The Weakness in Me

Wikionary defines inner strength as ‘Integrity of character; resoluteness of will; mental resistance to doubt or discouragement’  

I’ve been struggling with my confidence this week, wondering whether certain decisions I’ve made have been a result of me being weak and choosing the path of least resistance, or actually displaying some kind of inner strength, standing up for myself and not allowing myself to be walked all over.

To put some context around this, i’ll explain, in a round about way, the situation. My team at work recently had a strategy day, the aim of which was to evaluate the team, our strengths and weaknesses, highlight what we do well and how we can maybe to things better in the future. Brilliant. I’m all for team development, and as we’re a relatively new team, I felt it was a good idea to re-group a little bit and set some clear goals and objectives.

So how, I ask, did this strategy end up with a grown 30 year old woman in tears at the end of the day? Well, one of the ways of improving us as a team that was suggested, was giving me a task that was previously done by someone else and it was a task i didn’t feel happy taking on. This particular task is very much a departmental ‘hot potato’. It was sold to me from a positive angle, as these things are; ‘you should be flattered we think you can handle it’ and ‘you should see it as a developmental opportunity’ but to me, it felt like i was being fobbed off. It’s not a secret that it’s a job others have struggled with, and a job no one wants to do. Yet here i am, feeling like i’m being backed into a corner and railroaded into doing something i really, REALLY don’t want to do. So i did what i always do when i feel angry, upset, frustrated and like i’m not being listened to. I cried.

I hate crying at work. I think woman crying at work is exactly why men tend to not like working with woman, they think we’re hormonal, and emotional and will cry to get our way or when we don’t want to do something. I had no control over the tears that flowed that day, i felt so pushed to my limit, and no longer able to articulate how desperately out of my comfort zone i was, it was all that came out. What followed were lengthy discussions about what to do with this hot potato, the outcome of which was that i wasn’t developed enough yet to take on this task, and we will review again in 6 months, doing some mentoring work, and possible some work around confidence and see where we are then.

So what’s left me confused about the whole situation is how to feel about the fact that i got so upset about this task. The next day i felt foolish, i felt like that girl, the girl who cries when things get hard and stamps her feet until she gets her own way. I don’t want to build up a reputation as a crier, or have people think ‘don’t upset Helen again’  but on the other hand, i don’t want to feel so far pushed out of my comfort zone that i can’t even see my comfort zone any more, i’m like a deer in the headlights, and i wake up every morning feeling sick at the thought of going into work. Should i have just sucked it up and accepted the challenge and succeeded where other had failed? Is that inner strength? Or is inner strength actually saying, you know what, i’m not ready for this yet, i’m out of my depth, i’m struggling and i need help. It’s also hard to make a judgement on people’s intentions as well, one person’s developmental opportunity is another person’s fobbing off, so that make its hard to make a decision. I don’t want to go through life thinking everyone is out to screw me over or turn down every opportunity just because it’s a bit difficult, however i also don’t want to be a push over, and be laughed at because i’m the mug who got the job no one else wants to do.

I still don’t really know whether what happened that afternoon was my displaying inner weakness or inner strength and perhaps it’s something i still need to figure, all i know is that at least at the moment i’m not going to work every morning dreading it and feel sick so that can only be a good thing!

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