I feel like I've been giving a lot of pep talks lately, and been needing them a bit, too. So many things can bring out our deepest insecurities - new jobs, new responsibilities, mistakes - that I thought it was time for me to write an all purpose pep talk. Or as all purpose as I can make it. Also, feel free to mix and match and use this guide to give your own pep talks to others.
- You got this. It's totally normal to feel overwhelmed by something new or big or both. In fact, I'd go so far as to say if you feel completely confident, then you're probably missing something. But you got this.
- You were hired and/or given this new project for a reason. You know what you're doing, and if you don't already know then you know where to go for help. That may be a plea for assistance on Twitter or Tumblr. Heck, it may be an email to another librarian that says something like, "I know you don't know how to do this thing I need to learn, but do you know anybody?" (I even get emails like that from blog readers - I always try to do my best, but I'm not always prompt about responses.)
- You're going to make mistakes, and that's okay. I've written about this before in a post that was specifically about new jobs, but it extends to new projects as well. Actually, it's something that people long established in their jobs and careers, with nothing new in their lives, also have to deal with. Mistakes happne.
- You will recover from bad stuff. Even if it is/was your fault. I promise. It may take a while, or no time at all, but you will recover. I've been fired before and it didn't end me. It was a restaurant job that I hated anyway, but it was still a bit of a nightmare at the time. I found another restaurant job where I made less, but took some student loans to help pay for my last classes and actually ended up finishing my MLIS sooner. I'm not trying to say that bad stuff happens for good reasons - just that getting fired wasn't the end of me.
- When you talk to yourself about the thing that's happening in your life, imagine you're talking to a beloved friend instead. No matter how many good things people say to you, you still need to think about how you talk to yourself about whatever it is that's happening. Would you tell a good friend with a new job that their new employer made a mistake? NO! You'd say things like, "take a deep breath and make lists of things you need to learn." Would you berate your bestie for making a mistake? NO! You'd tell them, "yeah, that was a mistake, but how can I help you to recover from it?"
- You got this. Yes, I'm repeating myself, but this one is the most important part of the list. There's a cliched old saying - something like, "the only true failure is giving up." (It's not applicable to 100% of situations, because sometimes you need to make strategic retreats or give up on one thing to give another the attention it deserves.) It's a good rule of thumb. We make mistakes; we get overwhelmed; but we keep trying.