Don’t Break the Cycle

It starts in Kindergarten. You’re the new kid in the school and you need to begin establishing yourself. Now, you’re only 5 years old so you don’t even know this is happening, but your teachers do and they keep all the dirt in a student record that follows you for the next 13 years or so.

In the mean time, you work away making good and bad choices, but you make it to grade eight. Life is good! You own the school. You’re a senior. All the younger kids want to be like you because you are the top of the school’s food chain.

When grade nine starts and it’s time to start again at the bottom. You are a bottom feeder, a basement dweller. A minor niner. It’s tough to adapt for some people. Once heading up the grades, you are now nothing to the grade 12s.

Given time, usually four years, but sometimes five or more, you make it to the top again! This time though, 10 percent of the students have dropped out. They have struggled to find their place. Challenges were beyond ability. Peer settings were not conducive to success and belonging. Those who survive go on to become high school seniors. The elite of the secondary school.

Seems like we’ve been here before doesn’t it? Oh right, back in grade eight! Relive the days of being on top of the world, heading up the schools hierarchy of students. Then it happens.

Post Secondary Education. First year of university or college. You get on campus and you wander around in awe of the grandeur, but also worried like a lost puppy in a city you’ve never seen. You’re at the bottom again. The feeling here is different though. You are encouraged and supported. You have a greater sense of purpose, of future, even belonging. There is some intense learning about to take place. Everything you’ve done up to now has helped you get here, but this is a new game. This is a game changer.

Fast forward, three, four, eight years. You have your degree in hand and you’re out the door into the world. Time to start the career. You find it, the one you’ve been working so hard for, and guess what? You’re at the bottom of the pecking order again. The bottom rung of the ladder. The new guy. You are working with people who have years, even decades of experience. You, well, you just got here.

Statistics say that most people are changing jobs every two to three years now. Not everyone though. Not that cranky old guy that knows how to crush your spirit. Not the cantankerous women who has been sitting at the front desk for twenty years. She knows how to rob the joy from the very depths of your soul.

You need to find your place and hang on to your own self worth. Then the day will likely come when you reach the top of your game and it’s no longer a challenge to you. You’ve seen countless new staff come on board and look to you for answers and guidance. Now, well now it’s time to move on to a new adventure. It’s getting boring here. You can’t move around anymore.

Starting again, at the bottom of the ladder, looking to the top, where you want to be.

It’s a good cycle really. One that shouldn’t be broken. This cycle can empower us to stay on our game, to be continually challenged, even renewed. Staying on top too long can make you forget how vulnerable and replaceable you really are.

I just changed jobs after 11 ½ years. It’s a safe change though since I am slated to return to my old position in one year. Day one was like the first day in a new school. I was five years old again. I was in grade nine again. It was the first day of college again. It was time to find my fit in a new job setting. One that will stretch my comfort level beyond anything I have experienced. It’s good.

Change is needed, otherwise we become stagnant. We become too comfortable and we reject progress. Challenges keep us fresh or we risk resting on our laurels.

Starting in a new job, a new team, even moving to a new province or country to take up a new life brings with it a set of feelings and emotions that cause disturbance in our inner being. It’s good though, don’t worry. You are on a journey to become who are meant to be.

Each of us has a purpose and a destiny. Staying in the safety and comfort zones will rob you of your true potential. We each have more ability than we can imagine! You really do! Each of us is a creation, a unique, purposed and caused creation that has a distinct role to fulfill. Take courage – it’s there to be had – and try something new. Start something new. Be something new.

French poet and philosopher, Paul Valery (October 30, 1871 – July 20, 1945) once said, “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”

Physicist Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) is to have said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Everyone has a story. How you choose to live your life helps to build the plot line of your story. Will your story be one of mystery, drama, adventure, revolution, motivation, encouragement? Or will it sit on the shelves in the cognitive library of life, where no one takes a second glance?

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