Ming-Wai Merschat, Director of Finance
Ever since I decided to get my Masters in Accountancy, this was the title I was chasing. This was the practical, sensible, stable decision that would earn a good living and support my family. I got my degree and started work in the government. I had begun my race to the top. I was going to be a successful accountant.
I was running this race for over a decade… pounding the pavement, training harder to get an edge, and only looking up to receive praise for a job well done. A couple years ago, I had my eye on the prize… I was poised to apply for the Director position. Everyone I respected in my field encouraged me to get that job. “It will open up a lot of doors for you,” they said. They were rooting for me, they cared for me, they wanted me to succeed. I wanted to succeed.
My ego kicked in and I knew I could do it. I could see the finish line. All I needed to do was keep my head down and win the race. In that moment, my self-worth was tied to that title and I was going to get it. But instead, what happened next surprised me.
As I stared ahead with laser focus on the finish line, I could feel the crowd cheering me on and I unexpectedly looked inside.
I asked myself: What is my motive? Why am I even running this race? What am I trying to “win” here? (What a terrible time to start questioning myself!)
My ego responded: You’re not a quitter. No one else can do this job better than you. If you start a race, you’re in it to win it. Period. Get to that finish line!
My negative reel responded: What self-respecting career woman questions achieving her goals? What are you doing? Your years of hard work are going down the drain! You’ll disappoint everyone who has helped you along the way! You will be a disgrace.
It was an agonizing decision and I lived with anxiety for months. I worked with my tools to get perspective and to give me perspective. So with my goal within reach, I decided not to go for it.
Mind you, I’m still in the race. I shifted lanes (I changed jobs), I slowed down (I changed my schedule to take Fridays off), but my ego won’t let me quit the race completely.
I know that my ego is here to make sure I reach my goals and to push me to my highest potential. And I love her for that. But my ego and my identity are out of alignment and it’s creating anxiety, self-doubt and indecision.
Who am I? This is what I’m asking myself now. What are my core values, what gets me excited, what makes me frustrated… and how do I embrace my true identity moving forward?
I’ve been working with value-based decision making to help live in alignment with my core values. It is helping me make time for the things I love and making it easier to say “no” or “not now” to the things that aren’t directly aligned with my values and goals.
If you can relate to the feeling of running a race, pounding the ground for years (if not decades), only to look up and question “why am I doing this?” please leave a comment and share. I’d love to hear your story!
P.S. If this story resonated with you, share it with me in the comment section below. Also, you can follow along with my related stories and try my favorite tools as I work through my personal growth journey...
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