Sometimes it takes a big change, to change…

The day I lost my job was horrible. I had been there for 9 years and I loved the people I worked with, and I was "comfortable". However, I was unhappy at my job. The position I had was a struggle almost everyday. A struggle to get into projects, a struggle to be heard, and for us we constantly had to convince management that we were necessary. Weird right? Our roles and positions were made by management, but we had to fight to be heard and taken seriously. We were looked at as a necessary "evil" of sorts, a requirement that our clients needed the company to have in order to work on their projects. It was brutal and the decisions I saw being made, let alone how I was treated was frustrating and difficult to manage.

I found joy in different aspects of my work. Our company did a lot of charity work in the community, the largest were the campaigns for United Way. Our company took this campaign extremely seriously, and the employees who chaired the campaign were responsible to raise a large sum of money in a short period of time. I got involved slowly at first, and loved it. To this day it is still one of the best things I have EVER done, and something that I am extremely proud of. The responsibility was enormous. We needed to reach and get over 2000 employees (in 7 separate buildings across the city), engaged in a meaningful way, motivate over 100 volunteers, and meet with the CEO and management to present our progress, ideas and goals on a weekly basis. I LOVED IT!! I loved that I got to lead an amazing team of volunteers, create new events, and most importantly raise money for our community. Once completed managed the most successful campaign our company had ever had, and were well over our goal of dollars raised. Myself and my team was a success, and had I absolutely never felt better. Getting praise and respect from both the CEO of our company and the United Way was the icing on the cake. It was a really good time in my life and everything should have been great...

About a week or two prior to the end of the campaign, the manager of my area called me into his office in regards to an email I had sent to staff. It was a last email asking for their decision (yes or no) to donate. Even if they decided no, this still helped with our numbers for participation. Now to be clear, at the start of the campaign and me becoming chair, he had told me that he did not believe our company should be putting so much time into "stuff like this" and thought it was a waste of time. He NOT ONCE showed any interest at all during the campaign. Now, in his office his tone was angry and he was unhappy that I did not go to him beforehand with this last email. I won't go into details but I was told in no uncertain terms that the campaigns success did not matter, that I had a lot to learn about business and that I had better watch myself and how I acted. In a matter of minutes, this man took my confidence and joy in doing a good job, and completely destroyed it, over an email I had written. I do believe that something else was going on under the surface between him and the CEO, but by the end of that "conversation" I was literally backed up to the elevator, where I finally said I had to go. He never apologized, and instead a year later told me that according to his "crucial conversations" course he had handled the situation correctly...he was the worst manager I had ever encountered, and continued to be for years. Always belittling me behind closed doors. He is still there...managing staff.

So the point to this story? This is just how it was at my job and what happened at that meeting became a metaphor for my time at this company. Working hard, trying to be heard, trying to come up with new ideas...to very little recognition or positive reception. I never knew what I was doing wrong, or if I was doing something wrong at all. I was so hungry for mentorship, leadership and willing to learn. It never came. Now ask me how my mindset was after a years of this? I was stressed, anxious, and angry...for a long time. I knew I was stressed, but I didn't know how to change it. And change was so scary...even though my job was stressful, it was comfortable. Then as I said, the layoff came....and it ended up being the best thing that could have ever happened.

I lost my job, then 10 days later I lost my grandpa. I was in a terrible place, I was not sure how to cope so I unconsciously decided to remove myself from my old routine. My old routine of worrying and taking care of everyone but myself. So I turned off the noise, and the first thing I did was to continue with my personal trainer. There they didn't really know me (yet), and I could completely focus on getting strong, lifting weights and be completely removed from everything I knew. Her and my new workout buddy, let me cry, swear, and supported me every step. Time passed, and I got better and I got stronger. Soon training sessions were something I looked forward too, being held accountable for what I was eating became easier....and soon this all became a lifestyle.

Now I am certain that one person cannot convince me that I am not good enough, or take away the confidence I have gained in myself. For me, changing came after I was pushed over a ledge. It also came once I had people that outwardly and unabashedly believed in me and my capabilities. Taking care of myself, and having like minded people around me for support was how I eventually changed my mindset and my lifestyle. Did it take time? Yes, lots of time. Did I do it all at once? No, I did it by doing one thing, or changing one habit at a time. However, 6 years after feeling proud for doing something great, I have that same feeling again. This time, there isn't someone telling me I'm still not good enough. This time no one has the power to take it away from me...

For so many of you, change can seem impossible. The stress and anxiety we get from changing something big or small in our lives can be too great, and so we get stuck, comfortable or complacent. For me, it took a big change to make a lasting change in my life. What I know for sure, is that once I started, all I wanted to do was push forward. one step at a time. So, if you are thinking about making a change to better health then think about starting small....not all of us need the big push off the edge like I had!

Try the tips and strategies in my Mom's Guide to Eating Well on The Go. It's full of small things you can do right now, that will help lead to bigger changes later. You can sign up to receive it at the bottom of my Blog page. Let me know what you think...message me anytime! I would love to hear from you.

Jennifer

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