this time.
Often, when I am in a bookstore, Miss Fear immediately directs me to the Self-Help section. I have spent years of my adult work life addicted to books on how to be a better me because I didn’t feel I was ever enough. From there, I moved to the business section with the same recurring theme, how to be a better manager, leader, communicator or business intellectual. If the focus was on self-improvement, I was in.
What this new phase of life has taught me and what I have known in my heart all along is, I am enough! I did great work for many years in my current job and in all the positions I have held before. I outlasted many of my leaders and company changes through my resilience and determination to succeed. I did not allow my fear and all the what-if scenarios to keep me from embracing this remarkable opportunity. Perhaps that bravery will carry me in good stead to the next road or path of my choosing. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy and embrace each day as it comes and if you happen to be looking for me in the bookstore any time soon, you will find me in the Home and Gardening section.
Photo Courtesy of Deb Maher - "Her Leaving Her Office for the Final Time"