To Start It Off

There’s this somewhat unfamiliar spark of faith inside me. Today was all sorts of challenging, and I don’t think there will ever be a fitting time to write this down. Last month set the pace to what could be the theme for this year. To be honest, it did not surprise me. I was expecting the influx of work, the stress, the overtime, and the endless responsibilities. What I did not expect though is the overwhelming strength from the team, which turned out to be my own secret support system.

Someone asked me at the start of the year if I had any resolutions for 2016, and I really had nothing. I did not plan on anything, or wrote down a to-do list for the entire year. I decided to let the year pan out on its own, and see myself overcome every step of the way. Overcome is the operating word here. Make no mistake, to overcome has become such an understatement for the past month.

Here are some of my learnings so far, which I would like to share with you:  

Everyone is going through their own battles.

I learned this the hard way simply because I, too was unknowingly battling on my own. It may seem easy to want people to do exactly what you’re doing and expect the same results. It is easy to assume that people would and should know exactly what is expected of them, but no. Everyone needs clarity, but they should also learn to ask. More often than not, the answers are not readily available, so you have to actively seek and be enlightened.

You need to sacrifice to grow.

Growth is only achievable by suffering. I know, I know. This has been said over and over again. But growth is inevitable, and there’s no escaping it. You may choose not to grow, but everyone and everything around you will. The truth is, opportunities are all around us and it’s only a matter of grabbing. Every chance we choose to deflect, we miss a step towards our end goal.

Character is everything.

Time and again, I’ve told my team about nurturing a positive but realistic outlook towards work. The reality is, work will never get easier, the list will never be short, and people will never be forgiving. Whatever you do or say might shape the output, but your attitude towards the people you work with will affect the outcome. It may sound self-righteous or even impossible at worst, but the ability to blame one’s self is important. It means you have control, and place character over anything.

Letting go is not important, it’s required.

The problem is, I have trust issues. I remember during my very first evaluation with the company, I was told to work on collaboration. I was told to let go. This is one of the biggest challenges I had to face. Trust is important, but also hard to earn. And because I’ve built high walls around me, at times it has become too difficult to climb. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but it is crucial to reach out when someone is fighting hard to earn your trust.

Empathy builds relationships.

I can’t stress this enough. You need to share the experience, you can’t go through it alone. When you share feelings of pain, struggle, and problems, you also share the good because you build relationships along the way. When you see someone suffering, don’t tell them how to feel. You have to be with them, hold their hand, and go through the hurdle with them. Empathy should be deliberate. You have to choose it. Much like maintaining a culture, it is that glue that builds trust.
Hopefully, with these realizations, February becomes even more eye-opening.

About the Contributor

Paola Malong loves food. As well as working hard, and aggressive positive thinking, and books, and aliens. She also loves words and writing, all things that move thought. But mostly, she loves food. Read more about her work on her blog.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

See all of Paola Malong's posts →

Photo by Lynne Apura. For more of her artworks, visit her Instagram.

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