I am (Wonder) Woman, hear me ROAR (*purr)

I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I am a work in progress, and that is definitely good enough.
Quote by Unknown

I’ve always been good at what I do. That’s not meant as a big headed, bragging comment, it means that I do my best in any situation I’m put in and that my best is often good enough. What I do and can do is acceptable and will get me by in life. It’s comfortable. I can do it with ease. I don’t need to push myself and I don’t need to put myself in an unnerving position. I’m a capable person.
However, could I be BETTER at what I do?
Yes, most definitely. If we’re honest, couldn’t we all? There are very few people who would put themselves in a challenging position through choice, just to see how much better they could do if they strived for better than the minimum effort required. You take a test and the minimum pass score is 85%. You get 85%, you’ve passed. Hands up, who would be pleased with that? Me. I would. I’ve said before and I stand by my statement, that I’m happy with my lot. I truly truly am. I don’t want more, bigger or better. I never will. Although I’ve started wondering, if, by not exploring my full potential, I’ve restricted my own “lot” without even realising it. In life, we tend to take the easy option. I mean on a day to day level. Many jobs demand the very very best of a person’s ability, jobs where “good” isn’t good enough. I take my hat off to surgeons, precision engineers etc who have no choice but to achieve perfection.

If I applied that principal to everything I do in life, where could being better than good take me?
How could my life change if I decided to break out of my comfort zone and push for excellent instead of good?
What potential do I have locked away inside me because I’ve always settled for good?

I’m onto a win win situation with this one. I’m already happy. So if I strive for excellent and only get good, I’ll still be happy. That’s down to my mind set. Some people set themselves unrealistic goals, fail and then aren’t happy. That’s not me. So, if, per chance, I took a risk, and failed, I’d still be a winner.
At school I was a good student. I walked away with all 10 GCSEs. All grades B or C. No As. I got enough to get me onto the college course I wanted to do. It was good enough.
At college, I passed the course. I didn’t pass with distinction or merit. But I did pass and that was good enough.

My first job leaving college was a part time sales assistant at a stationery shop. Within a few short months, I became a supervisor. I have my head screwed on and I have common sense, a trait, I’ve come to learn, that not everyone has. (In this particular job, a colleague asked how to get a dirty mark off something and he was told to use elbow grease. He seriously asked where he could get some… say no more). A couple of years in, the manager went on holiday over Christmas leaving me in charge. I achieved the best figures that store had ever seen. Yet, when the managers position became available, I didn’t want it. I was happy and content in my comfort zone, stepping up when I had to, then handing the reigns over when I could.

My next job was at a computer shop. Still retail but more sales focused. Again, starting off as a sales advisor, but by the end of my three year stint there, I was assistant manager. Redundancy meant I had no chance to go further in that job, and as I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave, I was forced to look for any part time job to keep us going. Two interviews and two job offers later, I chose to work for a famous camera shop. 20 hours, part time sales. Within six months I was a full time, and when the position became available, I went up against a supervisor and got the position of Sales Floor Manager. The manager was above me still, but I was the most senior shop floor based staff member. Redundancy hit again (you’ll notice a theme here), so I was job hunting again.
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This time though, I decided to apply for manager jobs. The problem is, most employers state you must have at least “x” amount of years experience in a managers rule to be considered. I’d only ever been second in command, so really didn’t fancy my chances. I went for an interview as a sales assistant at a computer mega store and was offered the job on the day. However, when I turned up for the interview and was greeted by a lad with his feet up on the counter and told to go for a walk because I was too early, I knew the managerial instinct in me could not work there as just a sales assistant. I did accept the job offer, when you have a child you can’t be fussy, and I knew I’d be able to do the job. I did however, have another interview lined up for the very next day, which I still planned to attend. It was for manager of a toy/gadget shop. Manager….. Having a job offer already took the pressure off a bit as I knew I wouldn’t have to be on the dole for long. Attending the interview I was still nervous, and as expected I was quizzed about why I’d never taken a managers role. I thought I’d have no chance. An hour after the interview, my phone rang and I was offered the job. My first managers role. I gleefully turned down the position at the computer store. After 4 years of being the best store in the area, redundancy hit me for the third time. This time the only jobs I applied for were manager positions. Knowing my own capabilities now, I didn’t want or need to settle for less. Having absolutely no “fashion retail experience” whatsoever, I applied for a job that said it was “essential” to have. I got the job as manager of a ladies fashion store and four years later I’m still here. With no essential previous experience in fashion retail. So, you can see that when I say I’m a capable person, it’s accurate.
I love this job, and I think that unless redundancy wants to be really cruel and hit me for a fourth time, I’m gonna stay here. I’m settled, I can do this job. I’m comfortable. I don’t want the next step. My ex couldn’t understand this, and sometimes I felt my job and the effort I put into being good at it was frowned upon.
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To me though, job satisfaction and time with my family was and still is more important to me than a high end job with better pay, which, more often than not, means that you spend more time away from home. Area managers travel the country, attend meetings at a head office not local, don’t get home till unsociable hours. That’s not for me. I’m sure I could do it. I just don’t want to.
Put me in a challenging position and I will shine. Do I want to be in that position every day? No. If I’m honest, I’d rather be different to everyone else rather than be better than everyone else.

“Being a one of a kind means we are automatically the best in the world at what we do.”
― Victor WIlliamson

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In July last year, my shop was unexpectedly closed due to the shopping centre wanting to change the look and clientele in that area. A visit from the big boss reassured me that we were going to be relocated, but he didn’t know how long that would take, but he didn’t want to lose me or my team. It took three months to find us a new home. During those three months, we had to cover other stores. I don’t drive, so for five days a week I was relying on trains and the occasional lift and worked in Redditch, Kidderminster, Stratford, Stourbridge, Evesham, Hereford and Shrewsbury. Worcester to Shrewsbury on the train is not a nice journey. Especially when you were faced with an 8 hour day on your own the other end….. Travel time to stores was not included in our pay. I’m on a 40 hour contract but was easily doing nearer 55 with the extra travelling involved. I live less than a 15 minute walk from my own city centre. It was a big difference. I wasn’t getting home till around 8pm most nights. Later if covering Shrewsbury. My social life went out the window. I’m not going to lie, the temptation to jump ship after a month of doing that was strong. But like I say, I like this job, and I am the manager. I had to lead by example. I knew my team were feeling it too, and I felt an obligation to them to stick it out. After two months and still no news of our own shop, I really almost did give up and started to look at what jobs were out there. Feasibly though, I couldn’t see myself being able to attend interviews as the stores I worked in were needing my cover so couldn’t change days. It was frustrating. About 2 weeks or so before we finally moved, my assistant manager spotted some post in the doorway of an empty shop unit rumoured to be a possibility. It was addressed to our company. We still didn’t know how much longer we were expected to cover other stores but this is where my best came in. I can truthfully say I was right at the edge of my tolerance of rush hour trains and really didn’t think I’d be able to do much more, but, as the requests to cover other stores kept coming, I messaged my girls with a message saying the end is in sight now, as annoying and tiring as it was, we all needed to suck it up, pull together and stick with it.

Our store opened in October, and the new location is challenging at best. It’s not on the main run for our customers and it took a while for people to find we’d relocated. Almost 6 months later we still get people coming in saying they didn’t know where we were. Our figures are being pitted against last year’s takings in a much more prominent position, I could be giving my all, my very best and some and we still wouldn’t achieve those figures in this location. It’s been dis-heartening to say the least. My team are fantastic, we consistently hit bonus based on how many people who enter the store actually buy. We are proving that we are doing our very best with those few that do come through our doors. With this is mind, I do put my all into this job now. Some managers are blessed with busy shopping centre locations with footfall throughout the day, no matter what the weather. I am doing my best with an out of the way setting, no footfall when it rains, customers TELLING us they don’t come to us anymore because of where we are and stating to us that we must be quieter than our previous location. With a practised smile I tell them that we’ll do well wherever we are positioned, due to the exceptional customer service we provide and having loyal customers like themselves. I’ve accepted our figures won’t compare to the previous location, but that doesn’t mean my attitude will change. Good will have to be good enough because our situation won’t allow for more. But I can be best at being good…..

Last month a friend of mine came to me with a business opportunity, which has so far been very very successful for him. He wanted me to join his team. I was extremely sceptical about it, really not seeing what was in it for me. After taking the time to explain how it worked, he convinced me that I could put as much or as little effort into it as I wanted to, and basically it would pay off. I agreed. As with everything, at the moment I am doing the minimum required and I am already starting to see potential, starting to see where it could take me if I gave it my best and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
Being good is obviously working for me. I wake up with a smile on my face, looking forward to whatever the day wants to bring my way. Willing to embrace and deal with the ups and the downs that are inevitable. I have a partner who surprises me, supports me, appreciates me and maintains the smile on my face.
So right now, my life is ticking along quite nicely on being just good. My inner Wonder Woman can rest a bit longer, but watch this space, I have a feeling she’s in there.
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