To get you in the right frame of mind for this post please pop on over to youtube.com and listen to John Mayer’s song “Great Indoors”.
Every day I look in the mirror and try to find my true self. I make up challenges that require me to push my inner limits like doing one thing each day that is just a bit beyond my comfort zone. Some days are just that, challenging and uncomfortable, and some days I hit the mark. Today was a hit. Here’s my story…..
“Even I don’t know myself…..In fact, I don’t know if I really have a self at all, as I am constantly playing different roles and pretending…not so much on stage as in real life…” –Simona Panove, from her book Nightmarish Sacrifice
Exactly one year ago today I Ieft my job and embarked on a new career. During this amazing, strange, tumultuous, emotional year I often had doubts as to what would become of me. I could feel myself starting to hibernate and pull inside my own mind and pull away from who I was trying to be. It has been a daily battle to keep looking at the bigger picture and to keep moving toward my new career goals. I decided that in the gap of all of this new learning and growing I also needed to pull in some money, just to help fund my peace of mind if for no other reason. It turns out that funding my peace of mind is a really big deal and can actually help in a big way toward my career goals. Hmmm……where to start……so I thought, well, how about my resume`.
I knew my resume` needed a reboot. It’s been many years since I have updated it and although I have kept up with the changes that have gone on in my working life in my own head and on scrap paper, I never professionally transferred the information to my resume`. In all honesty I just don’t feel that anything I have done thus far has been noteworthy. For many years I have hidden behind the mask of small jobs and insignificant jobs that just fulfill a purpose for the moment, nothing that builds all the way through to the next big thing.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a free workshop at my local library highlighting the musts and must-not’s of resume` preparation. Now, I knew I should have brought my resume` with me but I was embarrassed to show it to the workshop leader. Can anyone hear my inner critic screaming? My resume` doesn’t exactly look like I have a long illustrious career filled with upward mobility and accolades. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of my unsightly work history, because really, who needs to cry with me, I didn’t bring the dreaded thing with me. I did however get the presenter’s business card and promised to call her to set up a private one hour, free of charge consultation where she could rip the thing apart from beginning to end and show me how to sell myself on paper in such a way that would promise to increase my sticking-in-the-minds-of-the-business-community job opportunities.
Yesterday was appointment day. My challenge: to show up, to face my demons that stare at me from that dreaded, disastrous resume` AND to look this resume` professional in the eye and in all seriousness ask her to make me a star, if only on paper. Up until 5 minutes before I walked out the door my fingers were literally at the ready to call and cancel.
The other challenge, which really should have been the real challenge, was that I had to meet with her at her office in the city. What do I know about parking a car in the city much less following directions through the city? Would you believe I wasn’t afraid of that little nugget? Go figure. Do you want to know what the most challenging part of this whole experience was?
Just to show you how much hibernating I have been doing, I had no idea that parking meters went digital. Oh sure you can still pay with coins but whoever has change in their purse? I’m lucky if I have a one dollar bill in my wallet. So, I approach the meter knowing that I have no choice but to conquer this bad boy if I am to make my appointment on time. Of course it helps a whole lot if I am on the correct side of the meter. Oh yeah, I’m that clueless. As it turns out all I had to do was slide my debit card into the slot, choose how long to park, press ok and walk away.
I wiped my brow of sweat and headed to the building of doom. Wouldn’t you know I actually had a bounce in my step for having navigated my helpless self through the city, for having found a place to park on the street, for having conquered the parking meter and for having found the unmarked building I needed? The day was a success before I even met with the resume` woman. Maybe all of that personal celebration showed through because if this meeting was an interview I must say, I aced it. Not one time did she snicker, frown, sink in her chair, question my existence, or look at me and say, “Really?”
“So I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone and go out and connect with people. I realized that no one knew me here. I could become whoever I wanted to be for these people, and that became my courage.” – Charlotte Eriksson, from the book Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps
Earlier this year I posted an article about faking it till you make it. I still do believe in this motto especially when entering into a new work situation as you get the lay of the land or when you are meeting new people in a conference or networking arena and you just don’t feel comfortable yet to let your hair down. However, even in those faking situations, there is always room for some little bit of who you really are to come through. This is what I practiced in this meeting. I had nothing to lose in being myself because whatever I perceived to be pathetic about myself that would cause me to want to hide was staring her in the face on my resume`. I might as well make those words dance a bit in my favor with my energy and passion for what I do and what I want to achieve.
She was kind and honest and very upbeat. She showed me how to leverage what I’ve accomplished so far in my life and how to make my new career accomplishments read well. I was able to relax a bit and just listen and observe our conversation and I realized that this person I was interacting with was just as nervous as I was. We drifted in and out of tangents and got a feel for each other. The more she got to know me the better my resume` started to look. I couldn’t help thinking, “what if all it ever really takes is a genuine smile, an eagerness to learn and some good old fashioned authenticity?”
The comfort zone I thought I was leaving turned out to be a part of who I am naturally; I just rarely get to see or feel or use that part of me. I need to get out more. I went back to my office after the meeting and got to work right away in revising, designing and updating my resume`. I even sent out the revised edition to a few potential employers. I’ll let you know what happens, stay tuned……
*What is your fear of owning your potential?
*When meeting people for the first or second time, what mask do you wear that hides who you really are?
*Where can you step out of your comfort zone and truly show up, no masks at all, and let the world see you as you are?
What I learned from this experience is limitless.
2) Take those chances that exist outside of your comfort zone. If for no other reason than to have a really great story to tell. Isn’t life all about the experiences we live through?
3) Every detail matters. Share your details with anyone and everyone. You never know when what you share will make all the difference to someone afraid to leave their own comfort zone.
4) Don’t get trapped in the zone of comfort. The habit created by hibernating from life can keep you feeling stuck and helpless.
“No man (or woman), for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne, from the book, The Scarlett Letter
CALL TO ACTION
- Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish or experience but are afraid to do.
- Choose just one item from your list and give it a try. The fact that you are trying means that there is no such thing as failing.
- Journal about your experience. List the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing. What did you learn from the people around you? What did you learn about yourself? What energy and action steps can you do again toward another goal?
- What habits of thought can you break free from to help you to keep getting out of your comfort zone and start championing your unique self? Please let me know how your adventure turned out………….
Images provided by bing.com
Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit www.journeyoncoaching.com. or contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky, tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. All it takes is a spoonful of sugar and a desire to move forward passionately. If you would like to see how partnering in coaching can help create your best life so far please call or write to me and let’s start on that journey. Your personal discovery awaits….