It’s not that long ago that I was sat at a desk in a pretty ugly building in a non-glamorous area of London feeling utterly abysmal about myself, my career and my abilities. I’d allowed a Jekyll-and-Hyde-type senior manager to gradually pick away at all my achievements and undermine me, my confidence and my role. For a while, I started to believe that I was rubbish at my job, casually brushing aside the successful 18-year IT and management career that had played out before. I’d ignored the fact that my team had one of the highest satisfaction rates in the division. I chose to be blind to the flattering and supportive comments made by members of the team. I got consumed by what was going on, loathing my senior manager, loathing myself, loathing everything. I was consumed by anger. I left the company and it continued to consume me for a while. This was most certainly not a Good Thing™!
Moving forward. Leaving the Anger Behind
Thankfully, I’ve moved on now. I’m ‘normal’ again!
At no point did my senior manager thump me. He didn’t stick matchsticks under my fingernails. He never even pulled my hair. So why such pain? He wasn’t inflicting the pain. The situation itself wasn’t. It was me. The situation was unexpected. It was unwanted. And I was unprepared for it. As hard as it might be to admit, you are the gatekeeper to your non-physical pain. Your mind filters the information it receives. How you see the world will be completely different to how the person next to you sees it. We all have our own filter. How a situation affects you very much depends on how you react to it and how you deal with it. If you feel hopeless, or trapped in an endless situation, your perception of reality will reflect that. You just need to remember that, whatever the situation, you always have a choice. Always. They may not be your ideal choices, but they’re there for you to make. If you’re able to believe in yourself and your achievements, that’s the reality your mind will create. No one will be able to trap you.
Choose to Move Away From That Anger
Much of what was projected onto me by my former manager was baseless judgement. He didn’t know the first thing about IT, yet I still allowed myself to be adversely affected by his critical judgement. I look back now and can see perfectly what was going on. He was an insecure little man in a position of authority and chose to project his insecurities, or at least mask them through his actions.
We all want to be liked. None of us wants to be judged too harshly. It’s said that not being liked is one of man’s greatest fears. As you progress through life and your career, you’ll likely become more visible. People may see you as a threat. You need to become more and more adept at deflecting people who project their insecurities and their own pain upon you. People will judge you, but really, it’s not about you. It’s about them. If you can see your harshest critics in this way, you’ll be a lot more comfortable with a bit of casual judgement from your peers, superiors or reports.
One of the choices you have is to stay put. To keep dealing with ‘it’ every day. Living every day hoping things will get better. You can even use what’s happened to you in the past as an excuse to stagnate. ‘Last time I went for promotion, I didn’t get it, so…’ ‘Last time I gave a talk, I forgot half of my script, so…’ So what? If you have a desire to do or be something, then focus on that. Focus on your end-goal. Learn from the past, but don’t let it define you or drag you backwards. There’s a reason the Shibuya logo is a forward-facing arrow, or delta symbol!
Your past has helped to shape you, but it’s not your present. It’s not your future. That’s there, ready for you to grab and make something of. If you need some support to do this, get it. But whatever you do, take action. Nothing is not a choice. Don’t let the anger of the past hinder the brightness of your future.
If you’d like to make that positive choice to move forward and build a brighter future, get in touch, and let’s see what we can achieve together.