When I left my job mid October 2012, I had come to a breaking point within myself as well as with the job. I had had enough of the bullying from the higher ups, I was done with the realization that I was getting nowhere, and I was finished with the drudgery of the routine. I wanted more for myself and my life and I wanted to stop showing my children that work was an awful thing that only deserved complaints and misery.
I left my job knowing I was simultaneously embarking on a new career. I never have been the type of person to just stop something without having something else to go to or to do. To say I was happy to be making the career change would have been an understatement. It had been a long, long time since I had felt excited about anything but I was nervous too. While I had the money to get me through for a while on this new career path, I also knew that one day the money would run out because I did not have another income to sustain me. That time came a few months ago and so I started searching for a j.o.b. The thing about searching for anything is that if your heart isn’t in it you are very likely to miss what you are looking for. I often tell my children to look right in front of their noses if they are trying to find something they lost. Most likely it was right in front of them the whole time.
Last Wednesday I got called to interview for a j.o.b., the first interview in over 10 months. Deep inside I knew I would get the offer. I interviewed well, I knew what I was talking about, and I knew this position would be an easy one to fill. The position wasn’t asking too much of me and the hours worked out well enough that I could keep working at building my new career. On Thursday there was a message on my phone with the offer. I have to admit I was flattered and I liked the momentary feeling of being wanted.
Have you ever become aware of something that you didn’t realize until it was too late or didn’t realize until right before you jumped? That is precisely what happened. I could have returned the phone call that came announcing the job offer. I could have made a decision right then, in the moment, without thinking it through. I certainly had enough time to think it through right from the moment I was taking the time to fill out the application for the job. I could have denied what I had been doing all these months toward my new career and sold myself for the very slight income this new job offered; it was the money after all that made me apply in the first place, not the need to get back into a type of job I had left behind back in October. I could have taken all that I have learned about myself and thrown it out the window simply because I was afraid to stand up for myself. But I didn’t.
Instead, I allowed the rest of the day to pass. I talked to many important people like my mother, my daughter, my husband my sons and I weighed the pros and cons of taking this job. What I realized was that it had nothing to do with pros and cons. It had to do with the fact that I was still so wrapped up in doing the right thing for everyone else that I was willing to sell myself out yet again in order to make things “right” in everyone else’s’ life. What I realized was that I was afraid to say “no”. I was afraid to say “no” to all of these important people, I was afraid to say “no” to the person offering me the job, but most importantly I was afraid to say “no” to myself.
There are 2 types of “no”. The first type of “no” is about saying “no” and knowing you are letting people down. The second type of “no” is about saying “no” to myself. Saying “no” to myself was about saying “yes” to something that wasn’t right for me while at the same time saying “no” to the things that were right for me.
I took a stand for myself way back in October of 2012 and since that day I have been on a mission to change my life, to change my perspective, to champion my goals, to make a difference and to show my children that when you believe in yourself and your purpose your life can have meaning and you can enjoy the work you do because it doesn’t feel like work at all.
If I took that job I would be saying “no” to everything I have accomplished so far and saying “yes” to putting myself back in a box and back in a place and space that didn’t fit me. I knew at the job interview that the position was not where I belonged. I knew I was putting myself in a position of acquiescence. It was a habit and a very big part of what I was so desperately trying to get passed and get through.
I had decided that at 9am on Friday I would call and decline the job. I felt like I was going to the hangman’s noose. Was I crazy to give up on the only job opportunity that had come along in a while? After all money is money and something is better than nothing?! At 9:10am I made the call and it felt so strange to know that even though the person I was about to speak to was in a meeting she was going to take my call. What a rush and what a let- down knowing I was about to make her day harder. I realized while waiting on hold that we had not discussed how much the job would pay so when we connected I asked her that little detail. I knew the number I would accept and acquiesce to if it was offered. The number came in much less than my bottom line but instead of getting it over with I told her I was considering another job offer and I would call her right back. What a freakin` coward I was. Embarrassing isn’t it? I played with the numbers, I bought myself some more time, I held off saying “NO” for as long as I could. At 10am I made the final call and graciously declined the position.
I realized that I just couldn’t turn my back on what I was doing now. I have come so far and seen so many small steps of success and have been welcomed into a community of acceptance and encouragement and belonging. Why would I want to take so many steps backward into a world I had left behind? The greater damage would have come in me slipping back into the person I am trying to leave behind all for the sake of a dollar. The answer was right in front of me the whole time but I chose to not The truth is the bigger picture is what was right in front of me.
I posed the question, “Why do we get nervous when we find that we have to say no” to a personal development group I belong to. Keith Vandermark said, “The moments we say no is what defines us.” The moment for me was more in the “why” I said no than the actual moment of saying no. My “why” is what gave me the courage and that courage is what defines me. Ask yourself these questions the next time you are facing your “no” moment:
1) What is my reason for saying no; what is my “why”?
2) What are my fears around saying no?
3) What possibilities will exist after I say no?
4) Who will I be for saying yes and do I want to be that person?
5) Who will I be for saying no?
Since that return phone call on Friday I have had flashbacks of the moment I said no. Since that return phone call I have thought about how I would feel right now if I had said yes. Honestly, I would have been so sad and angry with myself for not standing up for who I have become and the purpose I am seeking in my life. I feel so much more empowered toward my goals and my destination. That moment of saying “no” has redefined my life purpose; it has brought deeper perspective toward my new career and renewed strength toward my outlook. I thank Keith for so plainly and so strongly putting those words out there.
I’d love to hear from you. Take some time to share with me how you have faced your “NO” moments and what it did for your life so far. Journey On……
Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. If you would like to see how coaching can supercharge your spirit please call or write to me and let’s chat in a judgment free, empowering, uplifting space. You can reach me at 203-560-3061 or email@example.com. Your personal discovery awaits….