May I remember the fear of the competitive job interview. The cold sweat of the weak odds of getting it.
May I remember not getting the job and that sinking, heavy feeling of being not enough—not good enough. Not smart enough. Not experienced enough.
May I remember the times let show the weight of what I was carrying and the subsequent knowing that my burden would impact the quality of my work even though I did not want it to.
May I remember the start of my business and the many recession years, when I didn’t know where the money would come from to pay bills that were due weeks ago.
May I remember the throat-tightening tension of asking for something that really mattered: a referral, a testimonial, a speaking gig, an opportunity.
May I remember the exultation when I heard “yes!” and the aching loss when I heard “no,” or it’s equivalent disguised beneath “not now” or ignorant silence.
May I remember the bitterness of comparison.
May I remember watching others succeed and be seen and make more $$$.
May I remember the longing for something pretty to wear to work, something fine, something elegant that showed who I thought I needed to be for what they were paying me, as if the outfit was the value.
May I remember being fired and the deeply painful feeling that it was me who had been fired, as if I was broken. I harbored away this pain. Bore it alone and told no one for days, sure that I would never recover.
May I remember the exposure of being the only one. The only woman in a sea of men. The only young person in a sea of elders. The only one who disagreed. The only one who saw it the way I did. Of knowing I should and I must, speak up, but wanting to hide, to be small, to not say the hard thing.
May I remember the days when ‘work’ is suffocated by mental health or legal trouble or chemo or eldercare or addiction and the breaths of air my colleagues gave me with their understanding.
May I remember the walking, heavy-footed, back to work after each of my 3 children’s births; the anchor of longing pulling on my every step.
May I remember the war inside of me as the need to put food on the table struggled against the purpose I gained by simply holding my child against my body, at my breasts, in my arms all day.
May I remember the basking in the glow of a boss who saw me, who noticed my greatness, and who said, “you’ve got this” every single time I doubted myself.
May I remember the trust between my colleagues. ard earned over years of partnership and hard conversations, and how it helped me inhale at work when we were doing hard things.
May I remember the times a colleague threw me under the bus and violated a confidence and I felt gaslighted and stupid and exposed.
May I remember the times when I said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, and hurt someone caused offense, showed my racism or my ableism. The sting of knowing I messed up and the amazing grace when they let me own it and apologize and move forward together.
May I remember what it is like to be out of work, knowing everyone else is going somewhere in the early morning while I wait and scan and search for someone to want to hire me. Hi
When I remember all of this, I can forgive myself for my inadequacies and missteps.
When I remember, I sink into my gratitude for what I have. I remember that when I have enough it is time to give some away to those who don’t.
When I remember, I feel with you and hold space for you to show up as you are to work, doing the best you can.
When I remember, I am a better boss. A better leader. A better team player. A better business owner. A better co-worker. A better everything.
This Thanksgiving season, I remember. It may be the hardest ever for some. I see you. You’ve got this.
Just do the next thing.