Most of the people I interview are extraverts, people who enjoy sharing parts of themselves with the world. That covers only half of the world, however. I’ve known Janet for years and really admire her strong sense of self and her encouragement of other introverts to use their introverted strengths in their small businesses. So, let’s see what someone from the other half of the extravert/introvert equation has to say about Someday Syndrome.
Who: Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant
Janet Barclay is an introvert who has found her bliss working from home as a virtual assistant and website designer.
Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
As a bit of background, in 2002 I started a part-time organizing/virtual assistant business as a way to make a little extra money in my spare time. My full-time employment at the time was based on a government contract, which was renewed as of April 1st each year. Gradually I came to realize that I wanted to work in my business full time. I knew there was a good chance our contract would not be renewed after March 31, 2005, so I had in mind that by that time I would be ready to give it a go.
The contract was unexpectedly cancelled mid-year, and my program shut down in July 2004. I wasn’t yet making enough from my business to make a living at it, but was making too much to qualify for unemployment benefits. Furthermore, since my business was already up and running, I wouldn’t qualify for the government’s small business program for unemployed individuals. I felt I had no choice but to take a position in another location with my employer, even though it really wasn’t a job I wanted to do. In addition, whereas my previous position was relatively flexible, the new one had a fixed schedule which prevented me from attending morning or lunchtime networking events, or taking on any all-day or out-of-town organizing jobs.
After going through some other personal and financial difficulties that year, I really felt that life was unfair, and was just plain miserable.
Even our lowest moments fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I think I allowed myself to wallow in my misery because I needed to convince myself that I didn’t deserve all the bad things that were happening.
Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
As it turned out, I wasn’t the only unhappy person in my new workplace. There were quite a few organizational changes taking place, and morale was really low. One of the changes involved an upcoming relocation to smaller offices, which was going to make things even worse. One of my co-workers, said how much he’d love to leave before the move took place. It wasn’t really an option for him, but I realized it WAS an option for me, and I submitted my resignation, effective February 25, 2005 – one month sooner than my original plan.
Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
I was a bit nervous about money, but mostly I was very excited, like I was finally taking charge of my situation. One of my existing clients was a coach, so I asked her to help me build my business to the level I needed, in lieu of paying for my services. Even that was a little scary, since I would no longer have her income, but it all worked out. By 2006 I was earning a regular income, and I expect to be 100% debt free before summer.
Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I have to admit that I suffer from I’ll Get Around to it Someday when it comes to travelling. I would really love to see much more of Canada than I have, but I’ve only taken one real vacation in the past ten years. I’m not by nature someone to initiate activities, and my husband is even more of a homebody than I am, so nothing gets planned. The one trip I did take came about because I was invited by another family member.
Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I’m starting to realize that if I want to travel (and I do!), I need to be the one who comes up with a plan. I can then present that plan to my husband, and if it’s not something he wishes to do, I’ll need to find a friend or relative to go away with me.
Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Just remember that you control your own life, so if there’s something you want, you have to make it happen. You can’t wait for someone else to make it happen for you.
If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
It’s tempting to say I’d like someone to tell me about a great trip they’ve planned and invite me to come along, but that would kind of contradict what I said in the last two questions! Maybe some suggestions about great places to see in Canada, with affordable accommodations, would get me fired up enough to do something about it.