Self Care Sunday ~ Uncertain Times

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It’s 10:00am on Saturday morning. I am still in my nighty, robe & fuzzy slippers. I am sipping my second cup of coffee in deep thought about life and this crazy job I’ve been in for five weeks now.

During challenging or uncertain times I find it comforting to remember what is meant for me will never miss me and what misses me was not meant for me. It’s comforting to me because it reminds that every experience, good or bad, has a purpose in our lives. It’s up to us to dig within ourselves through introspection to find the meaning or purpose and then use that knowledge to change, grow and adjust.

I’ve been in this new job for five weeks. As far as jobs go, it’s a four alarm fire and I am not even joking when I say that. It has wide political implications and it’s on our industry’s radar. I got my first “inquiry” from the folks who give us money this week 😳 I heard I should expect a lot of them. The external pressure is going to grow as the year goes on. Fortunately for me I’ve only been here five weeks so none of the heat is hitting me right now. My leaders know I am the one trying to put out the fire while navigating political landmines. The reality is the strategic planning and stakeholder engagement work that is needed to stand up this type of program with this type of reach should have been done three to six months ago. They should have secured support and buy-in from their high level counterparts long before I got here. They should have already done a Market Survey or a Public Meeting around the early part of the summer to collect the data I am trying to collect now. Someone dropped this ball on this and they dropped it hard…Now, the problem is valuable time was lost in the schedule so leaders are trying to execute without a solid foundation or stakeholder buy-ins. It’s a hot mess.  I’ve been saying this since the day I got here. They haven’t wanted to hear it and thought I didn’t know what I was doing at first🤣  The good news is legal, contracts and the experts all agree with my assessment and legal in conjunction with contracts has put a stop to things while it’s sorted out which gives me breathing room. I think someone could seriously take a hit on this.  That’s not me being dramatic; it’s me knowing who the external stakeholders are.  It won’t be me who takes the hit.  Staff members at my level rarely bare the burden but trust me the big wigs are strategizing to not catch the blame or own the risk. Some have called it “dog eat dog”; I think it is more like the “Hunger Games” 🤣Seriously, the drama in my last job had nothing on this…🤣🤣

So, how does one work in a situation this volatile? It hasn’t been easy. It’s been one fire drill after another. In a sense, I am a firefighter without water.  Believe me when I tell you, the biggest explosion could still come from external stakeholders unless someone is really good at playing the game. Right now, I am observing how leaders work the politics around this and hoping to learn something from them.

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The good news for me is that I’ve received excellent feedback from everyone I’ve work with and they respect my ability to be professional and level headed in difficult situations. That’s the “Relator – or Relationship Builder” in me. But I don’t trust any of them… Not one! It’s just words and bullshit to get me stay. My protection is that I only started five weeks ago and I’ve intentionally demonstrated in multiple briefings that the schedule was blown three months ago. Remember, according to strengthfinders.com, strategic is my #1 strength 🤣 For now, I am just putting my head down and staying focus on my strategic planning and start up action items. It’s the only way to get through the day and stay out of the drama. I’ve also been in contact with my former bosses to pursue other career options just in case it becomes too uncomfortable. I do find comfort in knowing the experts back me up and I’ve already earned the complete support of the my team in just these five short weeks. That either demonstrates that my assessment from day one was right all along or that I have strong leadership abilities. Perhaps it’s both. I would say the style of leadership I try to emulate is “Servant Leadership”.

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What I’ve learned about myself in these five weeks is interesting. I’ve learned that I can lead a diverse team on a complicated task. I’ve learned that I can effectively control meetings to stay on topic and keep the meeting productive. I’ve learned I am good at delivering unpleasant information to leaders 🤣This is truly a skill…No joke ✌️ I’ve learned I am intellectually capable of this job. I’ve learned I have the skills and ability to operate at this level. Honestly, I still say the role of a “Senior Advisor” to a leader or leadership team is the right type of role for me and I would be totally up for that type of role instead of this hot mess 🤣 Hmm, wonder if my former GM needs a Senior Advisor with my unique skill set? The most enlightening thing I’ve learned about myself in these five weeks is that I am now better at managing my holistic wellness than I used to be💙I’ve learned that I really don’t give a f**k if I stay in this job. Most importantly, I’ve learned this decision will really come down to me listening to my body and honoring my body’s needs. I am not the same person I used to be. My body is not as strong as it used to be. I need to be focused on protecting my long term health rather than meeting a milestone for someone who doesn’t give a f**k if I get sick in the process. They will replace me with someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the mission in short order.  Trust me, they won’t visit me in the hospital if I am down for the count as a result of pushing myself beyond my body’s limits. So, that is where I am right now. Stuck in uncertain times for sure!

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The reason I took this job in the first place is because I could see ten years down the road in it. Ten years down the road I can say I was part of the team who stood this up and I was part of the team that had an impact on the workforce of our industry for years to come. If I can ride out this rough start up and if my leadership can find a way to protect me from the drama, we may be able to work it out. As of today, I just don’t know how to read the situation. I will say – I welcome the Universe to deliver a new opportunity to me that meets my holistic needs. To complicate the situation even more, my GM, who recruited me for this job and who is a personal friend, accepted a job in another organization. She will be leaving in a few weeks. I’ve known this is coming… It’s a good choice for her. The truth is if she didn’t find an exit ramp, she could catch the blame even though it’s really the Exec who dropped the ball by not making a timely decision…By her making the move now, she will be protected if the shit really hits the fan. It does, however, complicate the situation for me. I’m telling you – it’s been non-stop drama everyday and that’s why I am not sure if I have the energy to ride this out even though the long term goal is something I believe in 🤣

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I am heading to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges & Universities conference in DC this Sunday to Tuesday afternoon.  I am staying at the hotel I like so I can give myself some space from the conference activities. That’s self care. I plan to visit Newseum when I get there tomorrow and then grab dinner somewhere. The President will be at the conference on Tuesday. I am not sure I will still be there when he arrives or speaks 😉

Self Care this week has complicated. I’ve learned a lot about myself and whatever happens with this crazy work situation is fine by me. I am not the same person I used to be.  I now know my holistic wellness and my long term health are more important than a lofty goal or making a name for myself in my career. When I look at the situation this way, perhaps, this all I was supposed to get from his experience…

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Loving Kindness Prayer
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be loved