Leadership

How I Broke Out Of My Cocoon To Become The Butterfly I Really Am

Clare Anderson
15th July 2021
 < 1 min read

Raya, Invoice Data Capture Specialist

I was seen as a hyperactive and happy-go-lucky child. It wasn’t until my teens that my anxiety really started to become apparent - and I became more and more of a recluse. Before I knew it, I had trouble interacting with people - even talking to the cashier at a grocery store was an ordeal for me! I managed to get through my degree at college but things worsened when I graduated and came home to live with my family again. I cut myself off from all social interaction - giving excuses not to go to gatherings, depressed and cocooned in my own safe haven. Most nights I went to sleep with a heavy heart, knowing I was preventing myself from evolving and growing. For eighteen months I buried myself in an endless abyss of negativity and isolation - and had no idea where my future lay. 

The support of my boyfriend Henry - who’s also an introvert - was wonderful. He gently and patiently encouraged me to do things that scared me - like applying for a job! However, I knew I had to turn inwards whilst I figured out how to combat my ever-present anxiety. I did things that made me feel grounded. Reading, writing fanfiction, journaling and drawing - all very therapeutic - gave me the confidence to realize that I was taking baby steps in healing. Always remember baby steps - just one day at a time! I think the real turning point in my overall state of mind came when I passed a Civil Service exam I’d decided to take. It gave me the boost I so desperately needed. I realised that if I could do this, I could do anything! I suddenly felt like I was awakening from a deep slumber and that I was starting to spread my wings and grow. Motivated, I then took another certified exam and passed this too! My studies had all been of my own initiative - success in them finally made me start to realise that I was capable of doing things that scared me! 

This led to finding the courage to start applying for jobs - despite the interview process terrifying me. People don’t always notice but I tend to laugh nervously and awkwardly at any given chance when I’m speaking to people. Henry role-played interviews with me to give me the practise and confidence I needed . Yvonne, an introverted friend of mine, had just landed a job with Sharesource and she told me all about the incredibly fun working environment there. This inspired me further - I so needed a non-toxic and safe space that I could depend on every day. Somehow the universe conspired to throw an opening relevant to my skills in my pathway - and I knew I had to apply. The Sharesource interview process could not have been more different from others I’d experienced. Everyone was warm, kind, friendly and approachable. They listened to me and didn’t make me feel irrelevant. I knew I would fit into their environment and that the job was mine - the heavy weight on my heart finally lifted.

Two years down the line I still enjoy my colleagues’ company and laugh and interact with them every day - despite the pandemic causing us to work remotely. I’ve found my safe space in the world - but - totally unlike the safe space I thought I had created for myself - this one allows me to grow, develop my leadership skills and realize my full potential. Just the fact I am sharing my story with you now shows how far I have come. Forget grocery store cashiers - I can now interact with anyone with grace, ease and confidence! And you know what, I’m proud of myself - and give myself credit for having spread the wings I’ve always had. 

 

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