“She learns that what is achievable isn’t always what is important,” Brendon Burchard. Sometimes we have to go through some shit to understand what matters the most. I used to think that what we value is clear, a no-brainer but there are times it takes a raw view to define what we value. Losing what we love or really struggling to achieve a goal. Sometimes it takes getting exactly what we thought we wanted to see what is really important. Seeing the effort it takes or what the actual sacrifice is to let us know that there is something else we should be working for.
I always thought I wanted to climb to the top of the corporate world. I thought a title and status would prove my worth—and that maybe someone would look at me as more than just a short girl. That drive transferred into everything I did. My whole life became about proving how much I knew, how capable I was, that I wasn’t to be underestimated. Anytime someone disrespected me became a reason for me to have a meltdown, or it was further proof that I would always be seen as nothing more than the short girl. Spending all that time on proving myself was killing me.
We have zero control over how the world interprets us. We are biologically programmed to make quick decisions based on first impressions because we used to have to determine if something would kill us. That instinct hasn’t gone away, rather instead of judging our safety, we judge people’s appearances. I resented that so much and used it as an excuse for my perceived lack of success. I felt like people wouldn’t give me a shot because my shortness was perceived as weakness. And that did happen but I learned that in the corporate world, it was more of a popularity contest than a qualification contest. If you did something the group didn’t approve of that was excuse enough to exclude you.
After 19 years of that, I’ve realized that I no longer want to participate in that game. I saw that the more I sacrificed of myself whether it be my own time, time with my family, money, going to events I had no interest in, taking on projects without full consent, the further I got. The line was clear: choose the corporation over personal and you will get where you want. I’ve watched coworkers give up time with their kids to the point the kids are suffering, I’ve seen hours away from the home when they desperately needed rest, I’ve seen people coming in so sick they could have been hospitalized just to get a project done. And honestly, I’ve done all of those things myself. No matter how much I’ve given up, they always want more—and the second the boundary is drawn, I’m not a team player.
I know what it takes to get where I thought I wanted to be. And now I don’t want to do that. Life is too damn short and it moves so fast—I know what I want to do. I know what is important to me: my family, my freedom, my time, my word, the gifts I’ve been given, having fun, and the ability to try new things, to gain new experiences. I don’t want to be locked into a corporate world with one goal: domination. There is so much more to life than being on top. And honestly, the top is a really precarious place. There are a million others who would do the same or more than you to get there—and they would sacrifice you in a second if it meant they could take your place. Some people have the drive and get off on the thrill of being number one. They relish the competition. I ask what are you really competing for?
Burchard’s quote also reminded me of the piece I wrote a while back where I talked about what we could and should do. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. And just because we have the ability doesn’t mean that’s what we want to do. We have to evaluate our lives and prioritize what is important otherwise you will spend your time working on what is important to someone else. Do what is right for you—and that means knowing what is right for you.