We all have many commitments in life whether you’re a parent or business owner, volunteer, employee, or all of the above. Time jets throughout the day and at the end of it, we ask ourselves “man, where did the time go?” As we are being pulled in many different directions, it is easy to not follow our compass which is telling us to go a specific route. The terrain of life begins to wear us down as we venture on territory that may not be designed for us.
There’s a saying, “if you don’t plan your life, then other people will plan it for you.” I can attest to this statement. After college, I was fortunate enough to acquire a new job, live in DC, be close to my girlfriend and other friends. I was making money, had an apartment, a car, and a social network. I was living the dream! But after months at this job, the dream became a nightmare that I wanted to escape each lunch break. Just leave for lunch and never return.
This was my first job out of college and I was thrilled for the opportunity. But months after arriving, I realized that my hard work ethic was being taken advantage of as I was assigned numerous tasks without direction, guidance, or support. I was becoming the workhorse. There were times I was taunted by the leader of the organization and not fully appreciated for my work and effort. I dreaded each day as mountains of tasks slowly crept on my desk each day and plus I was barely making it financially. I was drowning and it seemed that the party boat which I was once on was now sailing away.
After a year and a half of constant complaining to family and friends and always telling myself “one day, I’m gonna”, I decided to no longer be a supporting actor in my life but be the director. No longer would I get panic attacks at work. No longer would I be not commended for my work. No longer would I sit on the sideline and let other people dictate the plays of my life. No longer would I place so much effort into a task, complete, and feel only drained after the project’s success.
It was time for a change and I went to work. I determined my desired direction, started applying to different job opportunities in line with my career goals, networked and sought career advice from colleagues and family, built my skill set areas and within months of that “day of decision”, I was in a better place professionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially. I got a new job which aligned with my career aspirations. I was no longer panicking and angry at work and wondering if I should just stick it out for a couple more months despite God pushing me forward. And plus I was making more money now than in my previous position. I did not let the priorities of the organization and former colleagues detract me from where I wanted and needed to go.
To grow, you must go towards your objective. Your objective supersedes anyone else’s priorities for your time. Follow your compass, stay gritty and determined, and never let anyone else write your story. You are the author, director, leader, coach, and your greatest supporter. Now, get after it!
Photo Credit: “Prioritize.” Emma Saying. April 2014.