I am just like everyone else! This is who I am. I have fears, desires, needs, questions that push me to go further and questions that, on the contrary, make me freeze in my steps and doubt my decisions!
Am I normal to ask myself so many questions? Is it even possible to ask too many questions? Which questions are considered to be reasonable? Which ones are the right questions? Do you see what I mean?…
In fact, all psychologists and key speakers agree: questioning is healthy and helps us advance, evolve and improve our relations with others and with our inner self. And therefore, it is not to be doubted or questioned!
Several months ago, I had to take some big decisions about my professional life. Decisions that keep me up at night, that prevent me from enjoying the present moment, but that are necessary… The details of why I found myself faced with these decisions are not important, but you should know that I appreciate my comfort and I respect my commitments. When I finally made up my mind to quit the job I had for 11 years, insomnia became my partner for better or for worse! But you know, when a new opportunity comes around like that, without us even looking for it (at least not consciously), we must put everything into question and rethink it all, we cannot ignore it!
So, I’ve been working with a new team for a few months now. I left behind a stable and comfortable job, my colleagues, my friends, many inspiring discussions during lunch hours, my bosses who knew me rather well, my job tasks and responsibilities that I practically knew by heart, my cute window office and a promising career!
I accepted a job offer from a young company, whose challenges had nothing to do with what I knew so well. Yet, it made me feel alive and passionate again. Now, I often work alone in front of my laptop; the other members of our team are on the road most of the time. There are some monthly meetings and exchanges with colleagues, but these are far from the subjects that I would love to discuss during my lunch breaks! I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home whenever I feel like it. And on these days, the glowing screen of my laptop is my only companion. This is as far as you can get from the passionate office cooler discussions I used to have! Each week, new tasks are added to my list, new responsibilities that I’ve never had before. Ideas rushing through my head at any time of the day, mostly when everyone else is fast asleep… but there is no paid overtime for this! Sometimes I miss my comfy emotional slippers, but I know they are gone. It was my choice as they became boring and I no longer felt sexy in them!
Would you have accepted a new career turn like this? Today, I can say it was the right decision. All my days are focused on the challenges that my new team give me. Every day I grow more passionate about these wonderful projects in which I believe with all my heart… But to be honest, it is not without doubts, fears and anxieties!
Some people are bold and audacious, they are real go-getters, they can easily dive into the unknown and take risks. And to them I say thank you for being there! You drive our beautiful society with your countless projects and you are an inspiration for the rest of us. We all know people like that. My boss is one of them! Others, me included, are more like cautious dreamers, whose aspirations are like a castle in the sky or a far-away planet! Do I go for it? Am I risking getting lost along the way? Would I be financially capable to keep my lifestyle? Do I have the guts for it? Would I be able to take the right decisions and do the right things, investing a part of me in this company and thus making a difference? Will my family be able to deal with the stress, joys and sacrifices that come with my new job? Do I have what it takes to live up to the expectations of my new boss? As I said, questions, questions, never-ending questions rushing through my head…
Whether you are a go-ahead type or one of those who question themselves during sleepless nights, you all have equal chances to make it in life. Your paths will be different, but the success of companies and organizations comes from the dedication of people of all sorts. Just be aware that if you decide to start a business or change jobs, these questions may not all have answers in the short term. And it may be for the better – that’s what keeps us alive and engaged! The unknown is not so bad after all!
You, bosses, will have to deal with all these personalities and find the potential in each of them. If an employee decides to leave the job for something new, you should see it as an opportunity to improve and to build on it. Yet not all managers would ask for the true reasons behind this decision to quit the job. I am talking here about getting to the bottom of things. An employee who is 100% happy would never leave. Thus it is a perfect occasion to understand the emotional dynamics and the real motivations for this departure. Are you ready to hear them and to make sure that other good employees do not follow in search of a better life? As a leader, you can’t please everyone, of course. There are constraints, regulations, agreements, etc. But understanding the internal issues that your employees live and willing to listen to them is already a step towards achieving happiness of your team members. A compromise is certainly a good solution, if possible. Each departure should lead to in-depth evaluation and reflection.
I must say that I’ve learned a lot since I started my new job. Above all, I realized that I must trust my instincts, sometimes listen to my heart and sometimes listen to my head. We often forget that there must be a dialogue between the two. Fears and questions are normal and fundamental, and must not be ignored. Sometimes, we should get out of our comfortable slippers and slide on a pair of new shiny shoes. You know, these beautiful new shoes that make us suffer at first, but also make us feel good about ourselves, powerful and ready to take on the world! Eventually they’ll be broken in, don’t worry… So, set aside a budget to update them when the time is right! During the times of doubt, ask yourself if you fear change or you fear failure. As Albert Einstein said, you never fail until you stop trying.
In conclusion, let’s review my motivations when I decided to go ahead and change jobs. Of course, my personal goal was to show that I could deal with the challenge, to learn new skills, to build my confidence and self-esteem, and to prove to myself that the blisters on my feet are not the end of the world if the journey is filled with happiness and discoveries! And also, each new person I meet on this path will be my source of inspiration and motivation to surpass myself.
Enjoy the road ahead! Stay alive and let life surprise you!
Mylène Grégoire, expert in questioning!