No More Turtling Up 🐢: Christa’s PLB Journey

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At Next Jump, every new hire goes through PLB – or “Personal Leadership Bootcamp.” PLB is a safe environment for new employees to identify their “backhand” – the thing that holds us back from reaching our full potential – and develop practice grounds to tackle it. Christa’s used this opportunity to go from a quiet wallflower to someone who feels confident in public speaking, and opening up to others.

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When I first started at Next Jump, you’d be hard pressed to hear anything from me because, as you’ll come to hear, I was doing a lot of hiding. I was comfortable if I just skirted along and if people didn’t really notice me at all. But now, I think I can say that I’m finally finding my voice.

The way that I’ve defined my backhand is that I have a constant fear of rejection. This developed from when I moved to the UK. I found it hard to connect with the other kids because I couldn’t speak the language, and so I blamed myself for being alone. I internalised it and saw it that something had to be fundamentally wrong with me.

The biggest symptom from this has, noticeably, been my lack of transparency. I find it really hard to tell anyone what is going on, regardless if it is good news or bad. After a Talking Partners session, I found that my lack of transparency was hurting my colleagues too, where Quang even said that it made him feel like he was alone. And that got me, because I know every bit how awful that feels and I was horrified that I was the one that was making him feel that way. After receiving some feedback, I realised that I’m so scared of putting myself out there for judgement and being rejected for it that I hide and, in many cases, hide behind my TPs. It’s awful because, at my worst, I’m selfish. And as people oriented as I believe that I am, when I’m stressed and truly scared, I put myself over others. For a while, I was devastated at who I discovered I actually was. I was “stuck in a sad bucket”.

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To battle my hiding, or how I like to call it – me “turtling up”, I think the turning point really came when I was really able to practice candour in my TP. At that time, I developed the narrative that Quang didn’t value me to the point where I believed he rather do things on his own. After some encouragement from my coaches and though extremely difficult, I was able to express my feelings to Quang, where we came to find that it a huge misunderstanding between both of us, and in fact, everything he was doing was always in my best interest. It was an extremely big moment for me because, before, I was so used to just having these feelings and trying to bury them. It turned out that this big scary, uncomfortable thing that I was hiding from, is what actually brought us closer together. It challenged my narrative and I saw how my thinking was holding me back. From then on, this learning has kind of snowballed into other areas of my life.

Since then, I’ve been trying to become comfortable outside my comfort zone – from being able to share more honestly with my sister, to even the way that I carry myself and handle public speaking situations. I think growing in the confidence that I have is just the beginning of how I am seeing my self improve and am really excited to see how much further I can grow.

I am beyond grateful to my TPs, coaches, judges and the whole Next Jump family for all the feedback and most importantly, the support to really push myself to find that stepping outside of your shell can be scary, but you have the biggest opportunity to grow. So, thank you.

 

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