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Flood it with light

Posted on April 03 2016

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“This isn’t who I am”. My friend was almost in tears as she was sharing yet another ridiculous work story with me. She was right, the girl that I speak to in the evenings and on the weekends is completely different from the girl that I encounter during the hours of 9am - 6pm. The interesting thing is that she’s not alone. There are so many people who find themselves soaked in misery during the week and fearful of more misery as the weekend comes to a close and a new week begins.

My friend is the most fun, bright, funny, kind, lighthearted soul I know. There is never a dull moment with her. She is optimistic, adventurous and full of life. Somehow along the way however, she has let a horrible work situation turn her into someone that she is not –constantly afraid and perpetually sad.

In her defense, she is trying to change this situation. The only answer for her at this point is to find another opportunity and move forward. The frustrating part is that the process hasn’t been easy and whilst she’s looking for a way out, she feels stuck. As a recruiter, I’ve come across so many similar stories of people losing themselves in a bad work environment. I’ve been there myself. I remember asking myself once, “ how do you while away time in hell?”.

The answer is simple –flood it with light. Once you understand that no one or in this case, no life / work situation can make you feel less than you are unless you allow it, you can start to shine through whatever circumstance you’re currently experiencing. Flood it with light. Darkness cannot exist where there is light. Fear cannot exist where there is light. Flood it with light.

My happy-go-lucky friend has been beaten down so much by her boss that she feels he’s smothered the light out of her. My advice to her is to come in extra bright-eyed and with a huge smile on Monday. I have tasked her to bring so much joy to that environment that her boss won’t know what hit him. I have made her promise to go the extra mile in everything that she does at work. This isn’t to please anyone other than herself. This is her way of taking back control.

Understanding that she can only control her actions and no one else’s, my friend is not allowed to leave the office with any kind of emotional baggage. Her boss and workplace are not allowed to rent space in her head for free. She will not suffer at work and suffer some more at home by discussing everything that happened or didn’t happen.

It won’t be easy. Af first, she’ll feel like she’s faking it but in the midst of it all, one authentic moment of joy with manifest itself, followed by another and then another. Eventually, where she is won’t matter as much as who she is. She’ll realize that no one can add or take away from who she already is. There will be a sense of peace and then things will change because they always do. They say success is the best revenge, I say happiness is the best revenge.

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