JBG – Operation Freedom

The Outlook invite to my annual review hit my inbox and with it the cortisol hit my system.  As you know, my small goal for this cycle was to prepare for my review, which I understood to be in April.  But last week, the day before my birthday I found out that I have 8 days until it’s time to be judged by my bosses.  As an anxious person, that means I have 8 days with little peace of mind.  I have 8 days to worry about  underachieving, 8 days to feel badly about not doing more research about what I want to convey at the meeting, 8 days to worry about being nervous at the meeting itself.  I also have 8 days, despite all the physical and mental discomfort, to get into action, to talk to people, to prepare, and to be productive.

So I marched on.  I prepared, then I worried, then I prepared, then I worried.  I reached out for support.  I spoke to my buddies.  I met up with Naomi and Hadar.  I reviewed my accomplishments.  I considered requesting a salary increase.  I thought about what is possible for my upcoming year.  It felt heavy.

Last night I got a text from my girlfriend that said, “I just want to tell you, this is the year of the Josh – I feel it (and I know these things).  Great things are going to happen for you – some things will happen because you created them and some things will just happen.  Getting promoted will happen because you created it – u worked hard for it and they see your value, personally and professionally and they want to reward you for that.  Trust that things are good”.

After reading this, i was overcome by a warm wave and I collapsed to the floor and I cried.  This does not happen to me.  I cried and then my crying turned into laughter and then I cried and I laughed and it felt good.  I felt relief.  I felt some peace.  I felt that all of this stress is FUNNY, that life isn’t so serious so all of this stress is just so silly.

I knew that I wanted to ask for a raise.  Sure, I want to make more money and feel valued for the hard work that I put in, but I knew that the main reason wasn’t the money.  I wanted to do the courageous thing.  I wanted to experience the freedom that comes with doing the hard, respectable, courageous thing.

I woke up this morning and the peace from last night had dissipated, it was back to the worry.  But each time I felt worry, I told myself to view the review as a celebration.  I thought a bit about the worst possible scenarios and what they would feel like.  The biggest of all was that I would nervously and pathetically request a raise, and my bosses would laugh at me, pity me and say no and I would feel small, crushed and want to die.  I sat with that a bit and figured that it was a low probability event, and still one that I could survive.  So I went back to shifting to the review being a celebration.  I wasn’t sure if I had the courage to ask for the raise.  But my phone kept buzzing and all of you were talking about freedom, courage and new beginnings.  I decided to announce to you all that I was going through with it in order to make it happen.

I could barely get anything done this morning because my mind was completely preoccupied. 12:30 rolled around and it was time for the celebration.  As usual, I was really nervous and my mouth was dry and my throat was tight, but the review itself went pretty well.  They are pleased with my work and feel that I continuously exceed expectations.  I tried to be present as much as possible, knowing that my prize was on the impending request.  Time was winding down and they said that I am getting the typical annual raise.  I said thank you and then I went into my pitch.  I basically said that I believe that I have demonstrated that I bring a certain energy, commitment and dedication to my role.  I know that I do good work and I will continue to do good work.  I have also shown loyalty to the group and to the firm and I was hoping that this could be reflected in my base salary.  They listened and said that they could not do that at this time, but perhaps down the road if I blah blah blah.

It’s not really blah blah blah – I listened to what they had to say and am grateful that I work for a successful company that sees possibilities for me down the road if I continue to prove myself.

But for me, I won.  I chose to experience myself in a new way.  I was willing to sacrifice shame, embarrassment, discomfort and pain for the experience of freedom.  It felt good.  It felt shifty.  It felt courageous and I want more, I want a lot more…




6 thoughts on “JBG – Operation Freedom

  1. Chills, tears and love buddy!!!! I am so thankful that you have such an encouraging girlfriend, that is thinking of your wellbeing and connecting with you in these important moments in a very meaningful, supportive and loving way. I am PSYCHED that you CHOSE to access your POWER!!! Doesn’t it FEEEEEEEL amazing!! Doesn’t it feel great to know your value, to be brave in standing up for this value, and in making a powerful request? Even if nothing comes of it (perhaps you have just down some important seeds for the future) you have established yourself in your own eyes and in the eyes of those you work for as someone of value, of importance. Love you buddy, and so proud for you that you CHOSE to make this possible for yourself!


  2. Oh my GOD! This is so amazing. “I wanted to do the courageous thing. I wanted to experience the freedom that comes with doing the hard, respectable, courageous thing.” I am incredibly inspired right now, and SO proud of how far you have come! And while I really wanted that raise for you, something about the failure feels RIGHT — because it showed you that there is great value in just taking the risk. Damn. Really, really wonderful.


  3. I LOVE everything about this post. It is so vulnerable, courageous and authentic! And after all this time we’ve been talking about your job, raise and future, I missed that it was FREEDOM and RISK that you’re after! We talked about your belief that the review and raise would correlate with your self-worth. But it was a different angle – your self worth is about your belief in yourself to ask for what you want and stand for who you are!! WOW!! This is huger than any amount of money could give you.
    Also I am obsessed with your girlfriend’s text to you!! What an incredible support.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to reiterate the comments above. Asking is winning and you killed it. I love how you reframed it as a celebration and went for it. Also LOVE your gf’s text–so supportive (and spunky in such a great way!) I’m curious if your feelings about her have shifted since you wrote about questioning things with her in an earlier post. Overall, super happy for you for choosing powerfully and embracing all the feelings that showed up. You got your own raise, in who you are. 🙂


  5. I’m obviously super proud of you as your buddy! We’ve been discussing this for a while and it seems like something really resonated with you. Congrats, Josh! Stay in the risking zone, it’s where the juicy bits are created and a place where Operation Freedom can continue! 🙂


  6. Josh– “But for me, I won. I chose to experience myself in a new way. I was willing to sacrifice shame, embarrassment, discomfort and pain for the experience of freedom. It felt good. It felt shifty. It felt courageous and I want more, I want a lot more…”

    Love this! You are a powerful dude! I hope that you pursue this further! I hope that you continue to ask and pursue more through networking within your company and outside of it. You are part of a great company and team that is really happy with you .. With that you have a base to stand on to ask.. Nothing is stopping you to ask your boss what you have to do to get to the next level. Nothing is stopping to you from talking with other people in different departments as an informational interview. Nothing is stopping you from reaching out to other companies. Your birthday party and the people who came out also shows how many people love and support you! As I was catching up today on the posts I also realized how much positive influence you have on others! People like and want to help you succeed as I experience you as a big supporter of many as well! Great Job!


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