I’m bent but not broken! That was the title of a meeting I attended a couple of weeks ago. My first thought was who are these CRAZY leaders sharing their very personal stories about mental health, depression, and work-life struggles AT work. I thought to myself, “I wonder if they forgot we are at work. Are there leaders on this call? How will this impact their performance ratings?” As I continued to listen to the many heartfelt stories, that my mind shifted . These leaders weren’t CRAZY they are COURAGEOUS. And I was even prouder to know one of them is my direct report. Then I started to do a little self assessment and think about how I was I really feeling at that moment.
What words would I use to describe how I was feeling if someone was to ask? And I would respond honestly and not my normal, “I’m good let’s talk about you.”
All came to mind. So, now what? I have had a feeling for a few months that I needed to take a real break from work. To be honest, I needed a break from life and just focus on Shana. No work. No cleaning. No cooking. No obligations. CRAZY right? It would not make sense to take time away from work in the busiest most unprecedented chaos in the history of the company and definitely in my life. Now, is not the time. My team needs me. Some of them are struggling with adjusting to this unUsusal time too. They have personal problems that make mine seem so trivial at times. They need me. Right?
When the call ended, I sat in my office and cried for a couple of hours. It was time. I was going to do something CRAZY. I was determined to do something for Shana that I desperately needed. I was going to take some real time off of work. It’s easy preaching to others about self-care, rest, eat healthy, exercise and take time off for yourself no questions asked. But I realized I was busy impacting the lives of others and neglecting my very own. Even the strong gets tired. I’m tired!
My mind was made up that I needed to leave but how? What would this CRAZY decision do to my career? I’ve sat at the table when so-called leaders BLACKlisted (pun intended) leaders for promotions, high profile projects, and higher raises who had valid reasons for taking a leave from work. I have only been with the company a little over two years and I’m not sure about the culture and hidden values(if any) exists. Nor can I care more about a job than myself. And then my mind shifted to… what if I take a break and am able to receive a full restoration: healthier physically, mentally and spiritually! That would truly be an inspirational story to others! Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” And at that moment, I decided June 1 I would take the next step in my journey to #BecomingMe!
The discussion with my leader was tough but mostly because I had feelings of guilt and embarrassment. Yes, I felt embarrassed to explain that I needed to take time away from work at a time where everyone’s role is essential to keep the engine running. But I was simply out of gas. The conversation was well received and supported. No, it was encouraged. I had unnecessarily applied stress and pressure to my request that wasn’t warranted.
I felt compelled to have a conversation with my team to explain my CRAZY decision. Again, they were nothing short of compassionate, supportive and understanding. One of them even said, “Shana it’s not CRAZY it’s COURAGEOUS.”
As I sit on my porch watching the sun rise this morning, I am grateful that I may have been bent but I am definitely not broken. The journey to becoming me is uncomfortable yet exciting but I am not alone. Who is with me? Comment below #IamUnapologeticallyMe
In full restoration and trusting God,