December 1, 2012

Beyond the comfort zone

Today, I woke up thinking this will be the best month of the year.

There are so many things to appreciate every single day really. Everyone's moving forward in directions they want to go. Family and friends are in good or improved health. The good times exceed the bad.

For me, working where I do has been a mixed blessing and burden. I've taken on a job that I knew absolutely nothing about, going purely on other people's faith that I can get the job done. I know it's not the right fit yet, but the position's so new that the best approach for me (so I stay sane and quit complaining) is to mold it into how I want the job to be. I've overcome my fear of hospitals - forced by circumstances, yes but that's growth. I work with people who I knew nothing about last year, and this year, we all work together five times a week. They tell me that they've got my back because they know I've got theirs. With such faith and support, it's overwhelming. It was even reflected in my performance evaluation (though not really in the increase...turns out hospitals aren't really big with increases).

Did I ever aspire to be a manager? Honestly, no. I've always thought that I'd be the freelancing, lone wolf sort, or at least working on projects basis. Then I got thrown into a job that requires me to deal with so many people, approve or deny requests, administer contracts, plan and monitor budget, etc. No wonder I get so frazzled and stressed. This was way beyond my comfort zone.

I remember the lady who used to do my job part-time. In front of me, I heard her describe me to someone - "I'd tell her to do something a certain way, how I'd done it for years. She'd listen, then go off do something else. Then I see that how she did it works better. She's smart." There was a compliment in there somewhere, right? :)

This job has developed my work backbone big time. I've dealt with issues that other people shy away from...with upper management who needed to know exactly what went on to help them in their decision-making (one of my colleagues told me the other day, "you've got balls."). I've been exercising my options to say no and yes sparingly. All the years that I experienced nonsense in the workplace, turns out I learned so much and now I know what to avoid doing.

Knowing I've got other outside projects brewing gives me the confidence to do my job properly. I act and speak without fear of losing of my job. Had I planted and nurtured that fear in my mind, I wouldn't be the kind of manager that I am. But I point out what works and what doesn't. I tell them when something's not working, and we discuss how to improve the process.

All in all, I've learned not to be afraid in my work life. If other people believe in me and what I can do, why am I not listening? I already know my strengths and weaknesses. At this point, out of my comfort zone is exactly where I should be. It might not be where I envisioned myself to be at all, but fate has a way of leading us where we'll learn and grow. So that's what I'll do in the meantime. Learn and practice all that I am, and all that I can be. Of course, this is not where it ends for me. I still have so many goals that I'm going after. But lately, I've realized that my ideas of where I should be and what I should be doing keeps changing anyway.