Just…be.

fdf83e05b18082870200dbc7ffa97d26Dear You,

Take a deep breath. Relax. Everything’s going to be just fine.

You see, some pretty smart people put you where you’re at. And it probably wasn’t a unilateral decision; it was probably a group decision that you — yes, you — were a good candidate for the position you currently fill.

Now, is the gig exactly what they described to you in that interview? Well, no. But seriously — what position ever is? Roles, like the companies within which they’re situated, evolve. They move and bend and strain and stretch to meet the needs of the team — and ultimately the organization — at given points in the organization’s story.

Your position is no different.

But you don’t understand my particular situation, Matt.

Well, I might understand a little more than you think, but your point is taken. By the same token, there are some universal truths here. I know half of you just bristled when I said universal truths, but don’t get your relativistic panties in a wad. Let me finish. Then you’re of course free to do what you’d like with your undergarments.

It’s highly unlikely that you were the only one who applied for your particular role. Especially in the economy of the past several years, the competition was probably pretty stiff. Yet there you are, nameplate and all.

It creeps in during the meetings sometimes. It’s that damn feeling that you don’t belong. That you’re not good enough. That you don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute. That they’re going to see through you soon enough and buy into the lie that you’ve already bought into about yourself.

But stop for a second and consider that maybe — just maybe — they see something you may not or cannot see about yourself.

So quit trying to prove that you belong and just be.

Stop attempting to validate their decision to hire you and simply keep doing your thing. That’s why they hired you. To do your thing.

For should’s sake, stop feeling like you have to keep talking or saying something so they’ll think you’re worth your salary. Believe me on this: they’re not paying you by the word.

So take another one of those deep breaths. Be you. Don’t fall for the damn lies that your parents or teachers or voices in your head or horrible bosses or terrible teammates or ex-spouses or current spouses or even well-intentioned friends tell you about you or your work.

Because what they’re really getting at isn’t your work. It’s your worth. And they have no business there. They don’t get to touch that. It’s yours.

So just…be.

Sincerely,

Someone just like you

10 comments

  1. Shai says:

    Thank you so much for this. Some words that really resonate here.

  2. Very interesting blog, I feel this way right now, but have never thought I’ve been put there on purpose. I always think about all the tasks I have to complete. Keep up the good work!

  3. We are all engineers of our own future.

    Whether conscious or subconscious, our intentions, needs, and wants have gotten us exactly where we are right now… at this very moment.

    As if by design, you and I have created the foundation from which to build one of two futures: the successful & dream-fulfilled… OR, the downward spiral, failuristic “misery loves company” / “whoa is me” type.

    There is an old Indian proverb that tells the story of 2 wolves. One represents hate, greed, envy, spite, depression, and sadness. The other represents love, sacrifice, selflessness, optimism, hope, and charity. The 2 wolves engage in battle — within ourselves — everyday.

    Which wolf wins?

    [Answer: "The one you feed"...]

    • Audra August says:

      Mike, you’ve shared some really interesting comments here. This is one of my favourite posts from Matt. The message is so elegant and simple, yet we know that often the simplest things can be the most complex and difficult to achieve.

      I love the Wolf proverb too. We all have it in us to choose what will fuel us and how we protect our worth. As Matt says, that’s ours…and no one gets to touch that.

    • Matt Monge says:

      Mike,

      First, thanks for such a thoughtful response. My own response to your response (boy this is confusing already) would be this.

      Yes and no. If we all completely engineered our own futures, wouldn’t we all be filthy rich, living on tropical islands, and doing whatever it is that we think makes us happy all the time?

      That’s not to say we have no ownership of our fate. We certainly do. I and many others have worked hard to do whatever we’ve done. Others have worked just as hard and not had the same level of success perhaps. Some have had more.

      The thing is our lives and futures aren’t nearly so black and white as we might be tempted to believe. The “either/or” scenario doesn’t apply here. People’s present and future will likely contain elements of all those things you mentioned. It’s not always going to be rainbows and unicorns, nor will it always be rainclouds and ugliness. This life is full of flux and paradox. Ambiguities abound.

      I’m not sure what you’re implying, so if I’m misunderstanding, forgive me; but if your implication is that folks who find themselves in a downward spiral or whatever else are simply the “misery loves company” and “whoa [sic] is me” types, I couldn’t disagree more. You show me a person who’s never been in any sort of downward trajectory at some points and I’ll show you a person who is either self-delusional or intentionally deceiving everyone around them.

      People struggle. It’s part of life. Doesn’t mean those people are throwing pity parties. Might just mean they’re struggling. Empathy might be a better approach.

      To your wolves, again, it’s just not that simple. What the proverb is essentially implying is that within you and me is the potential for all of these different things, feeling, actions, attitudes, etc. It’s not that each of those is separate entities at war with each other. That’s you. Just you.

      I’ve heard some version and application of that story at least a dozen times (I grew up Baptist–it was a favorite sermon illustration), and not one of the people who gave that illustration was fully loving, sacrificial, selfless, optimistic, hopeful, or charitable. But that doesn’t mean there were two “thems,” and that they simply needed to feed (what does that even mean?) one of themselves more.

      I can appreciate what you’re saying, but I’d opine that it’s just not that simple.

      • Audra August says:

        If I could share a few more thoughts, in response to your response to Mike’s response (…I think that math is right). This is what I appreciate so much about our socially connected world. Bringing different views. Sharing different perspectives. Being different. My biggest insight here is that we each interpret messages and words in a different way. Writing is a form of art. Each of us will take away something unique. Sometimes, the message can shift our mind set in the moment. Sometimes, it can change our day. And other times, words can change the course of our life. So intriguing… Thanks for sharing!

  4. [...] Now listen (or read, as it were) carefully. I’m not advocating for insubordination. I wouldn’t suggest simply refusing to do something and then blaming it on that bald Workplace Mojo bloggerspeakerconsultant guy. At the same time, maybe you should review the sixty-three-and-a-half meetings you attend in a week. Perhaps you don’t need to go to every blessed meeting to which you’re invited. Perhaps you do need some alone time. Some well-meaning folks will tell you that life, and especially corporate life, is one big networking event (You know, never eat alone and all that jazz). They’re wrong. Sometimes you just need to stop (collaborate and listen – Matt is back with a brand new invention). Work on that whole self-awareness thing. Breathe. Listen. Learn. Feel. Be. [...]

  5. [...] Think of all the books, scoldings, fringe religious zealots, co-workers, employees, school systems, etc, who took (and take) great pains to establish for you exactly — and often it really is a precise thing — who or what or how you’re supposed to be, whereas we’d say we want people to just…be. [...]

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