“I Accept” Syndrome

Recently, I have come upon a bunch of new opportunities and ideas that have moved me left or right, onto some new path tangential to the one before it. To say the least, I’ve accepted so many new things, that my already full plate is weighing me down and I can’t stomach it all. It all looks, smells, and give the right appetite can taste amazing. But I’m learning slowly but surely that I can’t say yes to everything.

I’ve gone above and beyond in my confidence, which I denounced in my recent post on interviewing. I’ve also made promises I couldn’t keep…. send me to the guillotine. I don’t even follow my own advice 😩.

I’m going to be honest with you all, at all times. What good does it do me or you to be any less? At the very least maybe you can laugh at my pain. At best, you can make fewer of the amount of mistakes I have or tweak my successes into your own great feats.

We talked about how 2020 has been all the big, long, uncomfortable things. Well, to give myself the relief I thought I needed, I searched high and low for new opportunities. Some, I forgot all about until they came knocking at my door. I’m a pleaser, of course I invited them in for hot chocolate and cookies 🥴

To stay long or to stay for just a little while, I have said “yes” as a jerk reaction to just about everything.

“Yes, I will take that job”

“Yes, I can move”

“Yes, I can learn how to do that”

“Yes, I can meet that deadline”

“Yes, I am ready to take this to the next level”

“Yes, I can commit to that in a short-time frame with no experience”

“Yes, I can work weekends”

Let’s stop right there. I do NOT, have NEVER considered working weekends. If you read Tattletales of a Speech Language Pathologist, you know I was in shambles when PDPM, the new system for reimbursement in the skilled nursing facility, had me working every other Saturday.

Why am I being so untrue with myself and (potential) employers, you wonder? 

It’s nothing more than the FOMO that plagued my social life for many years, and has now picked up its things and moved over the professional side of the neighborhood. FOMO has led me to believe that after 2 years of practice, I need all the right answers right now. I’m accepting things that I hope will advance me intellectually, put me in an enviable position, and set me on a path towards greatness. Maybe I don’t need to take a jet pack up every step at once, but I need to know where I can place things on a calendar. How long will it take?

This type of thinking is actively ruining me. I’m saying this because I think we all will run into a point at which we don’t know which way seems the most direct, or maybe you’re standing at a fork after which all paths seem to be littered with jewels of great fortune. Maybe they all are, but if you choose one, the others are inevitably removed from your sight.

The idea that you and I should choose “reasonably”, is unfair. Perhaps what’s most reasonable in my case is making more money. Perhaps what’s reasonable in your case is having great job security or being able to travel. We have to be willing to sacrifice. A wise man once said “What are you willing to go without?”

I was challenged this past week to make a list of the things that are most important to me, where a job or career move is concerned. Making this list may be less the challenge for me because I am driven to believe in the impossible, chase every dream, and trust that I have the power to make it come true.

The greater challenge, which is really the unspoken one, is crossing out one, two, or even all of those things. Maybe it seems like working backwards, but it isn’t. 

In reality, how many “most important” things are there really? When it comes to a job, even less. There are things that may give us value in the workplace itself or in our total prospect towards a successful career. In this, we may accomplish a lot, but it is not without the sacrifice of something that we consider to be “most important”

I yielded a little bit of myself in a way in my book, and I spoke about my relationship with my family. “Workaholic” is one word that can bring rise to a lot of negative feelings when I consider the effect that its had on my life. I know that the allowance for personal or “family time” is on every professional’s list of important things. It’s also the sacrifice of many who realize a need for additional money or to stride towards a higher position on the totem pole.

There are things that are never worth the sacrifice, but that will be a subjective and personal decision. I think that when the time comes, we all have an internal shift towards what feels most correct, and I want to say more often than not we are right about it. 

I say all this to say that coping with “I accept” syndrome has looked almost like digging a shovel into a hollow grave. There is nothing productive about it, it isn’t safe nor satisfying, and it wastes potential energy – at the end, there is barely enough to show for all of the hard work.

This time I vow to follow my advice, finally. Setting myself up for success is creating a vision and working effectively towards it. It’s saying “no” more often, even to myself. It’s establishing “What’s the one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

-Gary Keller

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