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When Life Doesn't Go According To Plan

by - Monday, January 03, 2022

Happy new year! I hope you had pleasant holidays. I hadn't intended to be away from the blog for so long but this year seemed to be one that demanded I just relax, step away from work, and recoup from the stress we've all been living under. I would have loved to celebrate Christmas with my large family but it was just a quiet celebration for us three at home this year (again). But I'm ever an optimist and know that 2022 will be better!

The new year brings with it a sense of hope, doesn't it? And while I'm ready to make plans and set goals, I do like to use these early days to reflect on what I learned in the past year. Personally, 2021 was a year of much growth and challenge for me and I wanted to share a bit of where my heart is at these days.


This April marks 15 years since I started writing this blog. 15!!! For the past decade, I've been my own boss and enjoyed some amazing opportunities. I've worked with brands on sponsored content and hosting events. I've appeared on tv shows and in my favourite home decor magazines. I've run conferences for influencers and coached creatives one-on-one. I've created products and run online shops. And above all, I've connected with you - my amazing community - through this blog and social media.

It has been fun, exciting, creative, and freeing but over the past year I came to realize it was no longer entirely fulfilling. There was a piece of my life that felt empty - that I could do "more". So I sought out a job back in the corporate world. 

The job hunt and interview process is always daunting. But doing it when you've reached middle age and have been 'out of the industry' somewhat for the last decade almost made me want to give up. I've created a non-traditional career for myself and trying to define my experience and abilities in a way that lined up with more traditional roles was not easy.

But I did it! In September I landed a dream position at a renovation company that lined up perfectly with my skills and aspirations. I dove right in. In every conversation and meeting, I tried to add value and share what I knew. I quickly made friendships, learned, listened, challenged, contributed.

And six weeks later, I was let go.

It was a shock to me and to others. The official explanation was that the company wasn't ready for my role and perhaps when they were further down their growth cycle, they would reconsider. But what my gut told me? 

That the company's 'move fast, make mistakes, fix it later' philosophy didn't fit with my strategic, execute-to-the-best-of-my-abilities approach. 

That the CEO, 20 years my junior, couldn't accept the decades of experience and first-hand knowledge of the customer (that's you!) that I brought to the table. 

And for the first time in my working career, I saw just how much of a boys' club the startup world can be.

Life didn't go according to plan. Yet, it was the one of the best learning opportunities I have ever had.

 


If the past two years have taught us anything, it is this: you cannot please everyone, and ultimately, the only person you need to please is yourself.

What does that mean? I think we're all redefining that answer these days. The world has gone completely upside down so we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to, well, step in a new direction.

Instead of starting 2022 with a list of things I want to accomplish, this year I'm starting it with a list of things I'm leaving behind.

The belief that I'm not good enough
That I'm too old
That I can't keep up
That I can't learn knew things
That I need to play it safe
That I need to stay in this job
That no one wants to hear what I have to contribute
That other people's opinions determine my self worth
That I will fail
That I need to do what other's are doing to succeed
That I'm not worth paying more
That I should accept less
That my gender, age, skin tone, or hair colour is a barrier
That I'm not worthy
That I can't do this

Does this list resonate with you? I hear so many of female friends express these same fears. 

I could take last year's failure and use it as a reason to stop trying. It would be so much easier. But instead, I'm going to use it as a fire in my belly. It will be what motivates me to step further into myself, to celebrate who I am and what I bring to this world, and find that thing that makes me feel most alive. That makes me feel whole. And I hope to bring more of "me" to this blog too. 

I'm so excited for the year ahead. I hope you continue to join me for the journey.

All the best to you in 2022!

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