When it comes to our work lives, the one sure thing is change and challenge. We may moan and groan when faced with hurdles large or small on the job – but these are the experiences we’re most likely to remember for the growth and wisdom they bring.
Through my coaching practice and travels for speaking engagements, the most heartening stories I hear about career challenges are the ones that have led to positive outcomes, ie: the job loss that led to a whole new and better-suited career; the difficult boss that helped a client develop self-advocacy; the unexpected transfer that opened up a new part of the country and led to new love. It’s incredibly gratifying when the women I talk to have reframed the challenging times to see that they were blessings in disguise.
This was definitely the case for one of my clients who I’ll call Anna. Anna was asked to join a committee to spearhead a new initiative at her company. She was feeling overloaded in her job as it was, and couldn’t imagine how she was going to take on yet another project, but she accepted the invitation because she felt it would have “looked bad” to pass.
Signing on to the committee was challenging for Anna, to say the least. She was essentially juggling two jobs – regularly burning the midnight oil – worried she wasn’t going to be able to do justice to either one. Anna soon found, however, that she was rising to the occasion, and learning and growing in an exciting new direction. She added to her skill set, learned more about the workings of her company, and had the opportunity to interact more directly with upper management. The project that initially felt like a huge boulder being dropped on Anna’s desk, turned out to be a gift that resulted in Anna receiving a long overdue promotion and raise.
While it can be hard to see the blessings in the midst of a tough situation, I encourage you to have faith and carry on. The difficult times push us, shape us, and help us reach higher ground, and recognizing the blessing in them does wonders for putting career and life into a new, more positive perspective.