At the end of what can be termed the most trying quarter I’ve had to endure professionally (so far), I thought I should give an honest account of the struggles I have faced as a young professional and the lessons I have drawn along the way. Whereas this writing may resonate with others, I will mostly write from my perspective.
But before I start, here’s a musical attachment (which I believe explains this musing ) to accompany your reading:
The space I find myself in as a young professional is a whirlwhind of contradictions.
On one hand, I am entirely thrilled and overjoyed to have a job (the unemployment rate in my country and region is devastatingly low- my placement can’t be taken for granted). I feel achieved and privileged. Most days feel like blessings and I rarely doubt my potential and abilities.
On the other hand, however, I am just starting out- with a blank slate. Every day serving as a deposit in my bank of experiences. This means I am yet to make numerous errors and be filled with feelings of inadequacy and doubt along the way. People that have managed to rank high in the professional world attest to the fact that the journey is not one without struggles. But, much as we are told to expect struggles, the impact that downfalls may have on our mental health and well being has not been talked about enough. But no one can be blamed for this as it is largely a personal and subjective experience.
One of my personality traits is that I am a perfectionist. I usually like things done the right way and I take delight in positive results and accomplishments. This is as much of a blessing as it can be a “curse”. It is a blessing to the extent that this ability makes me go the extra mile in ensuring I do my level best in every discourse- socially, professionally, etc. However, it is a “curse” to the extent that it does not teach me how to surmount situations when regardless of doing my best; my best is not- good enough.
This has been the biggest struggle of being a young professional. There is an overwhelming desire to be immediately good (exceptional if anything). There is a tendency to knowingly and even unknowingly overlook the fact that our role models took years to perfect their craft and be able to navigate complex situations with ease. If there is a place where experience has proved to be a good teacher, it is the professional world. Young professionals, like myself, must be alive to this fact. We should not be too hard on ourselves as we journey and grow.
Lately, I have come to learn that what matters most is how many times I pick myself up after every down fall. As Taio Cruz sings in the embedded song, “sometimes the pain is what we need for us to grow“. All the failures experienced along the way are stepping stones as we strive for greatness. We must always appreciate the lessons that come with the journey and embrace both highs and lows.
I can’t wait to be a seasoned professional who would’ve risen above all the set backs and lessons and developed the required skill and expertise to THRIVE. Until then, I remain a struggling young professional who wakes up everyday and reminds herself that hitting rock bottom (the worst case scenario) only leaves room for one option- RISING ABOVE. Like Taio sings, “even with broken wings sometimes you find your way to FLY“
The following points explain how I surmount feelings of inadequacy as a young professional:
- I remind myself that I am where I am for a PURPOSE, otherwise, I wouldn’t be there.
- I affirm myself. Take a bathroom break, look in the mirror and say: “I am smart, I am capable, I will WIN”
- I consult and have open conversations with my seniors, I ask how they dealt with setbacks when they were in my position and what they would advise me to do differently. I believe that there is power in community and that we are never without a friend.
- I listen to UPLIFTING music- works like a charm 🙂
How do you rise above feelings of inadequacy as a young professional or even generally?
It’s time to be: BIGGER; STRONGER & HARDER.
I CAN BE.
I WILL BE.