I miss writing my letter every week. I miss talking about what’s happening and what I’m feeling. Of course, I realize this is all for a purpose – to get my book written – but because I am celebrating my birthday this week, I decided to take a step aside from the standard recruiting rules and recommendations to write about life and reflect on another year.
I tried really hard to summon all this inspiration. I started with this idea of sharing 36 unsolicited pieces of advice – a topic inspired by my friend Jomiro who shared theirs just a few weeks ago. Then, I considered promoting our new course, but I couldn’t force it. I never can when it comes to writing or marketing.
I just kept thinking about the times in my life where I almost wrote my own ending to this story. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation is a thing and something I’ve struggled with off and on since I was 16 years old. I can remember the scenery when the thoughts entered my mind. The stories I told myself. The racing thoughts and this overwhelming feeling that nothing I did was right and never would be.
With all that on my mind, I never celebrated benchmarks and wins. I treated most of my life like a race that I was trying to win or lose, and most of the time? I felt like I was losing – even when I won. The benchmarks stacked up like participation trophies – another one on the wall that meant little to nothing at all.
I didn’t have a finish line. I mean, what is good enough? That’s not how I think. There’s no “this is what a normal person can do, and that’s ok” when I’m setting goals. I set goals barely out of reach to see if I can reach them.
But then what?
That outlook makes everything in life and business feel harder. It’s tough to keep going when the world tells you that you’re winning and you can’t believe it. When you do everything right, according to some calculator in your brain, and nothing feels right.
It’s not all doom. I remember my people in those moments, too. I would not be writing these words had it not been for the teachers and souls that snuck into my life during those days. The people who held me, literally and metaphorically. The people who never worried about finding the right words, just seeing me.
I get a little credit, too. I have done the work to change my life. I understand how tremendous it is that I never gave in to those thoughts. I’m more thankful than ever to be alive and here to feel it all – even the awful things that come with being a human. And believe me, I have been all up in the awful parts over the last year. I’ve been calling it “Eat, Pray, Pandemic.” Don’t steal that. I will be using it at some point.
I forget how much work I’ve done, and then I get to talk to my people and celebrate how much I’ve changed. I changed the part of me that believed that I controlled everything. The part that thought every single minute of the work I put in would make me more successful.
The human that believed all that was exhausted, and it showed. It showed in how little energy I had, how I felt about my life, and how little I even cared to get out of bed most days. Lately, I haven’t seen them – the person that marched through everything as if I had the world riding on my shoulders. All because I quit trying so fucking hard to be right.
Happiness is about living right now. It’s not constantly worrying 100 steps ahead and trying to predict a future that isn’t guaranteed to you. We humans don’t control anything but right now. The more you sit with the pain of what’s behind you and try to anticipate the future ahead, the less joy you can ever experience in the now.
Now is the *only* moment that’s guaranteed to you. Live it. Now.
You were not put on this planet to prove your worth to anyone or work harder than some imaginary concept. Your worth is endless, and the fact that we show up on this planet as tiny babies and absolute perfection, then spend the rest of our life trying to find perfection again? That is so backward.
The truth is that we were perfect all along. We’re perfect for our path, for our place, for our life. You can’t go anywhere you don’t belong. There’s purpose in your path.
If you’re wondering like I have before, let this be the sign: You belong here. You have not gotten enough of this beautiful life.
I can’t wait to tell you what I figure out next year, but for now? I’m loving this moment.
I’m also bringing my letter back because damnit, I want to.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.