My driver’s licence instructor told me during one of our first lessons “Keep your eyes towards the direction and the place you want to go, look far ahead”. Indeed, looking back or just in front of the car does not help go forward and reach the place that I want to. So so true in so many different ways.
Naturally back then, this piece of advice did not connect with me in all these levels as it did a few years later and as it does now.
Another friend of mine from Norway, told me at one of our bowling games in Zurich, while I was desperately trying to have a strike, succeeding only though to hit one or two pins: “You are trying too much. Just let go.” As simple as that. That phrase literally shocked me so much that moment, that I still remember my reaction; I was left speechless, I said nothing, I smiled and just sat down almost numb.
A few months later same friend in another occasion, as I was complaining (once more) about how cold the weather was in Zurich, he said “Petroula, there is no bad weather, there is just wrong/not proper clothes that we choose to wear in a situation.” Again. Simple words, so many ways to interpret them, so many connections to different situations of my life: personal, professional etc that I found myself faced with over the next years. It is not about what others or other events influence us, but how we prepare ourselves and how we let these factors influence us.
More than a year ago I found myself in front of a huge decision. The scenarios were the following: a. good job with limited duration in Greece at a good Business School, paying X amount salary b. good job at a top 10 University in London, paying 4X amount salary and c. good job at a University in Zurich, paying 7X amount salary. As I usually do in these situations I ask for advice from people I trust that no matter what, I know that they will be brutally honest with me for my sake, like my older sister. Instead of telling me what to do, as I thought I wanted to, she said “Take any decision now that reasonates with you and feels better inside. You can only connect the dots backwards, never forward, so now, you cannot judge whether a decision you make is the best or not. Only time will show.” And even though someone will say that “Ok, that doesn’t really help.”, it did. Profoundly. In a simple and authentic way it gave me that moment what I needed most: peace. It gave me the belief that it will all be fine. And also that I am the writer of the script of my life. One decision does not write the whole plot, it just creates another direction to the scenario, which then can be adjusted in 1,000 more ways. Since then not only am I extremely happy and in peace with my decision. This conscious decision has helped me to be sure of my answers when rejecting offers of 12X salary paying jobs that came afterwards.
Last piece of advice that I told myself during the time of my “turn” as I say it, from the time I worked in a bank (never called myself a banker) to the time I can call myself an educator. A turn that took me more than one and a half years, which included many many job applications, many interviews and 1 job offer (before the above 3 that I mentioned), loads of frustrations, nights and days that I was faced with all my insecurities, tested the authenticity of my relationships with friends and some nights lost hope in front of a situation, also known as “unemployment”. So, this piece of advice was: “It is just a matter of time. If it is not here yet, it is not the right time.” Indeed.
Ok, I lied, that was not the last piece of advice. This one is: “Shut up. And Listen.”