Monday, October 10, 2011

Goals: Am I "Driven"?

Last week at happy hour with work, we were joined by a former employee who is still friends with a co-worker. The former employee, someone I knew next to nothing about other than in passing at work, is also a former Ironman triathlete. We had a wonderful discussion about triathlon until I had to leave to pick up my children.

The next day at the office, I was told that our former employee was as surprised as I was about our mutual love of multi-sport endurance racing. He had no idea that I did triathlons. He actually said that the revelation was unexpected because he didn't realize that I was "driven" enough to pursue such an athletic feat.

I'll admit that I took that statement personally. If there's anything I know about myself, it's that I'm driven.

Yes, I may have a few crises here and there about what goals to pursue and what it takes to get there but when I set my sights, get out of my way.

I started to analyze what this gentleman saw when he saw me. We rarely saw each other, for one thing, because he was always out on projects. Then, when he did see me, I was the front office person. I took care of everyone. I made sure he got paid. I kept the place running smoothly. I suppose he believed this is where I chose to end up... with a lack of aspirations or career goals.

And I mean no offense to anyone else who has a similar job. I know what it takes to keep an office running. It's tantamount to staying home with children as well. It's one of those jobs that gets overlooked because it may not "seem" like much at all. Oh but without us, things would get very, very bad very, very quickly.

This guy missed the memo on what brought me to where I am now, apparently. Nevertheless, I had to look inside to figure out why I took his statement so personally.

I've analyzed this for a while now due to not feeling valued for what I do. I have been stagnant career-wise. After all, I have a great degree and at one point in my career was the sole bread-winner supporting my husband and myself (and paid for a brand new home being built). I am the only one in my family who is a college graduate. I chose to stay home with my children for nearly 4 years of my career, however, and that took some steam out of me. Now, I'm ready to pursue career goals again... choosing to value who I am beyond motherhood.

Then I stopped to look at this stream of thoughts and realized, oh yes, I am still very driven indeed. And I have been... even when I felt like I was stalling.

I CHOSE to put my children first.

I am driven to provide a life for them. A great quality of life. With a mother who is strong, independent, motivated, and driven. I have put my children first personally... choosing to remain close to their father so that they'll grow up under the influence and guidance of both of us. I will not move out of town to be closer to the man that I love but I choose to include him in our lives because he treats me and my children with respect and love. I choose for them to have a model of a relationship built on those qualities as well.

I am driven to have balance. I was offered a spectacular job last week but turned it down because it would mean I'd no longer get to walk my daughters to school in the morning. I know that there is a better fit for me and my life.

I am driven to provide a comfortable standard of living for my daughters, with a good attitude and respect towards money, saving it and spending it.

Now, I am driven to find a job build a new career that is cohesive with my beliefs, who I am now, and that strikes a healthy balance between family and work. I am proud of where I am now and the choices I have made to get here.

Perhaps, to the gentleman passing through the office, who was able to choose from healthy snacks in the break room, who had his expenses paid within days of submitting a report, who enjoyed the amazing Christmas party we have during the holidays, who took for granted the communication flow and respect among our fellow co-workers or the awesome benefits that were coordinated for him, I may not appear to be driven or aspire to much.

But he just doesn't know me that well, now does he?

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