As a young girl, I was a bit of a dreamer. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but never knew how to get it. As the “dreamer” in me got older, what I wanted turned into what I needed – to pay the bills and rent, a car, clothes and food for my table.
Suddenly people were telling me to start being realistic; to put aside my “dreams.” So I did. I got a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, then a certification.
For the last 14 years, I have worked hard to have a responsible career that “might” be personally fulfilling. I did extra, and tried my best to stay current with trainings for my field; hoping that my bosses would recognize my talents as an individual. I applied for promotions when they were available and moved to new opportunities that I thought would be a good fit.
Then the economy plummeted and I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life. After two years of interviewers telling me I don’t have enough certifications, or enough “letters” after my credentials, or whatever they found to pick at, I realized I needed to change. Not who I am as a person, but how I perceived making my way through my career.
Through being unemployed, I learned something more valuable than in the last 20 years of working: Life creates moments and opportunities, whether for us to succeed or for us to fail.
People wait and watch to see who will falter, disappoint or do something wrong. Our environment creates a frame of thinking that we have to make decisions based on others’ perceptions. That somehow we need to live up to others’ expectations instead of living up to our own.
Nowadays, people want us to walk a path that looks like all the others around us; be it career, life choices, religious, emotional, political or parental.
When we veer from that path to create our own, we are condemned, judged or told we are being foolish – until that day when we succeed. If people do well in creating their own moment, then they are hailed and praised for being daring and bold.
Our environment has created a fear of striving for more. If there is a remote possibility that we may fail, then we had better not try at all; better to be whatever it is someone “higher up” wants us to be. We push and push to make our round peg fit into a square hole.
But guess what? Our truth, whatever that truth may be, is ours – each of ours – as individuals. It is personal, it is sacred. It is not for others to judge and it is not for others to tell us how to go about it – it is our own truth, our own path, our own moment. Instead of trying to beat to the same drum as everyone else, I say sway to a saxophone.
I have to believe that my path is the right path. It may not look as neat and tidy as the path to my right and it may not have the nicely organized, color-coded flower beds as the path to my left, but it’s my path, my moment. If I believe in myself, in my abilities, in my hard work, then I will succeed at whatever path I choose.
Some day bosses will reward us for wanting to do our best for them, but as unique individuals; bringing them the best of ourselves, and being allowed to be ourselves. That is the best moment of all!