Some believe we are all put on earth for a purpose- to achieve our greatest potentials. And before we can achieve that, there are tonnes of trials, wrong turns and roadblocks- placed to help to mold us to be who we can become. If we deny or try to run away from it, we may find ourselves having to deal with the same issues and fears again and again… until we learn to acknowledge and overcome it. When we do that, we find ourselves on the next level- and eventually through a series of challenges we emerge… as the victor.
An athlete is not born with muscles, skills and agility- winning a game is through years of hard work and training. So is it for us, when we want to achieve what we are placed here to do, we would probably undergo lots of trials and practices to ‘prepare’ us.
Face it like a good sport, and we overcome one hurdle. Run away from it, we find that the same issue may come back in another form. Eventually there is no where else to run to or we get so fed-up that we may decide to just face it.
Totally shut down from it, and the repression may manifest into health issues related to stress.
A good example is workplace stress. Just yesterday, I met a long time dear friend and we started catching up on old times. He is now working in a multinational company and he was thinking about resigning because his boss was giving him a hard time. The thing is, he was fortunate to land on the job as was in his area of interest. Just that it consist of very long hours, sometimes having to come back and work on weekends. He got along well with his subordinates and other colleagues but somehow did not see eye-to-eye with his female boss. He felt his boss constantly fault find and never appreciates him no matter how hard he worked. At the same time, he was offered a job by his friend who owns a company- that matches the pay of his current company but it is not in an industry that he liked.
I told my friend, perhaps he was there for a reason. Prior to the multinational company, he has been doing freelance on his own for many years and was fortunate that a very well known multinational company had offered him a Manager’s position with a high pay. Sometimes, we may not like the management but instead of focusing on them, why not we focus on those who we can serve and help. Whom our skills and abilities can benefit.
If we work for a lousy management and still be able to serve those who deserves to be served, we would first need to overcome our own ego, judgment and self righteousness. That requires rising upon ourselves and having compassion to help others regardless of rank. Majority of the companies today have ROI as their bottom line to appease the shareholders. Their practices may not agree with our personal values- and we cannot keep resigning from all these jobs- if we insist to stand firm by our ‘values’, then we probably would not have a job. We may instead choose to think that our role can help ease others who are in the company to earn an honest living and perhaps we may serve customers and help other people. And we do what we can- we need not kill ourselves in the process by absorbing all the stress.
It takes a lot of inner work to get through- the hardest hurdle to overcome is probably our own inner hurdle. When at first we are not up to it, physical stress related health symptoms may manifest- headaches, weight gain due to comfort eating, anger management issues, lower back problems, recurring sinus/ flu/ throat infections, blood pressure and chest pain. If we find that even though we have changed jobs, we have to face the same issues again and again, overcoming them may help us overcome that health symptoms that accompanies the stress.
From my experience and through observing those around me, it is very difficult to have everything you want in a job. No matter how much you love the job, there is always a downside to it… unsupportive boss, long commuting hours, frequent travelling, long hours, low pay, etc. There would always be something….standing between us and the ultimate dream job. It’s true even in relationships- there would be plus and minus points in our partners, friends or family members.
In the end, our choice is a compromise- we choose this in spite of whatever shortcomings. It’s whether we can live with the compromises.
During the first few jobs, we may just take off and move on to the next better offer- only to find ourselves facing the same issues, or problems again and again. For example, some of us are just destined not to have smooth sailing jobs- that wherever we go, we are placed into a position of responsibility, of having to take care of lots of people, to solve problems, pick up mess…..we can resign and move on to the next job, only to find ourselves thrown into a similar position again.
A friend of mine hates to manage people. She was placed to do the job and hated it- and actually, all her staff loved and have nothing for her but praises. But she felt burnt out and overwhelmed by it probably driven by her own expectations of the standards she had within herself. Eventually she resigned and went to another company with a post that she had wanted. Later, she was more or less transferred into a similar position where she again had to manage a group of people, in which she left the company and went to another company …only to find that she had to also take on the task again. The thing is that she was good at it, but she had hated it. Perhaps there was a learning she needed to acquire to help in her personal growth. And she would continue to face it until she had decided to work on any personal shortcoming that prevented her from being happy in that role.
I too, find myself having being made to help out more and more often in the kind of roles that I dislike even though it was not part of my job description. Initially I loathe it, got very angry and developed all kinds of health symptoms, including feeling overwhelmed and burnout, sinus, sleeping disorder, weight gain due to comfort eating. My health was going downhill and one day I told myself I might as well face these challenges that I’ve been running away from. I am slowly able to see that much of the unhappiness and stress have been my own making. Slowly, it’s tough, but I learned to face it like a good sport- and find myself developing more aptitude to really help. Most of the time we would like to think that we like to serve and help others- but how often are we willing to really help others at the extend of inconveniencing ourselves or having no praises or acknowledgement? To really serve and help others with a happy heart, we first must develop genuine love and acceptance for ourselves. Then only we can help and serve others without feeling burnt out.
Like I told my friend who complain about his unappreciative boss- I told him don’t do it for her…. but for his subordinates who have learned to count on him for guidance. Do it for himself- because he is good at bonding, encouraging and motivating people. We should not just place our happiness in the words and moods of others- if people praises us (even though it is faked), we are happy. If people scold us, then we are depressed or suicidal- that’s silly, isn’t it. Whose life is it anyway?
And you know what, the funny thing is that once we really develop the skills that we are meant to develop, the signs would come for us to move on. When you’ve been to a tough situation and overcome it, the next path opens up….and whatever it may lead it, it would be always something that we can handle.