Forward, The Story

The alarm sounding made me feel like I was being shaken awake on most days. I had grown used to the way I jumped up as if gasping for my last bit of air. I know it sounds crazy, which is why I’d never tell a soul.

I gave myself my morning pep talk: Vanessa, time to get up and be great. You’re doing an awesome job. Don’t allow how you feel when your alarm sounds to affect your effectiveness today. Go to work with a smile. How you feel today will not be how you feel forever. There was something about my pep talk that gave me the courage to be great. Despite that tiny voice in the back of my mind that kept chanting FTS! I was always able to pull myself together, make the drive to work and enter that building in a promising mental space.

I didn’t always feel this way. I used to love this place. Jumping out of bed, smiling at the opportunities ahead of me. Then the realities of the workplace showed themselves and things just changed. I continued to do my job; I did it well. But it definitely did not get easier to do. People were proud of me, having made it here. That had a lot to do with what I looked like, it also had a lot to do with the circumstances of my department. I had to teach myself, a lot. There were others who attempted to assist, but they had no clue what was going on in our region. That left me alone, in most cases, figuring it out.

How people felt about where I’d made it kept me going. I stayed a lot longer than I feel like I should have. That’s the thing about encouragement, praise and scriptures, they make you feel unstoppable. They make you feel like you can conquer the world. It’s like for a split second in time, the hills you face don’t seem as high. So I kept going, I kept showing up, pushing my employees and our region and myself. I wanted us to win. Then that second wore off and everything the people told me that numbed my reality came flooding back to my subconscious. The hill looked like Mt Everest and I was wearing heels, go figure.

It’s been 8 years; I had been promoted 4 times.  I had gone to meetings and trainings where no one in the room looked like me. That didn’t bother me, I had grown used to being different. What caused my pause was the front that they were people-focused when the reality was the only people they were focused on were those on green bills. I get it, it’s the world we live in. Money makes the world go round. However, what I also get is that when you really care about people they will really care about you and your business. It goes hand in hand. I started to feel more and more alone; but, I still had those people in my ear encouraging, praising and scripturing. Even through the volume of their words in my ear, it became clear to me that I was unhappy. Their vision didn’t align with mine. That’s when the alarm sounding began to feel like I was being shaken out of my sleep. And, honestly that’s what it took.


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