We wear so many ‘hats’ and ‘masks’ as women that it can present a challenge to truly knowing who we really are. The challenges of living day-to-day can easily overshadow our dreams if we are not careful. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems. I had the misfortune of working for a company that never valued my talents or gifts. And because I started there at a young age, I began to believe what was poured into my spirit: no matter how hard I worked or what I brought to the table, true advancement never seemed to be an option. In those early formative years, I lost sight of me.
My self-worth on the job was pretty low and now fast-forward 20+ years later –having left the job 3 years ago, I ‘ve gone through the process of being a caterpillar emerging into a beautiful butterfly- teaching myself again the qualities that make me unique. Not teaching per se as in learning ‘all over again’ but rather, teaching myself about myself. I’ve learned what my talents are in terms of their value –my writing, art, and technical skills. It has been an amazing journey and not one to be taken lightly by me.
This is by no means an excuse or in no way am I laying blame on anyone for the ‘wrongs’ in my life. What I’d like women (particularly young women) to hone in on is this: we have to protect our gifts and not allow anyone or anything to shut them down. Sadly, there are people who recognize the glimmer of your gift/potential. They’ll feel that you are a “supposed” threat to them and you’ll find they aren’t quite in your corner as you’d hoped or thought. As a result, they will begin to drag you down.
It’s unfortunate because when we start believing–either spoken or implied by others—that we have no worth or value, that is when we begin to allow someone to hold or pin us down and that is when things begin to unravel in our lives. Usually, the unravelling is so subtle that we don’t see it until it’s too late. That’s why it’s really important, especially for our younger generation (ages 22+) to know their worth. Know what you bring to the table and have confidence in that. Seek out people who can mentor you and can hone your gifts.
The only people who can do that for you are those who are not threatened by your talents and what you have to offer. That person will listen to what you actually have to say and will give value to your input and be a willing teacher—knowing that the outcome will also benefit them. This is a lesson that, unfortunately, has taken me 25 years to learn because I was bound down and stuck in fear on my job. Fearful because it was stable and provided job security which is important if you are raising a child or have a home, car, and other very real responsibilities. The result is that as the years roll by, you become afraid to take risks and break free from what seems to be a “lose-lose” situation—never realizing what you are truly capable of.
Well, the reality is that I DID lose my home and the car broke down (which I couldn’t replace until 2 years later), and things snowballed from there. The job that I was so determined to hold onto eventually became detrimental to my health and I had no choice but to leave anyway–so much for living in fear!
If you feel stuck (my bolder sisters) dig deep, count the cost, and then take some risks. Better that than be stuck in a ‘place’ that doesn’t allow you to grow or in which you lose yourself just to survive. I’m not advocating that anyone jump up leave their job. Just that you not lose yourself –or your dreams- along the way. Though I’m currently unemployed, I’ve still been blessed to have extraordinary opportunities come my way and I’m re-discovering who I am in terms of my gifts and more importantly, the strength of my gifts. With that discovery comes renewed self-esteem and confidence. I have no regrets leaving my job. In fact, I see it as a blessing in disguise because the things that are now before me far outweigh any pain and stress I went through during those years.
Young sisters, it’s important to not be afraid to spread your wings. Understand that you are still young and that the rewards you acquire later will be so much worth the risks you take now. Jobs will come – even in this market so don’t get stuck! Get your education, use it, and don’t allow anyone to hold you back because they see potential and want to clip your wings.
We have to remember to ‘stay in the knowing’ of ourselves so life does not rob us of whom we really are. Fly butterflies!
Bolder Sisters, have you recognized pitfalls that pinned you down in life or in your career? What risks did you take to navigate around them?
Kim Woods earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University. She developed a love for writing poetry and short stories as a child. Kim is socially conscience and her desire to use her life experiences to help others is what drives her to seek opportunities to share her story. She decided to write freelance for the Bolder Sister because it is her desire that women evolve and thrive in their own authentic truth.
Kim resides in Chicago, Illinois and has one son, Donald. In addition to writing, she spends free time creating unique wall art, decorating, and teaching herself how to sculpture. She also has a blog Who Will Speak.