2021 started out, for me, with hope and promise for a long awaited (7year) change of career trajectory.
I had been praying for it, fighting against my existing job, trying to shift the ‘stars’ in hopes of creating space for a career change that would have me feeling fully engaged and anchored to my core values of making a difference.
Working in front line community healthcare as a Social Service Worker at the beginning of the pandemic found me reeling with anxiety. I mean, really, reeling. I was completely unaware of what the actual fuck PPE was on the 13th of March 2020. And I had to learn, on my own, through my own resourcefulness as I ran towards the pandemic in true form ‘ to make a difference and support those most vulnerable’.
I mad it six months in the firestorm of the beginning days of the pandemic and felt my most aligned professionally when working alongside our front line medical heroes. However, as with all extremely stressful times for me and my imbalanced central nervous system, I got sick and took a knee for a few weeks.
It was during this time that it became abundantly clear to me that I had to leave my job and find another one ASAP. I had been interviewing repeatedly for about five years, to no avail of finding the right fit, when miraculously a job I thought sounded perfect for my skills and abilities popped up. With an agency I had previously worked for but left for my current, (at the time) job. So I applied, and was successful in getting it.
Last year in New Years Eve I believed I was on my way to new beginnings, brighter days, and a challenging new role with a favoured organization that does really good work. I also thought that I had done my due diligence with regards to returning to an old employer. ‘ Was I going backwards? Was I making the right decision professionally. Would the previous politics still exist?’
“We can conduct all the soul searching, attempt to anchor to the exact right decisions in life and try to make them from a place of objectivity, however, at the end of the day, when faced with decisions that wholly support your wellness, you gotta feel that shit in the moment”
On January 4th 2021, the trajectory of my year began. In alignment with my professional mission. And in true fashion, I threw my whole self into it. MY WHOLE SELF. Because that’s how I roll. Because I had had a professional mistake several times before and I sure as shit was going to not repeat the same mistakes this time. Or so I thought.
Let me give you a little honesty here; I had not had the best track record for professionally (or personally) dealing with conflict. I have left many positions over my career because of politics, and usually when I begin to feel the energy shift and feel unseen or under valued. I own that. I’ve never done conflict well. I’m a cut bait and switch type of girl. I was never taught how to hold the space when triggered or harassed. I was taught to fucking run. Shrink. Avoid. Hide. Don’t get me wrong, I will stand up and be counted if there is conflict resolution or solution focused strategies required FOR SOMEONE ELSE, but my inner child has never learned how not to be terrified in conflict.
Let’s get back to the beginning of 2021 my lovely. As I returned to a place I loved, to do work I felt passionate about, I leaned into the role. Gave it all I had. Until that fateful day when I realized it wasn’t going to work out. I have only quit a job on the spot twice in my life. And both times I felt deeply attacked, unsafe and clear that if I didn’t leave immediately, I would put myself in harms way. Please remember that this is not my way. This is not an easy way for me to operate. In fact, running out of my burning house fire might have been easier than standing up for myself at any point in my life, ever.
“ I was taught to be a good girl. To listen. To acquiesce. To not be assertive. I was raised to believe that pleasing others at all costs will get my needs met. And also save me from an emotional or physical back hand and further punishment. I was conditioned to believe that my needs were not as important as others, and therefore expressing them made me a bad person.”
But in 2021 the game changed. The therapeutic work I had been doing for seven years came into play. I had successfully learned that relationships can feel and be safe and don’t involve harassment or abuse in any form. And for the first time in my life, I believed that I was worthy of this. In fact, that I, and all people, deserved this. For four years prior to this moment of clarity I had worked diligently at closing doors on relationships that did not support this new found worth. And like all dysfunctional relationships, those that required this as a baseline fell from my life easier than I had hoped.
“So, in February of 2021 I committed career suicide. I walked off a job. And I went home, doubled down, stayed sleepless for two days and called in every favour surrounding my side hustle as a therapist/counsellor/life coach and group trainer. “
Here’s the beauty of life. I had received grant money in the fall of 2020 to grow my business during Covid, in order to provide mental health support in a pandemic. So I hired some of the smartest women I know to help me get onto an online platform and grow my business. But I put a pin on the work as I was embarking on a new role.
The forest for the trees I suppose. Because, it was all laying there in wait. I had five years of a side hustle complete. I had built credibility. I had put all the pieces in place. But never thought I could do it full time because my small community wouldn’t be able to support the work enough for it to be full time. But Covid hit. And a grant appeared. And I went online. And grew my corporate client base. And continued my annual professional development with regular education and certifications. And within forty eight hours I was up and running and hustling to go full time.
So what’s the point of this New Years confession? Well…..as someone who trains others and shows up for others professionally, for the first time in my life, I. 2021 I did it for me. For the first time in my life, instead of running away life and conflict and discomfort, I ran towards ME. And honoured me. I shook, cried, wailed and had anxiety attacks. I leaned I . Made space. And held deep compassion for ME in ways I never had before. And because of this, I am able to support more people and organizations. From a place of knowing. From a place of continued wonder. Because at the end of the day, that’s what this dance is all about. Making the little moments matter. Supporting yourself at all costs. Asking for help when you need it. And standing in your sacred ground with reverence and love for self and others.
May 2021 have moments of learning for you. May 2022 do the same. And when you are looking into those crevices and dark places, hold your worth with tenderness. You are sacred.