A couple years ago, I was sitting in my cube toggling through multiple excel spreadsheets when my manager walked over and asked if I could come with her. You see, I had just interviewed for a promotion at the company I was at and was nervously waiting for the final decision of my three interviews for this promotion. My manager took me to an enclave AKA a small meeting room where no good news is typically ever shared.
Leading up to the initial interviews, I was full of excitement that my manager and mentors supported me for this promotion. I was also nervous and incredibly overwhelmed with stress from all the prep work that went in to crafting the “perfect targetized” response for each interview question. (Yes, I use to work at the corporate headquarters of Target) I felt pressure because I didn’t want to let my manager or my mentors down who believed in me and I definitely didn’t want to let myself down when I knew I had worked so hard for this. I also felt alone. Completely and utterly alone. Because I didn’t want to share with anyone that I was interviewing for my next important promotion in case I didn’t get it. I was playing down the entire experience to the couple people I had the courage to tell about it and I didn’t tell others just in case it didn’t turn out successful.
As I followed my manager to the enclave I knew she had the feedback from how the interviews had gone. I was nervous to hear it because this was something I wanted so badly. After my interviews I had felt good about two of them , but not so good about the third and there are so many corporate politics that come into play in an environment like this that I truly didn’t know what to speculate. By default of my optimistic personality type, I was hopeful that my hard work had paid off and that I would be able to celebrate a big stinkin promotion that evening!
And then the words came out of my manager’s mouth “they would like you to re-interview in a few months.” I didn’t get the promotion. Deep down I thought –ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I worked so hard for this. How could this happen? – Then the feelings quickly set in. I was devastated, sad, and hurt. The tears started welling up in my eyes and then gushed out right there in front of my manager. I had failed.
My manager told me I could take the rest of the afternoon off and just go home for the day. I was EMBARRASSED to the 10th degree. I felt like a huge failure, not smart enough, and that I had disappointed all those around me who were so proud of me and everything I had accomplished up until that point in my life and career. How could this be happening? The worst part was afterwards I had never felt so alone with no solid support system of people to truly understand why I was so disappointed because I was too scared to let people in beforehand about how excited I was about this possibility. I played it down or didn’t share it because I was scared to let people in. I was scared to embrace vulnerability and be open with the people who would have supported me no matter what the outcome was.
Have you ever felt that way? You know – playing down an exciting thing in your life because you think it won’t quite hurt as bad if it doesn’t work out? Playing down these things won’t take the pain away when they don’t happen. Instead it makes you feel so alone. When you play down the excitement, those people in your life won’t understand what a big deal it was for you when it doesn’t work out. If they don’t know it’s important to you they aren’t going to call you and make you feel better when all you are craving is someone in your support circle to reach out to you and be there for you.
The next time you have something exciting happening in your life big or small and you aren’t sure if it will turn out the way you want, will you intentionally share it with someone? Try it this week. Think of something upcoming that you genuinely can’t wait for, but are somewhat scared you won’t get it or it won’t turn out the way you planned.
I’m going to do this. I’m going to share. Sharing is a practice, that I continue work on every single day.
It’s hard. It takes courage. It takes vulnerability.
I even questioned sharing this story with you on the blog multiple times before I wrote it even though it’s been a couple years since it happened. Just try sharing one thing and let me know how it goes for you. Let me know how you feel after you share the one thing you are excited about, yet scared to share. I want to know how it goes for you! (Hint: I could even be the person you use to share you upcoming exciting thing with this week. 🙂 )
Hugs & Mochas,