Sue was contemplates the phrase ‘never give up’ and what it means to her.
As an older woman, my self-talk over the decades has regularly included the mantra ‘never give up’. In fact, I’ve even considered having it engraved on my headstone!
Growing up in the 1980s, I believed I was an independent woman, a self-starter, always able to overcome challenges and obstacles. How young and naïve I was! Thinking back, I lost out on new job opportunities and career promotions as I was too honest, logical and misunderstood, never playing office politics for my own ends or overtly displaying the gravitas I needed to.
At each setback, I’d always retreat under my comfort blanket, block the world out and wait until I no longer felt too overwhelmed and I could come out from hibernation. However, I never gave up, I never said, ‘enough is enough’, not ever. Having encountered a few bullying setbacks in my childhood I’ve developed a resilience to negativity. This resilience meant and still means to this day, that although I can be hurt emotionally and mentally, I can still feel slighted, misunderstood, misjudged and let down, I can ultimately battle through it.
The phrase ‘never give up’ is easy to say, but extremely hard to follow in practice. When you’re deep in the midst of being ignored, neglected, bullied or having your ideas stolen and presented as someone else’s, it can be easy to say, ‘that’s it, I give up, I’ll resign’. I know many people who’ve taken this approach, moved on and then made a success of their personal and/or their work life. I have a different mindset. I want to dig in for the long haul, try and overcome the negative experience and turn it around. This can be seen as loyalty to the person/organisation or in some cases it can be seen as cowardice in not being brave and making a change when it’s needed.
I do know that at two key points in my career, in my mid-30s and in my late 40s, my enduring loyalty and dedication at work wasn’t being recognised and respected so I did leave and find career promotions elsewhere. On reflection, did my ‘never give up’ mentality stop me from seeking these new opportunities sooner? I’ll never know for sure; I just know I was true to myself and the values I believe in. Thankfully now at Rambutan, my values and Rambutan’s values match and I’m truly happy and content.
My ‘never give up’ self-talk has not just been for work though. In my personal life with two marriages, one divorce, a long single life and no children, it’s been my go-to phrase through the decades.
I love life and I’ll continue to ‘never give up’ through retirement, old age and as long as I live.
What mantra would you want to be remembered for?