Today, three years ago, I started my “big girl job.” I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how much I’ve grown and changed throughout my life. Personally, I think the biggest growth has happened the last three years mainly due to joining the workforce.
A couple weeks ago I was talking to my coworker, Sarah, explaining how I was asked to be a team leader for an initiative but feel unqualified for the role as the other team leaders are much more experienced than myself. I told her how I feel inadequate because I have been relying on my team to help point me in the right direction because I have no idea what I’m doing. She responded with a quote that our TA director, Peter, once told her, “Growth is uncomfortable.” I couldn’t help but think this is so accurate in so many aspects of my life, not just work.
When I first started working I was so eager to learn as much as I could but also prove to my new team and management that I was worth their investment. Because of this, I said yes to every project or task I was asked to do no matter how thin my bandwidth truly was. It finally took a mental breakdown (literally) 2.5 years in, for me to realize it’s not a sign of weakness to say no or ask for help when it’s too much. It’s been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as I always want to help out but, I also realized I’m a much bigger value add when I’m not stretched to a breaking point. I also have realized that through taking assignments I don’t necessarily feel qualified for is when the most growth happens.
Similar to my work situations, I’ve always tried to be the one that pleases everyone in my personal life. In being this way it has often resulted in being taken advantage of or as my mom would say, “being a doormat.” The thought of sticking up for myself was a lot more terrifying than not saying anything. The issue I’m running into now is that I’ve realized I do need to stick up for myself but because I’ve had that “doormat” mentality for so long, when I try to people who have known me for a while see it as rude. I will say I’ve gotten a lot better at saying how I feel but this is definitely a growth area for me that will be uncomfortable, probably forever. But, I’ve also realized that my true friends also care to hear my opinion and respect it and if someone isn’t willing to listen or consider your thoughts, feelings or opinions then they maybe aren’t a true friend.
I know I still have a ton of growing up to do and that growth will continue to happen at work, within myself and my relationships. All I have to say is I’ve had a great 25 years and have learned a lot and I’m ready to take on the next 25…after I cry because I only have one year left on my parents insurance ;). Just remember as you maybe experience some of the things I have that when it’s uncomfortable it means you’re growing (thanks for this Peter and Sarah).