Jakarta | 2022 was a year when I reached my rock bottom, but it was also a year of pivot and healing. There are a few things I learnt, the first one was learning to be honest to myself. Be honest of what we truly want in life.
Earlier this year, I decided to leave my job and Hong Kong without any solid plans in mind. Some managers were trying to help me for my next move, yet I failed to articulate what I wanted. They told me somewhere along the line, “I want to help you but you need to tell me what you want.”
Coming from not only one, but several managers, this eventually got me thinking —
Why is it so hard for me, someone who’s very decisive in my day-to-day life, struggle to decide what she wants for her career?!
I learnt, through the hard way, I have this bad habit of keeping all the options open. My former manager called this “delayed decision making.” I soon realised that I had been doing this for every major decision in my life, including university and major choice.
I thought I was being careful and strategic of my move by talking to people that I look up to, writing down the pro and cons of each option, and doing some research — which is highly recommended when you’re deciding major decision.
But my problem is not about not knowing what I want. Most often, I know what I want yet I was afraid of failure and rejection
I was afraid to be held accountable of my decision. I was afraid of people questioning my decision so I took the longest time to rational each option while delaying making the decision itself.
While I know I’m not rushing into anything, sometimes our decision will impact other people. Being indecisive can come with a cost. It cost me my career in previous job because I was too indecisive which team I wanted to be in at the expense of the trust from both managers.
No, I’m not going to repeat the same mistake.. again.
So, I took the time write down the criteria of my next move as honest as possible while putting away my fear of rejection and people’s expectations. Guess what? My heart feels much much much lighter. The answer? It was nothing new at all. It was something I wanted all along but was too afraid afraid to articulate.
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do”Tim Ferris
Now, that I had more clarity, I could focus my limited energy on that particular goal. And to my surprise, people started to open the doors for me. My parents stop haunted me everyday questioning my next steps. My managers connected me with a handful of people that could help. My friends told me all the information that could be beneficial for me.
Being honest with myself doesn’t not guarantee success. The roads ahead are filled with uncertainties, rejections, confusion that I have to deal with. But it is the needed first step to begin the journey, otherwise I would’ve stuck.
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
Living in a collectivism society, like Indonesia, and in today’s social media era, it’s easy to be driven by others’ expectation and comparison. But, it’s our life, not theirs. Try to spend time only with yourself to answer these questions — if <insert one thing you most fear of> is not an issue, what would you be doing right now? It could be money, parent’s expectation, losing of reputation..
Further reading suggestions:
- Fear setting exercise https://tim.blog/2017/05/15/fear-setting/amp/
- What to consider in making career decisions https://nategunawan.substack.com/p/8-mental-models-for-making-the-right
Trying to be more decisive,