With the benefit of hindsight and a considerable distance in time I’m now able to look back at the bullying I experienced in corporate and see it in a whole new light.
I went through several periods of bullying during my 20+ year corporate career. Some were at the hands of aggressive bullies, whilst others were much more subtle.
But whether you’re facing the in-your-face abuse of an aggressive bully or the constant obstacles being placed in your way, being overlooked or excluded from opportunities and the gradual isolation from the rest of your colleagues that are the hallmarks of the manipulative bully, the end result is the same. You end up having your confidence being systematically eroded and the stress and strain of trying to cope for too long on your own ends up having an impact on both your physical and mental health.
I spent so long feeling like there must be something wrong with me, especially as it kept happening to me. And every time it did it reinforced my growing belief that for some reason I wasn’t likeable, although I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.
It took me years after leaving the corporate world behind of deep delving and self-development to slowly rebuild my confidence again. And along that journey of self-discovery I also began to develop a new perspective on everything I’d been through.
I learned is that although it all felt very personal at the time, in most cases, it actually wasn’t about me at all. In some cases, the ‘bully’s’ actions were a deliberate attempt to create drama based on a hidden agenda where their target was the organisation and I was simply collateral damage. In others, their behaviour was more an unconscious reflection of their own insecurities.
But what I discovered above anything though was that although it wasn’t about me…it was all about me.
Confused…!?!?! Then let me explain…
At the time those bouts of bullying were going on, especially the last one which led to my decision to leave corporate and work for myself, I felt like the whole situation was out of my control. And as someone who hates confrontation, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I went into survival mode.
I tried to carry on as if nothing was wrong, painting a smile on my face and throwing myself into my work. I didn’t tell anyone what was happening or how I felt, not even my family, because I was embarrassed and thought I could cope with it on my own. I was also constantly questioning whether it was really as bad as I thought it was because the actions were so subtle and I didn’t think anyone would believe me even if I did tell them. And also, because I’ve always put other peoples’ feelings first, I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble or upset them, even though I was going through hell and was increasingly on edge whenever I had contact with them.
I tried to keep going, finding ways around the obstacles that were being put in my path and focusing on delivering results in the hope the situation would sort itself out…but it didn’t.
And then one day something in me snapped and I felt myself spiralling down into an emotional black hole barely able to get out of bed in the morning.
For years afterwards I would dwell on what had happened, going over it again and again in my head, beating myself up and trying to work out what was wrong with me.
My first few attempts at going alone were done from a place of fear. I would hide behind the business trying to be as invisible as possible and playing small because I thought by doing so I could avoid ending up in the same situation again, but life doesn’t work that way. As a result, those first attempts at entrepreneurship never really got off the ground.
And then one day I had a massive breakthrough…
I realised I had a choice…in fact I’d had a choice all along I just didn’t realise it because I was so caught up in my woes.
I realised that whilst I’d been allowing the past to control me for all those years, the other parties involved had probably forgotten all about it long ago.
So if you’re in a similar situation, or any situation where you feel you have no control, know this…YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE!
You may not be able to control what life throws at you or how other people behaviour or act…but you have a choice about how you react to it, and whether or not you allow them to impact on your life moving forwards.
Having a choice isn’t about confronting the bully or other disrupting factor head on if you don’t want to. It’s about staying in control and making your own decisions rather than being the victim and passively allowing things to just happen.
You get to choose whether to make a stand, seek support or remove yourself from the situation.
You get to choose what stories you tell yourself and how you allow events to influence how you view yourself.
You get to choose who you allow to be part of your circle and to what extent you want to let them in.
You get to choose to put yourself, your feelings and needs and desires first without feeling guilty.
And you can choose whether you are going to allow your experiences to control you or to drive you.
But most of all, it’s important to remember, your past does NOT define you…only you can do that!
Are you fed up of suffering in silence?
Are you tired of being undervalued, overlooked and feeling unfulfilled?
If you’re ready to take charge of your life, and start putting yourself first by stepping up and creating your own future, then it’s time to book your Build Your Business session.