I am working on my "Daring Greatly" course this morning and I have come to the end of this week's lesson. This was the question that was asked and my answer that follows. I still shake when I think of this "Face Down" in the arena moment. I have been invited to put this moment down so I can explore it throughout the remainder of this course. My fingers flew over the keyboard and I wrote this without stopping. It is an issue that rises to the top of my consciousness more often than I care to admit. These "shaking in my boots" moments are important. Just thought I'd share my story today. Here it is:
WHAT WAS YOUR FALL OR “FACE DOWN” IN THE ARENA MOMENT?
The moment of my fall was being "called into the principal's office". It was the nightmare of my whole entire life to that point. It was the moment when all of the fears, insecurities and "I think they are talking about me" came true. It was my call to action moment and I wasn't prepared.
I knew it. I just knew it was coming. I could feel it in the electricity in the air all around me when I worked in that office. Never, ever in my life had I ever felt so unsupported and alone. I tried to find and make allies within those who were walking the walk with me and I thought I was succeeding. Until "the leader of the pack" walked back into the office. Then absolutely everything changed. Everything.
When I couldn't find alliances within my own surroundings, I started looking outside the "box" of that office and make positive connections within the other staff members. And there were lots! I commented on the positives, I was determined to stay optimistic, I was determined to rise above the tensions within that office.
I was working WHERE I wanted to work. I could walk to work, the hours were good, all I needed was the security of a full-time position and I was "exactly where I wanted to be" within my work-world. I just had to overcome this ONE obstacle. I would have done anything ...
Then I got called into the principal's office. My deepest sense of knowing KNEW this couldn't be good. But I wasn't expecting it when it came. "You will not pass your probation period if you stay in this office. You have a choice. You can resign from this position and go on the substitute list. Or you can stay and you WILL NOT pass your probationary period and you will lose your job here."
There was no strategy involved. There was no invitation to tell my side of the story. There was no conversation. I was given a choice. Quit or be fired.
I stumbled and told my story. I knew this was coming but I didn't. I had written down the scenarios that preceded my fall. I had been to counselling. In the end, the counsellor could not tell me anything I didn't already know about "dealing with my feelings". I needed a crash course in survival and as I was walking out her door, she said "Write everything down. Write dates, details, incidents. Write it all down and keep it with you."
I offered my "evidence" to the principal and all he said (and these words still ring in my ears today - four years and five months later), "I was hoping it would not come to this ..."
The principal! The "leader" of an entire high school that was fraught with challenging situations and students and scenarios, did NOT want to confront the issues right in his own front office. HE LET ME DOWN!
I was two months into my brand new "career" and I could go down one of three ways. I could resign from that position and fight to regain my footing within this (now) ever-changing landscape of being called to a new school (potentially) every day OR I could quit altogether OR I could fight this. How can one fight something so big and so tall and so terrifying when I was two months into a new position and had not built a reputation to make my "side of the story" a believable one? If it came down to a "she said", "she said" battle I was almost certain I would lose.
So I went on to fight another day. I worked the rest of the year trying to recover from that fatal blow that was dealt October 19, 2011. It is four years and five months later. Writing these words still makes me weak in the knees. It was the harshest blow life ever dealt to me and I still wonder if I did the right thing.