The yoke of paying off my family’s debt is still there. For a while, it was slowly starting to lessen. But not for long unfortunately - it started to spiral again as my father’s income dwindled further and more family expenses crept in. Long story short, I ended up having to take out a substantial personal loan by the end of 2019. And then the global pandemic hit at the beginning of 2020 - government cracked down on public transport - and suddenly my Dad had no income whatsoever. Four years after graduating, I’m still living with the expectation that my income will support my family and pay off all their debts. However, despite COVID, I am happy to say that we are now almost debt-free - and I managed to pay off the large personal loan I had at the end of 2020. My oldest brother has started a job in the military - and whilst he doesn’t get his first paycheque until he’s been there six months (and he still won’t pay as much as me) - he’ll soon join me in supporting the family.
Right now my ups and downs are normal. I’ve overcome the worst of my depression. I’ve learned to empathize and see other people’s point of view - especially my family’s. The leadership role I have at work has proved an invaluable reminder of living my truth and my values - there is no point in lying to myself - or any of my team. Now when I encourage others in my professional environment I know that I’m walking my talk.
I am not afraid to cry now. In fact, just yesterday I cried having no idea why. And that’s ok. It’s healthy and makes you feel a whole lot better letting it out. It’s not weak to feel your feelings and show your emotions. Quite the opposite actually. Expressing yourself is part of loving yourself. Crying helps so much to unburden and relieve the pain, to open up and face where you are. I realised that my thoughts were creating my reality - it was not what was happening to me - but how I was thinking about it. We all have choices every day - no matter what curveball is being thrown our way - the biggest one being our perception of whatever is happening.
I might not have had a carefree childhood, but my family groomed me to be responsible and learn to take care of myself and others. The biggest lesson from my journey so far is the importance of loving myself - I’m currently promoting this to anyone who will listen! Most of us are alone during this pandemic - so never was it more important to self-reflect and know your own value - especially in your darkest moments. My motto in life has become ‘focus on the solutions rather than the problems - there is always good to be found - even in the world we are living in right now.’ The pandemic has helped me find my love of creating art - and helped me to stop playing the video games I was so obsessed with on my phone. I’ve learned to focus on doing the things I really love - rather than distracting myself with things that were just time-wasting and pain-numbing. I’m living my best life, in the present moment, not worrying about the future and things I can’t control. I’m a leader, I’m strong - I know others can rely on me. I live with gratitude rather than resentment. I appreciate myself rather than looking for kudos from others. My family and life circumstances were sent to teach me all of these things - without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m 24 and the only way is up!
If my story is hooking you in and you’d like to hear more (super succinct!) first hand tales from some of my teammates, click here for more #unleashinghumanpotential stories.
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