Tuesday, December 22, 2015

She hesitated when it mattered the most

A colleague retired a few years ago. She was amazing when it came to putting portfolios together. In the year when she left work abruptly she had an amazing performance. So what went wrong?

My colleague was a bundle of energy. Well, perhaps more of a pressure cooker or a bull-dog, come to think of it. She abused many others as well as herself with her relentless efforts to add value. She wanted that promotion so much that others had gotten before her, and she knew that time was running out to make it as she was slowly approaching retirement age. She had anger outburst; at people who didn't share her vision, people who stood in her way, and US politics and government. 

I had sympathy for her struggles; yet, I always wanted to tell her that the root cause of all her perceived misery was the fact that whenever it was her moment to shine in public, she backed away. It was not shyness, it was more a self-destruct button that she activated the moment when it mattered most. I have no idea what the root cause of her problem was - I didn't know her that well. 

In the end she probably made the right decision to quit. Perhaps she can try again to express herself professionally in a more relaxed working environment. My hunch though, she will miss our firm given that she knew deep down that our firm is pretty special place. She has so much to be proud of, she is so resourceful and driven, so perhaps she can tackle her lingering demons somewhere else.

Do you have any conflicts or struggles that you perceive in your life? Do something about it today. Talk to a life coach, get some outside perspective. It turned out that for my colleague all her perceived struggles and obstacles were nothing but re-channeled conflicted energy. How much more productive she would have been had she focused on herself instead of others.

I certainly learned from her experience, and year after year, work on my lingering demons. I will not quit in the moment when it matters most, but I too have to learn how to state my professional insights in a more determined and forceful fashion. This nice thing about a stated goal is, once you know what the issue you have to work on is, you can get better day after day. It is curious that way, if you raise the bar on yourself, you tend to be way too occupied to be angry at other people. 

Moral of the story: find a way to be your best - you owe it to yourself.

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