Swapping ‘scared’ for ‘exhilarated’ – a personal story.

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Once upon a time, I started a shiny new job and then….well, sh*t happened! Specifically, a global pandemic that could have caused a major blip on my resume and derail the careers of a whole team. If I just left the story there, you could be forgiven for imagining the worst, but this story is one of opportunity, confidence and growth, so let’s get on with that.

Walking in the door on the first day, I definitely felt like an imposter. My response to being offered the job was “are you sure??” before I accepted. It felt big and scary, and I hadn’t had that level of responsibility for a few years. I self-talked myself into believing I could do it, remembering all the times I had applied for roles in the past where I wasn’t completely qualified, and I knew I could learn what I needed to on the job.  I still felt unsure, but at some point I decided that with plenty of enthusiasm, my desire to effect change and a determination to test my mettle I could do it, so I marched in. Onward!

COVID hit 4 months in.

There are so many things I have embraced in the past 12 months.  I had to do things that I had never done before and probably never will again. I worked out how strong and resilient I am, but I cried and had sleepless nights through it all. I felt powerless and powerful all at the same time, sometimes yo-yo-ing hourly. Some days I felt supported, and there were the times when I felt abandoned, for making unpopular decisions or given voice to my uncertainty. I didn’t always cover myself in glory and those times were tough.

I tried to leave as well. Several times. Not because I didn’t enjoy the work or think it was worth my efforts, but because I undervalued my worth and my contribution to the survival of the business. I thought we could save money if we didn’t have to pay my salary, that there were more important roles in the business than mine, that I was surplus to requirements. I was wrong about that.

At some point I gathered up my courage and made a decision; I knew I had to put my head down and commit to the long haul. I was in a new relationship (with the company owner), it had only been 4 months, but once we decided to ‘stick together’ we grew stronger and our trust in each other became rock solid. We relied on each other and came out the other side an unbeatable team. I focused on what I knew; process, streamlining and providing good service to build confidence. I love that we were able to demonstrate what commitment and strong leadership looks like; it’s been a life lesson.

We’re not on easy street yet, and we need to re-build our financial cushion, but we have a full team which is slowly building again, and our clients are returning in droves. Our calendars are full, and we have a new drive and direction that makes every day exciting and fulfilling. I wish I had known at the beginning what I was made of; I would’ve swapped ‘scared’ for being ‘exhilarated’, which is where I will start with the next big challenge.

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