Monday, September 29, 2014

Keeping Perspective During the Highs and the Lows

The last two weeks I’ve attended two professional development workshops at the home office of my company. Since I am a member of two teams that focus on different aspects of claims handling, the training was completely different. But both programs provided me with valuable knowledge as well as affirmations that my work is appreciated and that I am a valued member of both teams.

For many years I’ve mistakenly believed that my work would speak for itself, despite development modules that emphasized the need for an employee to have an elevator speech at the ready and to accept the necessity of self-promotion.

Ultimately, as I approached my 55th birthday, I accepted that flying under the radar no longer served me. So I completed an application to participate in the Women’s Development Council Mentoring Program, was accepted, and selected a mentor that would be my advocate. Coincidentally, at nearly the same time, I was asked to interview for a role on the Corporate Liability team and found that I would have the chance to explore new opportunities within my company.

During my visits to our home office I learned there are positives and negatives about professional recognition.  Most colleagues celebrate the successes of a teammate. Some feel threatened and exhibit their self-defense tactics in questionable ways that can make one feel belittled.

Fortunately, the tools I’ve learned along my path to peace and serenity have provided me with an acceptance of the things I cannot change. I cannot change other people. But I can appreciate that what another person thinks or says reflects on them and not me. And I can also celebrate that when I face a challenge, I know I can rely upon the kindness and support of good people, friends, and supportive family.

Life is a journey that at times seems to simulate the highs and lows of a rollercoaster. There are the thrilling, exhilarating highs and the frightening, white-knuckle rides to the depths that cause nausea and the hairs to rise on one’s arms. But I’m fortunate that I’ve learned that it is only a ride and that any single experience be I fabulous or horrible it will eventually come to an end.

At the end of this week I enjoyed a three-day weekend at the New Market Heights Civil War Reenactment in Henrico County, Virginia. The countryside was beautiful. The thought of 80,000 Federal troops occupying a parcel of land and destroying Confederates with artillery fire helped me to put the events of the past two weeks into perspective. Thinking of what had occurred on the site of the Richmond battlefields humbled and haunted me. The courage and sacrifice of those who fought to preserve our nation helped me to appreciate that my frustrations really don’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison. 

Keep perspective! Don’t sweat the little things. And…. celebrate the little things.

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