Thursday, May 12, 2016

Not living your full potential feels like a lot like failure.

Circumstances have been challenging my ego recently. I won't go into details about my job, or conversations, or context. Suffice it to say that this year has really made me question what it is I'm doing in my career. So much so I find myself thinking in circles, at a loss for answers, and suppressing emotions with whiskey and chocolate (2 of the 4 DubyaWife food groups). 

I'm not a humble person. I know what I'm good at and I'm not afraid to show or talk about it. And I've heard "you're a very vibrant person" or "you're so animated" so many times that when I receive the compliment I internally say "I know" and externally say "thank you." Recently I was at a conference where people who I've met for 5 minutes questioned my career. In their defense, I invited the advice and please understand it came from a place of help, not harm. But when you hear other successful people (at least what I view as success) tell you you're talented and could be doing bigger and better things - it stings.

Simply put, I've always felt that there's a part of me that I could give back to the world. Something amazing, something profound, and something uniquely me. And I've been on this personal (and professional) journey waiting  hoping for that opportunity. Perhaps my thinking is flawed. Perhaps I've given many unique wonderful things to the world and there isn't one finite thing that will define me. Or perhaps my greatness hasn't yet been fulfilled. These type of circular thoughts send my head spinning.

Reality is the reason I haven't been eaten up by this emotion is that the time isn't hasn't been right yet. I have a few short years before my daughter moves on to college and my home life will look very different. And maybe that's the excuse I've given myself all these years, but I have no problems justifying a quieter, stable career that allows me the time and energy to be a mother than a flashy, high yield career that leaves me feeling like an absent parent. And when I hear myself say that I think about the number of people who will say "there's never a right time to work hard." I'm a pragmatic person not prone to wild ideas of quitting jobs and chasing career dreams. But success stories are filled with "One day I just made the leap." And every time I hear a success story I think about the other hundred people who tried and failed.

Regardless, today has me feeling like a failure. Not because I've failed, but because maybe just maybe I'm "more than" and accepting  allowing "less than." When do you push hard in life or when do you just allow opportunities to present themselves? When do you fight your circumstances or when do you cocoon waiting patiently for the transformation? By nature, I'm a curious, intuitive and cynical person. Problem is that I can turn inward and run myself ragged with questions that have no clear answers.


  1. As someone who took a leap, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I "leapt" into another job, and though it was great experience, it was more of a reaction away from where I was than the golden ticket I was hoping for. Sometimes I wonder if I should have stuck it out a little longer and waited for something better. So don't judge yourself for not being brave enough to leap -- it sounds like you will be brave enough when the right reason to jump comes along.