This article is written by Business Applications MVP, Megan Walker, who shares challenges from her personal story that has impacted her career path today.
Have you ever compared yourself with someone else? I mean, we all have, right? And we know it’s kind of pointless too. You see someone the same age as you, in the same industry, and perhaps doing the same job, and you compare. You wonder, how have they achieved all they appear to have accomplished? How do they fit in so much blogging/presenting/whatever? Unless you are close friends with someone, you often will not ever know their story. Here is a small portion of mine.
Like so many women (although certainly not all), I assumed my life would go something like this. Meet someone, fall in love, get married, have some kids. It was not something I dreamed about or pined over, it was just there in the back of my mind as ‘the plan’. I had no time frame, no expectations about when these things would happen, but just figured they would. I was 23 when I met my now-husband, and I knew pretty much after a month that he was the one for me. Heck, I even moved to his homeland of the United States of America to start a new life with him. I was young and in love and it was exciting (note, I am still very much in love, just not so young!).
So, I was well ahead in this thing called life, but we wanted to have a marriage first, just be the two of us and were in no rush to have any mini versions of us for a while. For the first 6 or 7 years of that time, I worked in restaurants, which meant really long hours, early starts and late finishes. Realising it was not exactly great for a ‘family’ life, I worked my way OUT of hospitality and started working for a software company instead, which joyfully led me to the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Sadly, the joy of starting a family never happened. We had several miscarriages and many rounds of IVF. In the USA, it is also not typically covered by insurance and costs tens of thousands of dollars, which just kind of adds insult to injury. For anyone who has gone through this themselves, you will know and understand the true pain and heartbreak each time it does not work and are left with an emptiness that replaces the anticipation and hope felt previously. And to top it off, you paid for this too! It’s *%@*... Nothing else to say!
After many, many years of this, we made the difficult decision to stop the IVF treatments and decided to move to the UK. Back to my homeland, but a massive move for my American husband. After a few years back in England, I started a blog. I wanted to share things I was learning and still figuring out, and hoped that it might help the odd person. I was working for a Microsoft Partner, learning more and more, meeting people within the community, and starting to get a name out there. I loved it!
I have had many people comment, and exclaim, how do you find time to blog so much, and create so many videos, or travel (pre-COVID) to so many places. Honestly? When I realized I could not and would not be having any kids, I felt like I had lost my place in the world. I couldn’t see what value I could bring to others, plus, I could not see where I fit in. I don’t mean that having kids is the only purpose for someone, not at all. But that had been the path I thought I was on for so long. And when that path ends…. you feel kind of lost. Finding the Microsoft Dynamics & Power Platform Community felt like it gave me some kind of goal, to help others.
One perspective I have is that if I had children, I am not sure I would be here…. Being a Microsoft Business Applications MVP, travelling over the world to do presentations. Perhaps I would not be able to sit on a Saturday afternoon and write blog posts or record a video as I would be spending that time with them. I would be with my family and make sure they knew they were loved. I am happy for others who have managed to start their own families with kids, but having said that, the life that I now have is good and I'm grateful for it - I am married to my best friend (for over 20 years), and we are finally happy and at peace with what we have.
So yeah, I do a lot of community stuff. I create a bunch of content, and I really love doing it. But do not compare what I do with what you do when our lives are likely not the same. We all have our own journey and unique (sometimes unspoken) challenges - some are more painful and difficult to navigate than others, but we can all achieve our goals and find fulfillment when we focus. Sometimes those goals, objectives or the purpose we thought we once had can shift drastically - it's important that we re-evaluate our lives to stay afloat, and find comfort in the things that we can be grateful for.
I hope this encourages you in your own journey as well, regardless of what struggles you are going through in your life. Your journey is your own - don't compare yourself to others; you've got this!