The work we do though is an important part of our lives and soon my own work came back to the forefront of my mind. Challenges in terms of the finances of the organisation I was working for meant that significant savings were having to be made
It was important to me to retain the value of the work my team did for the organisation and support my team members through change, but change was inevitable. It was time to reflect on how to take the team forward but it was also time to reflect on my own place within the organisation, building on what I had started to understand was important to me in the future
I had worked for the organisation for 16 years, a long time given that I only intended to stay for 2.The reason I stayed so long though was the organisation was fundamentally a great place to work, an organisation with a strong social purpose and a great group of people working for it. It had consistently supported me and challenged me as I moved from leading a small team to heading up a whole division.
The promotion that I missed out on was a natural progression of that journey, a chance to develop my aspirations for the organisation even further. With that promotion not happening I began to reflect on my future in my current role.
The value of reflection
Since becoming interested in Buddhism in my early 20’s and beginning daily practice of meditation I had developed a recognition of the value of stopping in what can be a very busy life. Alongside that, the practice of reflection had become an important part of my life. For me finding time to reflect brings a number of benefits
- Gratitude- we can spend too much time thinking of what is lacking in our lives. Creating time for self reflection offers the opportunity to be thankful for many things, the basic conditions we live in (when they are positive), our relationships, our achievements, our passions and our beliefs. Reminding ourselves of what we have to be thankful for and acknowledging and expressing it is a vital part me for me of retaining perspective when life naturally presents us with challenge and loss.
- Increased awareness- the situations we face in our lives are either due to the way we think about our particular circumstances ( how we frame them in our own minds) or a real reflection of a situation no longer being satisfactory. Either way self reflection can help us to reconsider how we feel or the reality of the position we are in or to identify when something needs to change. Over a longer period of time it can help us to understand what is important to us…the ‘things we need’ and who we are as people.
- Learning- In an earlier post I spoke of the need when things go wrong in our lives to avoid the temptation for self reproach. In essence very little benefit can be gained with chastising ourselves whereas taking time to look for the learning in particular situation offers us the chance to turn many of he situations we face in life to grow as individuals.
- Preparation for action- given all the above, self reflection gives us the best opportunity when we are preparing for action to ensure that it takes us towards our goals.
In my own case, over a period of 6 months my reflection led me to a number of conclusions, some of which I covered in the previous post . I was incredibly grateful for the time I had had at the organisation, for the friendships I had made, the skills I had developed and the things I and my team had achieved. However I was now aware that I had probably done as much as I could do in the role I was in and that in order to grow personally and professionally I would have to leave.
Understanding that is a different matter to taking the plunge, to leave a well paid comfortable job in order to go on a different kind of journey. In the late summer of 2015 I spent many days going to the office asking myself whether that day would be the day I would declare my intentions, those days came and went.
And then one day i walked into the office, I saw the Chief Exec and Director of HR talking together, i asked them if I could speak with them privately and told them I wanted to leave.
Circumstance often forces us to say goodbye to something or someone before we are ready to do so. If there is one thing we are sure of, bitterly sometimes, in life is that things will change, people will die, relationships will end, jobs will change or go. Sometimes the hardest thing though is to be the architect of big changes, to ‘let go’ of things that are no longer working for us and yet it is these times that offer us the potential for great growth
In the moments after effectively resigning from my job, I felt the heady mix of emotion of something so significant coming to an end but also the excitement of the experiences I would have in the future.