Confidence in Our Selves

My new job has been difficult to say the least, but in the way I had looked and anticipated for. I’m back in an industry that I have not worked in for 12 years (oil and gas), along with that I have to adopt to new personalities from our clients. I’m spending weekends trying to catch up, and I’m writing this blog to take a break. For the last few weeks, I’ve been constantly on my toes at work, juggling multiple projects and worried that I will drop the ball on one.  But I would say that the biggest fear is not having a good grasp on this industry. My line of work as a Business Analyst is nothing new to me, but my strength in this line of work is proportional to my understanding of how this industry operates.

I’ve spent my weekends reading books, training guides, and catching up on specific work deliverables. It’s been a eye opener since I left my last job of 6 years and 4 months. I took a risk and left a job where I was a clear subject matter expert. Why I left is not the main purpose of this post, but just know that if you were in my shoes, you’d do the same.

I am also coming into this new job as an experienced analyst, whereas last time I started as an entry level recent college graduate. There are expectations that I will learn things faster and do things better than I did 6 years ago. The pressure is mounting up and I’m doing my best to meet the challenges. I do miss the times when I could analyze and think of solutions with a short time span. And during that time span, I never felt stressed because I knew a solution would come sooner or later. However, it took years to get to that point. My first 2 years were probably some of the toughest I had to deal with.

Despite starting a new company with green hands, I do have the advantage of drawing extensive experience from the past. In the past few days it’s become more clearer than ever that our career performance depends mainly on our state of mind, and not on our skill sets. But don’t get me wrong, our skill set plays a huge role in our state of mind, but knowing how to do something is not the same as having confidence in doing something. Confidence comes from within us, and it isn’t something we can just learn from a text book – we have to embrace life’s challenges to find confidence in our selves. From a day to day perspective, my definition of confidence is our mental capacity to handle the unexpected challenges and events that happen outside the bounds of our control on a daily basis. This alone does control a significant part of the quality of life we live on a daily basis. It’s not about solving a problem per say, but more so of how to deal with something when it happens, and not let it get the best of us, no matter how difficult it may appear to be. We need to be confident in our selves to think things through and make best of a situation based on the information we know and the factors that we have control over.

I sincerely believe this applies to everything we do and we can live a much more appreciative life if we constantly work towards this.

Good Luck My Friend!

Last night a well respected friend left the states to return back to his hometown in China. Several of his classmates/friends and me, his former landlord, went to see him off at the airport. Tenant departures in the past have never been so dramatic, as generally I choose not to have a close relationship to those that I do business with, no matter how much money is involved, and likewise vice versa.

But inevitably it was difficult to do. During the 1.5 years that he lived with me, he never gave me any reason to keep a distance. Before I knew it, we had meaningful conversations at night – ones that truly reflect the way we live and view the importance of our lives. We spoke of relationships, business, jobs, friendships, romantic relationships (including introducing me to one), and whatever relevant topic made sense at the time. His background gave me a different perspective on how the wealthy perceived living life, yet he never lived a life that looked wealthy (from a materialistic point of view).

At first, I actually didn’t want to go to the airport. I knew that seeing his departure would make it difficult for me, but once he made his way through airport security, I was glad I went. Buddhist meditation teaches students not to cling on hard to anything, as it would create a craving which will bring us misery if it is not fulfilled. Avoiding it is not the solution – the solution is to embrace it knowing that it will come and go. During the time span between when it comes and goes, no matter how long, we are taught to live in the moment, enjoy what we are experiencing, and be grateful that it happened. Life is too short and precious to constantly cling onto the past, and worry too much about the future. Life is the here and now.

My thoughts from Vipassana

I been meaning to write some time ago since returning home from my 10 day meditation retreat. But things happened so fast. I needed a week to catch up with my life, and then I started working on my resume to find a new job – long story short, 3 weeks later I had an offer on the table and I am soon to start a new and exciting job!

Many that know me asked: Why? Where? How? What do you expect to get out of it?

Knowing why is OK. Where is simply logistical. How was still to be determined. But I realized, thinking about what to expect is not the way to do it. Meditation focuses on the depths of your own mind. Going in with expectations would prevent your mind from letting it naturally heal and grow during the meditation process. This explains why the teacher didn’t allow us to speak to anyone for 10 days. He wanted us to understand and absorb meditation as our own mind would understand.

So what happened with me? For 10 days, I became calm and managed to better disconnect my mind from emotions. During the meditation sessions, nothing “great” happened because I was only focused on mastering the technique. It was during those moments of breaks and personal silence outside of meditation that thoughts surfaced up.  My emotions were in check – I was purely in a state of mind that was emotionally disconnected, which allowed me to analyze and ponder in a very practical manner. Things that bothered me no longer seemed as bad. Problems all of a sudden became trivial But most importantly, I came out with the courage to make a change in my life.

If you are reading this and want to try this technique of meditation, don’t go into it thinking about what I wrote here. Go into it with a blank state of mind and let your mind wander by itself while it is being exercised with this technique. Use it as time to understand yourself.

If any readers have questions, feel free to leave comments and I’ll respond when I get a chance!