I have always been a proponent of having a Plan B–a backup plan just in case what you are doing now turns out to miss the mark for bringing health, wealth and happiness into your life or it somehow gets taken away from you, much as a job might. Recently, I realized that I spend a great deal of time thinking, no, it is deeper than that, it is pining for my Plan B to become my Plan A. And then something unpleasant happened at work.
For a moment, I allowed someone else’s frustrations with their work life to make me question myself and my worth. This person not only challenged my loyalty to him and the organization but he also expressed his doubts about my knowledge, skills and abilities to do my job.
I was very upset at his comments and started to second guess whether or not I really was capable of doing the job. I started to go to that place where my negative self-image lives–that padlocked place that holds all the doubts I have about myself and that safe-keeps all the disparaging comments that others have felt the need to share with me over the course of a 45-year lifetime. I am sure you know the ones I am talking about. Your mother telling you how lucky you are to be smart because you aren’t pretty. Or your father saying you don’t have the head for numbers so you better marry well. Or your friends reminding you that you are size 14 when they are all size 2, as if you could forget that! You can’t cook, you are too loud, your feet are too big, your breasts are you too small and you are a terrible lover. Yes, those comments that could repeat endlessly in your head and eat away at any self-esteem you may have.
I allowed that spirit-sapping recording to meander through my head and my mood got worse. I was wallowing in self-pity and would have drowned in it if not for a coworker. This coworker had never seen me anything but positive and upbeat and was upset that I was upset. She didn’t ask me what happened, only because the entire office had heard the exchange, but she sat on the edge of my desk, adopted the most serious face she could and said, “Barbados 2010!” before breaking into suppressed laughter.
For the past 5 years I have been saying “Barbados 2010” because a significant part of Plan B is to live in a tropical country where I never have to deal with cold and snow again. No, I’m not Barbadian, I’m Jamaican. But I fell in love with the island and like that it is easy to navigate, is economically stable and is one of the more progressive island in the Caribbean. These two words were all I needed to hear to put his man and his misguided opinions about me and my abilities into perspective. Within seconds I was grinning from ear-to-ear and within minutes I was taking steps to make my Plan B into Plan A.
I have never been the consummate employee. I have walked away from many jobs because they didn’t fit what I wanted in my life at the time. This job is no different. While I enjoy what I do and I really like my coworkers, at the end of the day, it is just a job, a pay cheque. And worse, it is someone telling me what time to show up, what time to leave, how they think I should behave and ultimately, telling me what I’m worth by what they pay me. My worth is priceless and this encounter reminded me of that.
My first step was to book a flight to Barbados for two weeks of alone time to put my Plan B into action. The other part of Plan B is to use my newly acquired Bachelor of Education, Adult Education, and my soon to be completed Masters degree, to do the thing that I am most passionate about–teaching, but teaching on my terms and from my own company. I know it is going to take time and money to turn B to A but by taking coordinated action steps and by using the power of my thoughts there will be no more employee status in my future! And it’s working. I’ve already attracted four new friends with business and educational ties to Barbados, including the Consul General of Barbados. I’ve got meetings scheduled during my visit and a realtor looking at both residential and commercial property. I’m on my path to Barbados 2010. My Plan B is finally moving from backup to reality.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” unknown author
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein
These are interesting times.
C. Carol Brown