It Starts with a Choice

I was at Havi’s Sacramento workshop last Friday.

One of the things I learned was that I know more about who my Right People are than I thought.

A big realization was that the people I work best with have made a choice – the same choice I made a few years ago.

Time for a story…

Ten-ish years ago, I had managed to break into a real IT job as a self-taught database designer. I had been working toward that goal for a couple years at that point. So there I was “living the dream.”

It took less than a year before I was utterly miserable.

When I wasn’t at work, I was dreading going to work. When I was at work, every time I received an email or heard my phone ring, my stomach would drop like I was on a horrific amusement park ride.

One thing you’ll learn about me is that I’m not good at hiding my feelings. At. All.

My marriage was suffering because I was coming home pissed off every night. My attitude at the office was appalling. How I didn’t get disciplined, I don’t know, because every new assignment that came in led to eye-rolling and pushing back because it would be a pain in the ass for me.

It would be a pain in the ass for me to, you know, do my job.

A pattern emerges

After who knows how long that went on, I began to realize it was a pattern.

When I looked back at my time in the Caribbean, the same thing had happened – I wound up feeling utter dread and resentment toward doing my job.

Except back then, I didn’t know about patterns, so my noticing was more like, “Hey, that misery is kind of like this misery.” I didn’t have any tools to interact with the pattern to understand what I was needing.

If you’re wondering what this story has to do with choices, I’m about to tell you.

When I look back at the seven-ish years it took me to go from miserable worker bee to full-time entrepreneur, I realize it all started with one choice.

I chose to believe I had the power to change things.

And even when I felt as though things would never actually change, I wanted to believe they would.

That one choice started me on the road to where I am now, albeit with some detours along the way.

For most of my life it never occurred to me that I was the only one responsible for it. I operated as though I was waiting for something. So I guess in a strange way I’m grateful for the misery, because it helped me get to a point where I was desperate enough to do something about it.

Making big changes in your life takes lots of work.

Not just work but hard work.

So hard that sometimes I’ve wanted to take the blue pill and go back to blissful ignorance. Except that my ignorance was hardly blissful.

It’s perfectly reasonable to doubt you can create what you want. And just to be clear, I am not talking about creating in the Law of Attraction sense. (Ew!) I’m talking about making shit happen through hard work that only you can do for yourself.

If you didn’t have moments of doubt and disbelief, I would worry that you were a Stepford Spouse or something.

But if somewhere inside yourself you can hold on to the belief that you can figure out what your Thing is and launch it into the world (or even if you can only hang on to the desire to believe), the rest can be learned.

Once you’ve made that choice, it’s about getting the support you need. And about being open to learning new ways to help yourself. And about engaging with your stuff compassionately.

7 thoughts on “It Starts with a Choice

  1. Random Kath

    Hooray! And I say hooray because I only recently came to the realization myself that I *have* made a choice to figure out what my thing is and who my Right People are. Now, have I figured out how to move from the point of stuck to act on that? Um, no, not yet. But I have to give myself credit for identifying the problem in the first place and trying to not get bummed out about everything else. Thanks for letting me have this space to recognize that! :-)

  2. Nathalie Lussier

    Ahh… so true! I also did the corporate software-like job… and although I didn’t roll my eyes (teehee!) I did resent some of the requests/work I had to do. I definitely see looking back that I’ve always had that entrepreneurial trait, but that I was picking jobs that didn’t support that side of me. That and I was young and wasn’t sure what to expect. :)

    Now things are smoothing along on my entrepreneurial journey, and I’m loving the choice I made!
    .-= Nathalie Lussier´s last blog ..What Are Goji Berries? =-.

  3. Hiro Boga

    Victoria, I love how clearly you’ve articulated this journey from resentment and powerlessness to the understanding that you always have the power to choose. It puts your life back into your own hands.

    And then these wise next steps: “Once you’ve made that choice, it’s about getting the support you need. And about being open to learning new ways to help yourself. And about engaging with your stuff compassionately.”

    Thanks for a nourishing, uplifting post.

  4. Casey

    I completely understand what you say “So there I was “living the dream.” It took less than a year before I was utterly miserable.” I trained and worked for years to be a copy editor and I loved Macs. Eventually I got the job being the Macworld copy editor (yes, singular, like in “Highlander”, there can be only one). Within six months I was utterly miserable, primarily because my boss was a “do as I say not as I do” kind of boss. I held on long enough for them to fire me with a decent severance package. Then and there, I made the choice that there were BS things in the work world which with I would not put up. And every job since then has been for better pay, with better clients, and far more enjoyable. Now I’m moving forward on biggifying my thing, and even though I’m not yet sure exactly how to do that, I am certain that I will do it.
    Thank you for sharing your story and helping us all recognize that we do have a choice, and that that choice can make a huge difference in work and in play.

  5. Maya

    Beautifully written and so true! Thank you so much for sharing yourself the way you do. You inspire me greatly to keep on sharing myself and putting myself out there!

    To inspiration, support and truth!

  6. Victoria Post author

    @Random Kath – Yay for giving yourself credit – that is such an important part of the process of getting unstuck! I’m definitely cheering you on!

    @Nathalie – Ah yes…the entrepreneurial trait. I never felt like I had it because I was convinced I was just a bad employee. I think it’s hard to really grasp the idea if we haven’t already been exposed to it.

    @Hiro – You’ve taught me so much about choices and sovereignty. I’m so thankful for that.

    @Casey – Ooh…bonus points for the Highlander reference! Yay for not putting up with BS! And you totally hit the nail on the head – you can choose to biggify something even if you don’t know how, yet.

    @Maya – Thank you, m’dear! I guess another decision I made was that I couldn’t thrive if I had to hide who I really am – quirks or otherwise. :)

  7. Kelly Parkinson

    Totally relate to this. When I quit my job, I thought that was The Choice, and I wouldn’t have to make any more agonizing ‘should-I-shouldn’t-I’-type decisions. Ha ha. It turns out that was just the beginning. The deliberating never ends. I have to make hard choices all the time now that aren’t so clear-cut, but that feel even more important. But the big choice of quitting set a precedent. It helps me trust my judgment now, when “right” and “wrong” decisions don’t seem so obvious.

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