Yesterday, American history suffered the loss of a visionary and a woman who made history — Toni Morrison. She touched us with her words and changed how we saw the world through her verbal expression of how it should be experienced. As many posts circulated revolving around the inspiring words she spoke and advice she gave on how to live our lives, I was reminded of how deep of an impact she’s left behind. One post in particular, that really hit home with me was this one posted by the New Yorker Magazine because if I’m being honest, I felt like it addressed the exact things I felt I’d been struggling heavily with recently. In four simple statements, she put it all into perspective for me.
I wanted to expand on my experiences to get them off of my chest, but to also potentially help someone else. I personally feel like when we acknowledge and express the things that hold us back, we can then begin to move forward.
Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss, but for yourself.
I am finally rising out of what felt like a heavy smoke cloud at work. It’d been going on for months. Oddly enough, I’ve been with my current company for five years and earlier this year it felt like my grip was slipping on the job that I’d been exceeding at since I first started working here. Granted, this has certainly been a transitional period for me. I’d been wedding planning since last year so I blamed it on my attention being split. Then, my historically small department doubled in size, roles shifted and I ended up working under a new manager, since my manager who’d become much more like family, was growing into a new role that would grow her in a different direction. I also became a manager for the first time, and was leading a quick-paced section of our company all on my own. I was having such a hard time gaining a grasp on a job that I was so used to doing with my eyes closed. I was also struggling to adjust to the new dynamic between me and my new manager, that was polar opposite to the one I’d been accustomed to, while trying to learn how to be a supportive, fun and knowledgeable manager to my new employee, Angie (who’s amazing by the way). All in all… All things “comfort” were gone. My job had gotten difficult, to the point to where I was questioning if it was still the place for me. After months of discomfort, I finally realized that the discomforts I was experiencing did not have to effect the work that I needed to do. I knew for a fact I could do the work and do it well, and I should still be giving it my all because it’s my reputation, my career, and my life. Regardless of how I was feeling about my new boss, new department dynamic, or new workload. I want to do well, for myself.
You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
The struggles I was facing at work were really beginning to chisel away at me. It got to the point to where I felt I may not be capable or a good fit for the role anymore. Reading this has made me recognize, I’ve made this job. I’ve grown the quality of the work that we do and have contributed some essential and key standards to the processes that are in place at this point. I came to this job being who I was, and then made the job what I felt like it needed to be. I didn’t take this job and become the kind of person that should be in this role. I’ve not only found comfort in knowing that, but more importantly, confidence.
Your real life is with us, your family.
Since getting married, my priorities have naturally shifted to spending quality time with my husband, making sure things in our household are taken care of and enjoying this new journey together. Even more so, my sister has a new baby and we’ve been spending weekend after weekend as a family. Playing uno, having dance contests and snuggling on the couch. So many days without makeup in yoga pants and oversized t-shirts, with Whataburger spreads and no fancy dinners. Not glamorous, not inspiring or even profitable. Every single day that I don’t take a photo for Instagram, or open up my laptop to log into my site, or give my all to projects at the office — I feel like shit. Like I’m not doing my job. Like what I’ve worked so hard for year after year will slip away from me if I don’t keep up with it. Nate has truly blessed me by reminding me that my real life is at home, in the relationships that I have with my family and the moments that we share among one another. It’s not in the office, or on an app on my phone, or even on this site that I’ve worked so hard to build and maintain. Our real lives are with the people that we love, and I’m finding solace in basking in that.
You are not the work you do, you are the person you are.
This point follows my last so perfectly. I’ve shaped my mind to feel like in order to continually improve, I must always be working. Telling myself that this life is short, I’ve gotta hustle, gotta work harder. While that has been a positive mindset to have throughout my 20’s, it can be detrimental to your self worth. What I know for sure is that the tribe that I’ve built through this website, and everyone I’ve connected with thanks to my social networks, who I am, with myself, with my friends, with you all, will always and forever trump the content that I create, the photos I take or the quotes that I share. We are not our failures, our time at work, or what we fail to do to make our next $100. We are how we inspire others, how we interact with and treat them. We are who we are inside.
I hope this moment of transparency resonated with you. I know so many of you have responded to my Instastories discussing how I felt I couldn’t quite figure out why I was in such a peculiar space. Things are certainly clearing up for me and I’m finally putting this new normal into perspective. I’ll very likely be diving into a Toni Morrison book this weekend to commemorate her life and see what else I can make sense out of.