The Power of YET
For more than two decades, mid-level management roles provided me with stable income, generous benefits and job satisfaction. Corporate was ingrained in my identity, it was certain, it was secure, it was what I knew, and I was good at it. I was a self-proclaimed corporate girl, a high-achiever by nature who worked hard over the years to build team culture that any leader would be proud to call their own. The years of the climb were challenging, but worth it and I was certain I’d found my zone. My teams were high-performing, loyal, engaged, and I had earned respect within the organization.
I enjoyed my view, but eventually when new leadership and new initiatives restructured my zone, options within the organization began to look less favorable. To go higher in the company meant travel and time away from home and that wasn’t part of my plan for me or my family. It was then that the itch to do something different hit me—but I wasn’t sure how to scratch it.
Social media was still fairly new to me. I had only been online for about six months and was enjoying the interaction. I was intrigued with the ease of access to people and information at my fingertips. It was proving to be the quickest way to connect with people, regardless of location.
The idea of starting an online business was growing in appeal and before long, I found a digital marketing business to pursue. I wasn’t married to the idea for the long-term, but saw it as a bridge to carry me from where I was to where I could go. When I finally made the leap from employee to entrepreneur, my excitement about what was “possible” fueled me more than what I chose to do.
Ambition ran high initially, but disappointment began to show up after the first couple of endeavors didn’t pan out the way I expected. I got back up, dusted off and tried on a couple more things for size with little success. Discouragement was beginning to creep in.
I remember sharing my frustrations with a friend and colleague of mine who’s a life coach. After listening and getting the gist of things, he then began asking me a series of questions:
Him: “When you worked at your corporate job, were you great at it from the start?”
Me: “Not exactly.” Him: “How long did it take you to get in your groove?”
Me: “Honestly, I had a rocky start. It took about 2–3 years.”
Him: “Why did you stick with it?”
Me: “Because that’s what I do. I’m persistent. I like to win.”
Him: “What makes this any different?”
I pondered that question for the remainder of our conversation. As we were wrapping up, he said one final thing that changed the trajectory of my thinking. He said, “Maybe you just haven’t found what you’re good at yet.”
Hearing that three-letter-word tacked on the end of what he said turned out to be just what I needed. “Yet” had possibility and carried with it the expectation I would indeed reach my destination; without “yet,” it felt like I was floating in space.
He was right, I hadn’t yet discovered where my sweet spot was as an entrepreneur. I knew what I was good at in corporate, but this was a different ball game. All this time I thought I was dressed for game day and I was actually still in my practice jersey taking swings and fielding balls from different positions on the field.
I knew I was wired to make an impact in a greater way and the pursuit of timing and trends wasn’t the right mix for me. That caused me to put a lot of pressure on myself to reach “a destination,” without first determining if it was “my destination.” Having that realization freed me up and allowed me to embrace the idea that building a new identity would take some time.
“Yet” also inspired me to start using a compass—a compass calibrated to my core values, talents and strengths. That compass is nestled within a statement I use to filter opportunities for my time and attention. With only 168 hours in a week, even worthy endeavors may have to take a backseat. As I pursue my calling, I realize I have to be able to say “no” to the good so I can say “yes” to the great. A simple phrase that helps me do that is: “Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.”
My compass keeps me focused on what’s important. It guides me as I continue moving forward in my calling to achieve multi-generational impact through writing and coaching. I’m grateful for the journey…for finding a compass that keeps me grounded, and for thought-provoking questions that challenge me to go deeper and farther. But most of all, I’m grateful for the powerful inspiration I found unexpectedly in a simple three-letter-word.
If you find yourself at a crossroads in your journey, wondering why the pieces aren’t fitting together as you hoped, let me assure you, that’s a sign you may be trying to force an outcome that isn’t meant for you. Don’t waste any more time second-guessing yourself and asking everyone else’s opinion about what you should do. Pray about your solution, not your problem. Then, narrow your focus to what honors your values, talents and strengths; let go of what doesn’t.
You’ll know when you’re functioning in your natural abilities because it almost feels effortless—there’s a tireless energy about you. These are clues you can’t ignore. Be determined to stick with your new path until you reach your designated finish line. If you’re not there yet, believe you will be. The last time I checked, the tortoise won the race.
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