This Thanksgiving season, I have renewed gratitude that I didn’t get the promotion I wanted.
We’ve been in our house in the mountains for just over a year now. It finally feels like we’re settled, which brings new appreciation for how fortunate we are to live here.
- To wake up surrounded by conifer trees and delicious quiet.
- To witness brilliant mountain sunrises and sunsets.
- To have our yard be a superhighway for deer, elk, fox, bear, and bobcats.
- To see the stunning peaks of the Rocky Mountains every time I drive through town.
And every day I feel grateful that our daily dog walk is a loop through meadows and forest on trails we access right outside our front door.
That’s how I was feeling on Friday morning, when I took this photo, as we walked the pups in the fresh snow.
So much gratitude.
But that would not have been my morning if I’d gotten the promotion I thought I wanted and deserved.
About 8 years ago, I was approached to apply for a VP-level role at my company. I was completely qualified, and it would have been the next logical step for my career.
But I didn’t get the job.
For months I spun in a vicious cycle of anger, hurt, and despair.
You see, I had tied nearly all of my identity to my career, to my title.
When I didn’t get the promotion, I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Then, through incredible providence, I had the opportunity to explore what leadership meant to me, and how my life experiences impacted how I showed up.
That exploration led me to other experiences, such as yoga teacher training, which opened my eyes to the practice of letting go of attachment to the outcome and appreciating what is.
When I finally started to do that, I opened myself up to what the Universe really had in store for me.
- I took a unicorn role at a smaller company.
- I was promoted into a role that I wasn’t qualified for, but the leadership believed in me.
- I worked with and learned from the most incredible colleagues of my career.
- When we were acquired, I took the opportunity to negotiate my exit.
- With nothing keeping us in Minnesota, we moved to Colorado and I started my own business.
- And then, with no ties to a physical location, we moved to our little mountain community.
Now, every day I walk on trails in my beloved mountains.
And I wouldn’t be here now if I’d gotten the promotion I so desperately wanted.
The outcome you want may not be the outcome you need.
In all honesty, that’s a practice I aim for, and I often struggle. But if I can find my way to trust the process, I know I’ll end up where I need to be.
So in this season of thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the circumstances that allow me to be where I am, for my incredible clients and partners, for my family and friends.
And I’m thankful I didn’t get that promotion.
What’s something you thought you wanted that, in hindsight, you’re thankful you didn’t get?
Hey there, I’m Cynthia. I’m a leadership team whisperer, executive coach, and speaker. I guide leadership teams in high-growth companies to achieve rapid growth in a healthy, sustainable way. I coach senior leaders to discover the path to lead with ease.