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All of a sudden my perspective changed again. I started to think about ways to make my exit. Even though I had been showing up everyday and fighting the good fight, I was done. Even me being there was too much support for a company being led in a way I didn’t agree with. I continued to do what I had been doing for the last three years and show up to work with courage, but I was done.
My husband and I had conversations about when do I do it, how do I do it, and what do I say, and then I would spend my free time sorting through those exact questions on my own. I wanted it to be true to me. Within that time, I picked up Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong and started to read it. It helped me clarify how I wanted my exit process to go and it gave me the strength to see the beauty of what could be waiting on the other side, the opportunity to live wholeheartedly. Which is honestly all I wanted in the first place.
A month had gone by and I had been waiting for an opportunity to arise to meet with the owner. I had been reading old journals in that time and really started to see how much I had grown over the last three years. I also read a few entries that made me cringe. I couldn’t believe I had let someone treat me the way he had at times. It was time to stick up for myself.
Then it happened on a Friday. I finished a session with one of my clients and went to talk to my husband. I looked at him and said, “I just want it to be over.” The tears came and he took me to a quiet area.
He sat with me patiently as I bumbled through some of my thoughts and then he said, “You don’t owe him anything or this company anything else. You’ve done everything you could. You don’t owe him anything.” It was his gentle way of saying, “I can’t watch you do this to yourself, let’s move forward."
That weekend I spent grieving for the loss of the vision I believed in so much, I wrote this post on Viva and I took care of me. I had moments where I curled up in a ball, not knowing what I was feeling, and then other moments where I knew what had to come next—what I wanted that to look like.
I read more of Rising Strong, I wrote three drafts of what I would say in my resignation meeting and I talked to people in my support system. Then, Sunday afternoon, I texted the owner and asked him for a meeting. It was set: Tuesday at 1 PM.
Monday night I arrived home before my husband and I was reading through my points of what I wanted to say in my resignation meeting. I wanted it to represent me: Calm, firm, compassionate. I didn’t want to allow him to lead me into sabotaging myself. I started to get nervous, with my heart pounding in my throat. I had to do something to release this anxiousness. My husband walked in the door, I talked to him about what I was feeling, and then I remembered something! On a particularly challenging Thursday I had sent this song to one of the other staff.
I played the song from my phone, with the volume on full blast, laughed, danced, and sang my way through it. I was ready to go to sleep and wake up to the next day.
I got up and kept my Tuesday morning like any other morning. I went for a walk, where a poem came in to my head. I have gotten in the habit of when things like that happen on my walks then I voice record them on my phone. That poem helped me that morning look past the meeting that was going to happen, and I got excited for the future. I just had this hard thing to get through.
I talked to my first client of the morning. She has been with me since 2010. She has been the representation of a Strong Woman and I admire her greatly. She was very proud of me and so excited that I had come to this decision. She gave me a hug when she left and a big smile and wave.
The time for the meeting came. I went into the office to wait for the owner to arrive. He arrived late, which is typical. I ponder now if he knew something was up. After he was done excusing himself for being late, he complimented me on my hair. I sipped my tea, something I’d taken in the room to help centre me and keep my focus. I had promised myself that if I needed to take a moment to think, I would take a sip of my tea.
In the meeting, the owner seemed surprised, disheartened. He asked me to consider staying. We conversed for 50 minutes. He asked, “Haven’t you noticed the changes I have been making?” and “if there is too much water under the bridge…”
My responses were often the same, “My heart isn’t ready to, yet again, open to this company.”
When I left the meeting I was in a daze. I walked to the front desk and the administrator there said something had arrived for me, pointing to a beautiful bouquet of flowers. My client, the one I had seen earlier in the day, had sent them along to me.
It was an emotional day and the conversation was whirling through my head. However, I knew I had done the right thing.
One of my friends messaged me and asked, “Do you feel empowered?” and that made be realize: I had represented myself well. I kept calm in the meeting, was able to speak some of my truths, and hadn’t felt the need to fill the uncomfortable silences.
My husband and I were able to talk and he offered me the space to just speak aloud to what had transpired. He seemed a bit worried that my resignation hadn’t been final, however, that concern disappeared when I told him I hadn’t changed my mind.
Tuesday night I had trouble sleeping, which is unusual for me. But as I sat on the sofa sorting through the conversation from earlier in the day, I realized my inability to fall asleep that night was not from worry. It was from excitement and inspiration. Excitement that my future was now more in my control and I recognized that my actions of the day had truly lifted my spirits, helping me recognize my own strength.
The next morning I was writing in my journal and remembered my friend asking me if I felt empowered. I realized that I couldn’t have asked for a better resignation meeting, especially considering how some other people had exited that company. I looked up a song on YouTube and played it for myself, and once again, sang and cried and laughed my way through it.
I knew I still had some of the hardest parts of saying goodbye ahead of me, telling my long-time clients I was leaving the company, but... “I faced it all, and stood tall, and did it my way.”
Time may have been up at that company, but—like I said—I was excited to have my future ahead of me, and the pen in my hand.