Susceptibility to externalities

After a day of ego blows the day before, it was fascinating to reflect on my response yesterday. I gravitated towards creating things, and showing people what I had created in order to get positive feedback, and help me feel better again.

One of the things I created was a soccer goal for my kids, combining two other soccer goals that were falling apart to make one that was perfect for our purposes. The act of creating was soothing. Able to look at something I had put together from other, discarded, things was satisfying. Showing it to others gave me a buzz.

I did some similar things with a spreadsheet I had created at work: refining, revelling, showing. And with some sales I made of the breath mints.

I am taking some good and not so good points in reflecting on this. The good is that in acting despite how I feel, particularly in creating or refining something, I feel empowered and alive and taking responsibility for my plight. This is so good in helping me move through a tricky patch.

The not so good is the desire for and boost I get from external feedback. In itself there is nothing wrong with it, it can be a great way of validating that I have created something useful. However if I become dependant upon the feedback to get me out of a tricky patch, then I am simply finding the other end of the spectrum of where I was: having my feelings dictated by externalities.

Externalities can be a good guide, but I don't want them to be my driving force. This I want to come from within.

Dealing when the bad news comes

I may need to wait a few days before publishing this post. I think I need to edit and reread it after I have calmed down a bit. For the minute though I need to write down how I am feeling to help process what is going on.

I have been going through a job interview process, one that started about three months ago, and which today I was informed that my application had not proceeded to the final short list of 3.

An hour after finding out about this I still feel very disappointed. There is definitely a lot of ego tied up in this - I thought I was good enough to do this job, and if there was anybody going to be saying no it was going to be me saying it. 

There is also a sense of wanting to be wanted. This is my first interview process since finishing my gap year, and I have a nagging sense somewhere deep down that I don't have anything of value to offer, or that if I do I want be able to find the place where this can be expressed. Going for a job I thought I should get, and then being told that I am not even in the top three, adds fodder for that nagging sense to make use of.

The drawn-out timeframe and quality of the interview process also adds to my frustration. Communication has been relatively sparse throughout the process, and the actually interviews themselves have left a bit to be desired. For a business that is lean and nimble and all about innovation and new ways of working, the interview process was from a bygone era. I would have expected more of a discussion based, rather than formal/panel based, interview process. One where I was asked to do some homework and present back some findings. I don't mind being put on the spot, but for the type of job they were looking to fill, I was expecting a different approach.

(Okay that last paragraph is me being perhaps justifiably pissed with them, perhaps exaggerating through being angry in this moment. Either way there isn't anything I can do about this. That is their stuff to improve and something for the person who gets the job to deal with. Let me see if I can actually get to what is going on within me...)

The crazy thing is that I actually know that I would not have accepted the job had I been offered it. They have made the correct decision about me despite the clumsiness of it. I am not exactly sure what it is, but there was something inside me that sunk whenever I thought about working there. This is despite it being a great business filled with purposeful people.

I think it is because I know that deep down I want to build my own business, not somebody else's. I have built other people's dreams before, and I don't think doing this again is going to offer me sufficient challenge or satisfaction. Nor would the logistics of that job work for me - it needed a 2-4 year commitment, whereas I don't really know what position I will be in in 12 months. 

In continuing through the interview process despite my sense that the job was not right for me, what I was actually looking for was reassurance that I was still employable. I was looking for some external confirmation that I was enough.

The truth is I am enough. Just as I am, and I have a strong hunch that the direction I am going in is the right one for me. I don't know the details of how things will pan out, how I will earn an income over the next few months while I get my business off the ground.

I trust in the process which has taken me so far so quickly, and for the moment I allow myself to feel disappointed and vulnerable.