Going for the Truth and Excellence

I remembered an interview I had for a job back in the 90s and felt compelled to share it. Tomorrow we step into the 2nd half of 2016 and perhaps something in me is intuitively being led to a ‘wake-up call’ and hoping you will too. As I’ve called it before, we’re crossing a threshold into the 2nd half of this year’s ‘game’.

It’s a longer story with some miraculous moments, but I’ll focus on the interview I had which will share some interesting lessons in going for truth.



I had just arrived in London and within a few days sent out my resume to 2 jobs I’d seen in the local paper. I got a call from one of them inviting me to an interview. I was actually shocked they’d called me. The job was junior to my background but I’d applied since it was for an international development agency and I’d wanted to work in that field after getting my degree. Such opportunities just weren’t available in Vancouver.

I went to the interview and was met by the Director of the Division and the HR Manager. The Director was the kind of person who’d say what was on this mind without needing to be needlessly polite or diplomatic.

The fact that I was overqualified came up. He asked how I felt about that. I told him of my desire to work for an organization such as theirs. And I added, if it wasn’t as challenging as I prefer, I was in London after all and am sure I’d keep myself engaged! Perhaps a little too honest, I was! Lol.

His response:  “I’ll be pissed off if you leave after 6 months.” Literally.

My reply:  “If you make it worth my while and allow me to use my real ability, then I won’t need to.” I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass, so to speak, but felt provoked to be clear.

At this point, the seemingly proper British HR Manager who didn’t say too much, seemed rather uncomfortable. {I guess he wasn’t supposed to say “pissed off”.} 

By the end of that day after I’d had my interview and joyfully wandered around London, I received a phone call. It was the Director. 

He offered me the job.

I practically yelled, “Wow!!” into the phone. I kid you not. I was so surprised.  I could ‘hear’ him smile. He said, “So that means your answer is yes?”

Then, I found myself taking…a…pause. 

What was my answer?? I hadn’t expected a call back so soon. I hadn’t even thought about the interview the rest of the day! So, I told him my truth, “I don’t know.” He asked what I meant and I said, “I don’t know. I’m not sure.”

By now he was getting frustrated and told me explicitly that there was another perfectly competent candidate who would do the job flawlessly and I was the wild card which he chose instead (since I was overqualified and not specifically trained in admin things).

The thing is, I wasn’t pretending. I found no answer coming out of me. 

So, he asked me what I needed to know. I fumbled around asking a couple of unimportant questions. He answered them. I still couldn’t decide. He said, “Fine, sleep on it. I’ll call you at 9 am tomorrow for an answer.”

I got off the phone, feeling the pressure of time. I made a pro/con list, but that’s so linear, it didn’t work for me. I trusted that I’d fall asleep and have the answer when I awoke. I called upon my intuition, expecting it to come through.

The phone rang at 9 am sharp. I was again asked for my response to the job offer. I desperately searched inside for an answer. Then, my reply, “I still don’t know.” Can you imagine how it felt to say that? Not fun.

Since the answer had not come from my pro/con list or from waiting for intuition, I realized I didn’t have enough information to make a decision. So, I asked if I could have another interview.

Another interview?? You do realize I offered you the job already?” A natural response I have to admit. He kind of huffed and puffed, but agreed. Again he wasted no time. “Come to the office at 5 pm today.”

I showed up. He appeared with his arms crossed looking a bit gruff.

We sat down and he asked what I wanted to know. I explained, “You said you’ll be pissed off if I leave after 6 months and that’s not something I want to do either. You got to interview me, but I don’t know anything about your vision and goals. And we’d have to work closely so I need to know there’s a fit.”

I was not trying to be bold or anything. I was 26 at the time and it was early in my career. But my work is something I love so I wasn’t willing to take the first offer that came along.

Of course I realized how my money wasn’t going to give me too much time in one of the most expensive cities in the world, where my dollar was worth half of their pound. Practically speaking, I knew I needed to find a job relatively quickly. 

Most people would’ve taken the job and then quit as soon as they got a better one. But I don’t like entering things that I’m planning on leaving before I start, even when the cost to me may be great. It’s feels more painful to be untruthful. And I feel it’ll get me in the end if I operate that way. Plus in this case, he’d been frank with me and I respected that and I only wanted to reply back with truth.

After I explained what I needed, he visibly calmed down and very generously let me know a number of things about him and his vision and goals. Needless to say, his background was admirable. He’d graduated from Oxford which had been my vision of an educational nirvana! He went on to discuss his vision (very important to me – it’s incredibly boring to work with people without vision, not my cup of tea ;). 

After we’d spent about 40 minutes talking, mostly him this time, he said I could have the weekend to think about it and let him know by Monday. But now I knew my answer. It was very clear. I felt totally relaxed.

I said, “I don’t need the weekend. My answer is yes.”  And the rest is history.

I went onto do a number of big projects far outside my useless job description. Even the CEO’s assistant copied some of my stuff. I presented a paper in front of the Executive (they weren’t happy to have such a ‘junior’ person doing this, but my boss made it happen). I planned and led our Division through an organized process to improve the operations. The staff unanimously chose restructuring, which consultants in that field know is extremely rare. My boss was speechless. 

Why am I sharing this story? First, it came to me this morning and I felt a pull to share it. But in hindsight – this is about getting to truth and being strong and confident in trusting it. It’s about trusting your ability to create at the level you’re capable of instead of playing it safe and remaining relatively mediocre. It’s about working with people of such calibre and truth, that you can excel. 

I asked for the time I needed without knowing what would happen. I realized the offer could be taken back and I may not find another position any time soon. Maybe I’d have to return to Canada having failed. But I couldn’t operate on that fear-based thinking. I had to believe in me and my vision. I had to follow all the way through.

That job allowed me to do a variety of projects that I had never done before, yet felt very able and absolutely excited to do. There’s no HR job (what I thought I needed to get) that would’ve ever given me the latitude to do what I did at the time. You see, the job I ended up doing was CREATED. It didn’t exist. 

He could’ve chosen the safe route, hired the fully competent candidate who’d have been satisfied with the job as-is. But then he wouldn’t ever have gotten what he did. Neither would I. 

Seeing what I could do, my boss suggested I become a consultant. And that’s what I did, just a couple of years later, without every having worked for a consultancy. And I got to do exciting work, not the usual paper pushing.

Showing up in my truth in that job, working with someone who chose to be real with me and believe in me, and having “the balls” to own my innate ability is what took me to that bigger step. And then I gave it my all because the way had been made clear.


We can only arrive at greatness by going for truth. Truth means owning your vision, desire, ability, talent, gifts, persistent knowingness and those small whispers which DON’T go away, telling you what you really want and what you CAN do.

When we limit our own imagination, we will not arrive where we desire. And the cost of being bitter, disappointed, fearful, small, a fake contentedness will destroy things, not build them.

Don’t have your actual dreams be stood up by you, of all people. I know without any doubt that they are available to you, as they are to me.

And if the story above has you wishing you had that kind of partnership with someone who could support your dreams with a level of boldness, conviction, and trust to get you where you want to be, then get in touch. I love coaching and mentoring those with a vision.

Jasjit Rai, Life & Success Coach, JoiWorks.com

Going for the Truth and Excellence
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