DEAR NATALIE: I recently passed up a work opportunity with a potential client because I felt that their personality and lack of boundaries would be too demanding. I passed this work along to a friend who has more of a tolerance for this and experience in the client’s industry. I know I made the right choice for myself, but I still feel maybe a bit jealous, especially because I knew there was a lot of money to be made there. I hate the feeling that I’m behind, or that someone else (even a friend) is getting ahead. I can definitely celebrate her wins, including this one, but it’s so hard for me to feel like I’m not doing enough. I believe I’m smart and talented, but I am still figuring out which of my skills I enjoy using the most in exchange for money. How can I trust the process with things like this, at such an early point in my career? –DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CALL
DEAR DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CALL: I have learned that in life that it is just as important to tell the universe what you don’t want, as well as share what you do want. While you may feel frustrated, stuck or conflicted, it sounds as though you did the right thing. You followed your instincts. You recognized that this particular client would not be a good fit for you, and instead of trying to put a round peg in a square hole, you passed. You shared it with a friend who was a better fit and you have now made space for the right thing to come to you. It can be very challenging to live in a mindset of abundance. There’s a level of faith that you need to have which takes time to build in ourselves. It can be years before we trust ourselves enough to let go of what doesn’t serve us, fearing that the next thing won’t come along. But as someone who is further down the career path, hear me when I say: nothing is permanent. This feeling you feel won’t last. The situation won’t stay the same. Something will come along if you believe that it will, if you create action items to get yourself there and if you put in the time. No one is an overnight success. Anything worth building starts with laying the right foundation. By letting go of this opportunity, you are recognizing what materials you need to create a solid floor beneath your feet. Pay attention to how that feels. “Trust the process” sounds cliche, but the truth of it is that you don’t always see the magic working behind the scenes. Just keep going. Put everything you want in writing. Read it. Reflect on it. And work towards it one step at a time, even if the next step hasn’t yet made itself known.
DEAR NATALIE: My best friend is very wealthy. Her family comes from old money and she and I grew up together even though I had a much more “normal” childhood than she did. Now as adults, I have my own career and two kids and a wonderful husband. She has had a hard time with relationships and standing on her own feet, financially. Her family controls most aspects of her life – still – at 31 years old. She recently told me that she feels “trapped” and the only way out would be to end her life. I was really taken aback when she said that. I reminded her how she has everything anyone would dream of… but that seemed to make her feel worse. I feel like a bad friend and all I want to do is help her. I’m supposed to see her next week to talk more. I am afraid she will actually try to harm herself. What should I do? I don’t want to push her away. –OUT OF MY ELEMENT
DEAR OUT OF MY ELEMENT: Your friend needs serious and immediate mental health support. If she is reaching out to you and expressing these feelings, then she is reaching out for help. In the U.S., you call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat. Services are free and confidential. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454 (toll-free). Does she have a therapist? If so, why not encourage her to make an emergency appointment when you are around so you know it happens. Offer to take her to that appointment, or if it is a telehealth appointment, offer to be in her home while she’s with her therapist talking so there is physical support right in the next room. While it is not your responsibility to keep her from harming herself, I understand your interest in protecting her at this moment. Be sure you are taking care of your own mental health and finding support that you need during this time. Share with her that you love her and that she is needed here. If she wants to work on exploring new career paths or ways to strengthen the relationship with herself, you are here for her every step of the way. Does she have anyone in her family that you can encourage her to reach out to, as well? For some people, living in the shadow of their families can bring up so many different emotions around inadequacy, low self esteem and guilt around their privilege. You are a good friend for being with her through this trying time and hopefully she can get the care she needs so that she can live a life where she feels fulfilled and at peace.
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