I started 2016 full of excitement, ambition and enough passion to fill a football stadium.
A few months in to the year and I had already crowned 2016 the best year of the decade! Probably slightly premature.
I worked hard, spent my summer weekends preparing and endured three intensive interview processes. We would lie in the sun whilst my husband pretended to be the CEO interviewing me over and over as if I was auditioning for Prime Minister.
I threw everything I had at it!
When I got the phone call that I had been accepted for the job I was ecstatic! My friends and family gathered with champagne, phone calls and messages of congratulations came from around the world. We celebrated and we celebrated well!
But what the next few months brought no one could predict (well, maybe not no one).
In the midst of starting a new job and waiting for my previous role to be filled I was completing my dissertation: “Leave No-One Behind: Australia’s Promise to Aboriginal Children”.
I had a great routine going. 5am, coffee on, pug snuggled on my lap, Channel 9 feeding me the world’s latest stories as the sun began to rise and laptop open.
I felt like I was acing this whole Girl Boss thing. Until one day I didn’t.
My travel schedule was so full that I’d forget to tell my husband, only to realise when he looked at me strange whilst I packed my bag.
One afternoon sitting at the airport I realised I had completely forgot to put make-up on that morning – and had sat through three interviews! I mean honestly, how does that even happen!
On top of that – I grossly underestimated the adjustment to my new job. I was no longer wearing Nikes out in the community; I was sitting in boardrooms with suits. I was always the youngest and often the only woman in the room.
Lots of sleepless nights. Anxiety and breathlessness. And lots of what the heck am I doing moments.
And so I did what any self-respecting reputation-upholding woman would do.
I wrote some notes, took a deep breath, walked in to the office of my boss, and long time mentor, and in no uncertain terms declared that I would be leaving.
He looked up at me with a grin, and began to laugh.
Clearly not the reaction I was going for.
He returned my declarations with soft words. You’re not going anywhere; you’re just exhausted.
And he was right, then, and the several times after where I made the same dramatic entrance in to his office.
My job is more than a job to me. It’s my contribution to the world. But my contribution can only ever be as strong as me.
I don’t mean the ‘I’ve got it all together’ strong. I mean the ‘don’t try be a hero I need to rest’ strong.
Sometimes we have to choose to be brave enough to admit that we don’t have it all together. We have to concede that we need rest. And in the ambition fuelled fast paced world of 2016, we need the courage to not quit, but just slow the heck down.
On Friday night our team won an award for the project I had tried to quit on just a few months earlier.
I’m so thankful that those closest to me didn’t let me quit, but gently, and sometimes forcefully, urged me to rest, and believed in who they knew I was until I was me again.
Our contribution to the world is only as strong as we are. We must choose well.