I recently had the good fortune of getting caught up with a friend of mine. He is a former co-worker who is now in Baltimore performing a very similar job function as myself. He called to pick my brain, ask for some managerial material we put together several years ago, and just chit chat.
The fact that he is in Baltimore now is not exactly something he planned. See, my friend was ‘screwed in the drive thru’ if you will while he worked for me. If you are familiar with corporate America, then you know that sometimes the higher-ups are allowed to cherry pick from other groups so as to build their organization. That’s what happened to him. He was identified as high-value talent, and he was plucked away from my team.
But as you find in most professions, it not always just a matter of talent. The success my friend found as a member of my team was derived from his talent intertwined with the dynamics of our group. Furthermore, his ability to succeed was in direct correlation to my ability to understand and manage him. Think of a great NFL quarterback who works with a great NFL coach. Separate the two and their success diminishes as individuals.
Why is this relevant? It’s because within six months of my friend being stolen from my team, he was let go as an employee. It’s not that he was any less talented, it’s just that his new management team did not know how to best utilize him. That and the fact that my friend is not shy about speaking his mind and making his opinions heard. The combination, in this case, lead to his termination with the company. As a result, he went through a maelstrom of professional and personal stress to find himself where he is today.
“I’m so happy” he told me. “If life were any better, I’d have to pay to be here.” I told him sincerely how happy I am for him, and how wonderful it is to know that he is doing well and enjoying his newfound career path.
This got me thinking about how we all go through periods in our lives where we have to weather the storm in order to enjoy the calm. We have to survive the chaos in order to discover the tranquility. We have to trudge through the snow, the sleet and the cold of our lives in order to find ourselves in front of the fireplace that keeps our hearts warm. We all face it in one form or another. We all have to persevere at some point. We all have to move through in order to move on.
This topic is very important to me. Just recently, I was at a place in my life from where I thought I could not move on. I swore up and down that I could never get passed this point of certainty I created in my head. “I just can’t imagine life being different. I can’t imagine a life with without …….” I had made this an absolute fact in my mind.
But it was never a matter of not being able to move on, but rather the decision of not wanting to move on. Now, I know that for women there is no difference between need and want – as in the case of “I need new shoes” – but I think this sentiment is universally applicable when it comes to matters of the heart. The idea that we can’t move on is rooted in fear and the result of being blinded by love…….…..or the idea of love.
The truth is we can move on. We all can. It’s just a matter of knowing when you’re ready and when you’re willing to survive the struggle in order to get to the other side. I chuckle because I spent most of 2005 writing about this very issue. I wrote and wrote and wrote in the hopes that I could convince someone else to be courageous for my benefit. Now I write so that I can remind myself to be courageous all on my own.
I also write tonight specifically for a friend of mind who needs to find the courage in her heart so that she, too, can persevere and move on. So that she, too, can find the strength in herself to let go of the past and embrace the future, no matter how cold and lonely it may seem at times.
I know it’s so much easier said than done. I have the great fortune of being able to find strength in the love of my children and the support of my friends. One friend in particular has been a Godsend to me. I know that without her words, wisdom and love I would feel all alone and lost without any direction. As hard as this has all been, it’s been easier because of her.
Yet I do not claim to be past all of my recent history. There is still mud on my boots, although each additional step I take shakes loose a little more of the pain and anger. There is still moisture in my clothes from wading in the water for three and a half years, but every new moment in the sun makes the fabric of my soul more warm and dry. You can’t get back to normal with out first having experienced the abnormal. Without first having passed through the tough times.
I’ll wrap up this ramble of an entry with this. Life is not so much a journey as it is a series of journeys that, when strung together in sequence, make up your life. Just when you get to your destination, it’s time to embark towards a new one. Some of these journeys you will find to be easy and rewarding. Others will challenge the very fiber of your being. And whether or not we succeed depends not on the things we want to do, but rather on those things we choose to do.
Lee, you have been the rock that has kept me constant all this time. I love you, and I look forward to being your rock and your source of strength for as long as I live.