When the title of this blog post came to me, it was admittedly during one of my low points. I have those from time to time. Days when I feel victimized, nothing’s going right, and I’m far too focused on the go-to phrase of, “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” That’s how we say it in the South. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. I’m sure you’ve got your own version, too. I can’t ever catch a break! There’s one. We’ve all said that more times than once, right?
On this particular day, I was still feeling the after effects of a move at work. Monday through Friday, I’m in a corporate setting, have been since I was 23 and still didn’t know what I truly wanted to do with my life. But I’ve worked my way up over the years, gleaned, learned, absorbed and studied from the best. I’m pretty darn good at what I do. Even the guys on the opposing side tend to buckle under my cheerful demeanor, revealing a soft underbelly that makes for a (relatively) smooth ride through each case. When I landed my first office–and I mean a real office with windows, walls, and a door I could close–I sat at my desk, breathed in the corporate air, and thought, “You’ve earned this, girlfriend. You’ve finally arrived.”
From that point on, I always had my own office. I could talk as loud as I wanted. Shut the door and get real with clients. Walk around, kick off my heels, fix my tights, pick my nose, whatever. I had that kind of freedom. I’d earned it. I know I’ve already said that, but let’s be clear: I. Had. EARNED. It. Blood, sweat, tears, mean bosses, impossible deadlines, greedy clients and even greedier corporate men.
But then we bought a new building. And with the handful of people picked to move, one was…uh huh. Yours truly. My new digs? Not so great. Shared space. Barely room to move. Face to the wall, back to the door (that’s perhaps the worst). I’m so close to my neighbor we can’t be on the phone at the same time.
First day in the new space, I went home after work, shut myself in the bathroom and cried my eyes out. Why was this happening to me? Hadn’t I spent enough years paying my dues? Worse, some of my fellow co-workers stayed in the old building–in their own offices. So, suddenly we’re split. Divided. Those people are obviouslymore important than me.
That’s the kind of baloney I told myself, y’all.
But then I had an a-ha moment: by throwing myself a pity party, I allowed my value to be contingent on where I sit.
Now, some of you may be reading this, thinking, “Girl, I’ve never had my own office. What’s the big deal?” And you’re right. It’s not a big deal. But stay with me on this: We ALL do this very thing at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the means and/or atmosphere into which you were born: rich or poor, mansion or shack, college eduction or blue collar worker, New York City, New York or Shreveport, Louisiana. We have all, at one time or another in our lives, said, “Well, gosh darn-it, if I had this much money or if I weren’t stuck in this backwards old town or if my parents had been different parents instead of MY parents or if I had my own office, I’d be doing _______________.
Right? Don’t fold your arms across your chest and say you haven’t. I know different.
Here’s what I also know: Where you sit does not define who you are. Surprise! Where you live does not define who you are. How you were brought up does not define who you are. What you had for dinner last night does not define who you are. What is (or isn’t) in your checking account does not define who you are. You get to CHOOSE the person you want to be. Your mind is straight up that powerful.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want.” Well, what if you lived as if you were already in the life you envision for yourself? What if you woke up with that gratitude and joy–the kind you know you’re gonna be feeling when you’re living that gorgeous dream life? What if, instead of saying, “I have to go to work today…” You wake up and say, “I get to go to work today and earn the means to reach my financial goals…”? What if, instead of categorizing the things that happen to you as “good” or “bad,” you kept life events as neutral and, in turn, choose to either react with joy and gratitude or fear and irritation?
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather live with joy in my heart than fear.
But that’s a whole different blog post.
You define you. By being who you are, the person you are in your heart and soul, you give to the world what it craves more than anything: authenticity. When you show up every day in your true, authentic self, you encourage others to be their authentic self.
So, stand, dry your tears, lift your chin, be proud of you and all you’ve been through, because you’ve been through a lot. And meditate on this: The soul inside of you longs for joy and gratitude. When you feed it what it needs, your life changes in ways that can only be described as divinely magical.