I started a new job recently – at a place I’ve wanted to work for over ten years! As I flew to my induction days, my mind was racing… “Have I made the right decision? Will they like me? What if I don’t like them? Am I smart enough? Am I too loud?”. I was also thinking about that time I started at a new job and no one spoke to me on my first day, other than to let me know I was sitting at the wrong desk. “What exactly will be the ‘right desk’ at this new job?”.
Instead of wallowing in self-doubt and worry, I chose to wake up early and reconnect with some old swimming mates for an ocean swim. Thanks to COVID and the temperate Melbourne climate I’d only been swimming a handful of times in the previous 18 months, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have the stamina to keep up. Luckily I’m built for buoyancy, so what I lack in fitness, I make up for in ballast.
As we swam across the Bronte and Tamarama bays at sunrise, dolphins splashing alongside us and my goggles filling with seawater, I saw with clarity. My mind was at peace. Every new beginning feels daunting. Just like dipping your toe in the ocean for the first time each day – it’s exciting and fresh and unknown and uncertain. And equally, everything in my life, every stroke, every breath, every kick has been leading me up to this exact moment.
I. Am. Enough.
The sum of everything, all of my parts – the weird desk incident, the time the whole lunchroom got up and moved when I walked in, the tears late at night at my desk over missed deadlines. They have helped me arrive here. The candid conversations with generous mentors, the times I travelled overseas for work, the red wine fuelled conversation that landed me a role at a consultancy in a field I knew nothing about, that time a boss’s boss told someone to shut up when they talked over me… These are the sum of my parts. And I am here, now, because of them.
I breathed. I kicked. I duck dived. I floated. I hugged my friends close as we exited the water. This clarity gave me the confidence to begin my induction, bringing my whole self to the room. The right desk was simple to find because I belonged at any desk. All that I am belonged right there in the room.
At Leading Teams, we call this experience Self Talk. What I know to be true about myself, and what I choose to listen to from others about myself, drives my behaviour. I choose to listen to people in my life who build me up and give me a sense of self-worth. The evidence supports what they say. I know the truth about myself. My confident behaviour is a result of these components. And the more I behave confidently in this way, the more it becomes true.
So, I’m immersed now in the waters of Leading Teams. It’s taken more than ten years of training to get here. The swell is challenging enough to test my skill, and I’m well supported with life rafts and spotters alongside me. My goggles are still fogging up every now and again, but my self-talk sustains me through the current.
I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you.