Friday, May 9, 2014

"Just because you're struggling, doesn't mean you're failing."

I have been feeling a little regretful lately, which is an emotion I don't often feel.  I began a new job a few months ago, which while I love, is not free from it's challenges.

I expected to be challenged, that is one reason I decided to leave the job I had for nearly 8 years, was to break out of the norm and try something new.  I haven't felt very successful since I left, which ironically is one reason I left my previous job.  I was incredibly overwhelmed, and wanted desperately to do a good job, but each day I went home feeling like I just couldn't do the things I wanted to do, thus feeling unsuccessful and exhausted.

I craved the feeling of doing something really, really well.  Or at least feeling like I was.

So as one might expect, it takes time to learn a new job.  It's been about 3.5 months, and I understand it can take up to a year to really become acclimated.  I need to be patient with myself.

I noticed myself displaying familiar behaviors recently.  Feeling overwhelmed.  Procrastinating because I didn't know where to start.  I began to wonder not only if I never should have left, but if I would ever really find what I want to do with my life.  It's felt a bit like what a mid-life crisis might feel like.

So earlier this week, I picked up a book that I started to read months ago and put down (a notorious thing that I do when it comes to books) and as I sat at my kitchen table ready to read the rest of this book.  At the same time I peered over the pages and watched my little LBZ play in the great room.  I read words I needed to hear, and watched as this little boy simply played.  He had no direction.  No one to tell him how to do it.  Yet he created what he wanted, and enjoyed it.  Then, I read this:

"We may wish that we were three inches taller, or had an extra $4500 in our pocket.  Or maybe we would have preferred that our sister didn't die of cancer, or that our marriage could have worked out.  But in the end, when we are willing to be alone, we have to admit that
"This is it...the waiting is over."
When we have the courage to acknowledge and embrace the simple fact that there is nowhere else to go and no one else to become, we discover how to be friendly toward ourselves and toward the present moment.  Traditionally, such an attitude is called Paklang- which in Tibetan means "childlike carefreeness"- utterly loose and liberated.
~Michael Carroll, from his book Fearless at Work (pages 163-164)

I read this and watched and admired my sweet 2.5 year old playing with such a gentle and natural approach.  A carefree demeanor that I longed for...and then I got it.  It clicked with me.  So that is how I am choosing to feel, and it is, in fact, quite liberating.  I have a new sense of peace with where I am.  I am reminded that I followed this path because I was curious where it might lead.  I was reminded that I can choose to be happy in my present situation.  I will continue to have struggles, but that is to be expected. 

Then I was pointed toward yet another thing I needed to hear. "Just because you're struggling, doesn't mean you're failing." Read the whole thing here. That about sums it up. I felt like I was failing at this job. I was, and continue to, struggle to learn all of the pieces of the puzzle, but I am not failing. I have a lot more to learn.  What my manager wants.  How to work with my team.  How I want to run my department.  But struggling to do these things? That is not failure. It is part of the path. I get it now.

Peace in the present moment, my friends.  It's the only one we can be sure we have :)