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. Virginia, a recent PLB graduate, shared her experience and reflection at our all-staff meeting (reproduced below).
Before I joined Next Jump I thought I was really self-aware. I could tell you everything I was bad at, that needed improving. I thought this was a good thing, but I hadn’t realised how this negativity I have about myself truly impacted me.
This came from growing up one of four siblings and, to be honest, I was bullied by them. I developed a lot of narratives around this, and internalised that it was my fault. This led me to holding low expectations of myself. I put myself down before someone else could. No one could hurt me, that way.
So my backhand (what holds me back) – I don’t believe I am good enough. I am full of self-doubt and at times it cripples me. This leads to inaction, stops me from putting myself first and sharing what I think and feel.
When starting my PLB journey I found it really difficult to share with my mentors and Training Partner. At times, I literally couldn’t get words out. I’m not used to opening up and didn’t want to feel vulnerable… But this meant no one knew how I was feeling and they couldn’t help.
But I knew I could not go through this alone and this was the first step for change. Slowly through my relationship with my Training Partner Danielle, we learnt to share our internal narratives in real time and she helped me to break away from my default negative thinking. We had an EOD positivity ritual where I would share what I am proud of each day. I could slowly feel myself opening up and became more comfortable talking about how I was actually feeling.
This lead to what was a big turning point for me, realising how it has been me holding me back this whole time. In my previous 4 years of working before Next Jump, I had always started work early and worked really late because I never felt I had done enough work to allow myself to go home… but never got more done, and I burnt out. I started at Next Jump and said to my coaches – this is a bad habit I want to break.
Yet lo and behold, I worked late trying to up my ticket numbers most evenings, and it wasn’t productive. Then one evening a colleague came up to me and asked “Why are you still here, you should go home?” and I just broke down in tears. I didn’t understand why I was upset. Then I remember thinking, I am sick of working and working but never feeling good enough. I finally recognised this habit was a symptom of my backhand and admitted to myself, that I really am overly self critical. I am a caring person, to everyone else but myself. This is something I found really hard to accept.
So to practice valuing and appreciating myself, I am leaving on time, and using that time for myself in something I enjoy (but I stopped because I told myself I was terrible at it), which is life drawing.
PLB for me really has been a personal journey. And through doing the things that make me feel uncomfortable, the things my gut is telling me not to, I am retraining my mindset. I have been practicing putting myself out there by sharing my point of view, such as with starting a no plastic water bottle project in the UK. Through this I am learning that I am not always going to be right, and that’s okay.
I am happy to say that I am proud of myself for where I am at in this journey. With the team growing I have new responsibilities and am looking forward to both continuing to work on myself and helping others through their PLB journeys.
Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone involved on my journey. I am so grateful for all of the advice, feedback and encouragement you gave throughout this process and to everyone else who have shared their words of wisdom with me along the way.