Years ago in the 80s, I was a thriving career woman on Wall Street. I started out at the very bottom as a payroll clerk. As a woman back then, you did not have glass ceilings, you had brick walls. Being an extremely competitive person and a woman’s activist, this environment was a challenge that I could not refuse.
When the Mountains Seem Insurmountable
At first, I was in my glory but the mountain in front of me seemed almost insurmountable. I was 25 years old and grew up mostly in Colorado. I had just sold everything I owned and bought a one way airplane ticket to New York City. Saying I was overwhelmed and in culture shock was an understatement . I had a hard time navigating my way through the subways to get down to Wall Street, much less having to work there. I was way out of my league and the fast pace, aggressiveness, and competition amongst my colleagues was cut throat. It was not long before I wondered why in the heck did I move to this place What in the world was I thinking?
Where do You Feel at Home?
I began to doubt myself and felt I did not belong there. I felt completely alone and excluded. Quitting my job and catching the next plane back to Colorado where I felt I belonged seemed my only alternative. Then it suddenly hit me, I WAS HOME. Home was not a place external to me; home lives inside of me. I didn’t need to change my location, I needed to change my attitude. Instead of looking at beating the opposition, I began to look for and take advantage of opportunities that nobody else dared to see. I was a visionary and an idea person. Instead of joining the rat race and following everyone else, I found my own strengths and began to excel at them.
Blaze your Own Trail
Within 6 years, I went from the lowest level payroll clerk to Assistant Treasurer at JP Morgan. In the 80s that was not bad for a woman who had an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Speech Science and no corporate experience. How did I do it? I looked for opportunities to shine where my strengths were and where my heart felt it belonged. I was true to myself and quit worrying about everybody else.
Feeling included has nothing to do with becoming the same as everyone else or gaining their acceptance and approval. Instead, dare to be different. Be who you are and go where your heart feels liberated and finds fulfillment. Developing a sense of belonging begins when you stop giving the key to your heart to everyone else and start being the gatekeeper of YOUR own life.
Next week we will talk about letting go in order to live the life you imagined! Share below how you are blazing your own trail toward finding that inner place where you belong!
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