I Know This Because I Lived It.
Hi there! I know you. How? Because I was you.
My name is Alyssa Malin and I am a recovering accolade collector. If there was an award for collecting accolades I would have eagerly competed for it. No number of brass rings was too many – blue ribbons, trophies, honor societies, dean’s lists, prestigious internships, legal fellowships, a law degree, published articles, raises, promotions, gala awards, board seats, the love of friends and colleagues, my parents’ pride – and finally what I used to view as my crown achievement: a general counsel position at a major New York City real estate investment firm in the most competitive city and industry in the world.
The external recognition and validation I got for all of this felt amazing, but it never lasted. And the truth is, I felt terrible most of the time.
Yes, I knew I was smart, talented, that I had worked hard, and I was proud of myself. But at the same time…
I believed that everyone around me was smarter, knew more, and knew better.
It felt like a fluke that I was even here. As if I didn’t deserve it. At any moment I would be “found out.”
There was no room for error, which meant that I grossly mismanaged my time to avoid making mistakes.
My fear of being perceived negatively or disappointing anyone ruled.
I was always overwhelmed, which led to procrastination because there was never a good time or enough time necessary to dedicate to the project at hand.
I naively hoped with each new job along the way that a fresh start would allow me to finally get ahead of these problems. But they always came creeping back and they grew even worse as I rose in rank and responsibility.
I worked long hours, often opening and closing the office, and when I wasn’t working I was worrying about work. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus. I was tired all the time. Weekends were spent on the sofa binging tv because I did not have the mental space or energy for anything else. I wasn’t a good partner for my husband, I was not present with my family, and I wasn’t taking care of myself physically.
I was exhausted and depressed
Therapy helped – it felt good to talk to someone and it showed me where some of this was coming from. But it didn’t give me the full picture. And it didn’t teach me what to do about it.
Then I discovered coaching.
I admit, I was a skeptic at first. I had been trying to “fix” how I was feeling for years, was coaching really the answer? But I could not ignore the way it was changing my life – and fast.
Without sounding too woo-woo, the best way I can explain it is that what I learned in coaching spoke to me – it just clicked.
I discovered it wasn’t my job or profession that was making me miserable. Rather, the culprit was my core thoughts and beliefs about myself as I carried out my job. And those core thoughts and beliefs did not exist in a vacuum. They had been shaped throughout my life by so many factors – my childhood, social conditioning, American work culture, corp