Tag Archives: learning

Back Through the Rabbit Hole

Following the World Domination Summit, I’m feeling a bit like Alice may have felt after leaving Wonderland now that I’ve landed with a ker-plunk right back into my life. Everything seems the same as it did, but it feels so different.

It’s hard to describe the conference to someone who wasn’t there—to me, it was an Imageintensely personal journey. The real magic of WDS is community: being surrounded by 2,800 like-minded people embracing change. We are all at different points in our journeys towards diverse things: some want to change the world, while others seek to change their lives. The conference is all about being embraced by a supportive community of people all feeling the unrest of maintaining the status quo in our lives. Our tribe.

ImageI had wondered if I might quit my 9-5 gig upon returning; it wouldn’t be my first time. “What’s amazing about a leap of faith is that everyone around you is so sure it’ll work out, and you’re pretty sure it won’t.” Thanks to Tess Vigeland for helping me process my feelings about that experience, and for letting me know that my fear of what is ahead, and the big doozy fear, that the best may be what I left behind me, puts me in extraordinary company. Her bravery, vulnerability and openness comforted me and I will be forever grateful to her for the experience. It was the very first time that I not only admitted my feelings to myself, but also shared them with others. What a powerful gift.

There were some incredible talks; each had beautiful pearls of wisdom to connect with. I’ll be processing my thoughts and feeling about them for some time, and will share those musings in the weeks to come. A lot of blogs posted recaps of the weekend, so I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll share what is top of my mind a week later, or as Nancy Duarte might say, what really resonates.

The best way to confront a fear of rejection is head-on with humor

Jia Jiang went on a ‘100 days of rejection’ quest, and asked strangers for all sorts of thing including permission to play soccer in their backyard, for $100, to drive a cop car, and to fly a plane. He quit his job 4 day before his daughter was born, and when he met with a crushing failure 4 month into his 6-month adventure to change his life, his wife told him, “I gave you six months, not four!” What a lesson to us all, to surround ourselves who people who support us.

The path to creation and success springs from the fertile ground of dreams

 Darren Rowse, creator of Problogger, shared the need to take responsibility of our future, as it’s not a place that we are going to, but a place that we are creating. He said to take time every day to dream, and notice the sparks that you create. Then follow those sparks. Share your dreams, as that creates an army of people who will help your dreams come true.

Image “The key to happiness is self-knowledge. We become too focused on how we should be that we forget who we are.” Gretchen Rubin

This amazing life that I can create is custom-made, not defined by the wants and obligations placed on me by others, but by my own unique definition of what a remarkable life can be for me.

 “What we think we want isn’t usually what makes us happy. Don’t expect your achievements to solve your problems.” Donald Miller

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We are not our failures; we are not our successes either. I’ve spent so much of my life aspiring to achieve success to prove that I’m not defined by my past, that I lost track of me in the process. I really connected with this talk and you can bet you’ll be hearing more about it in upcoming weeks.

ImageMy biggest learning is that I don’t want to do it alone. I thought that by being forcefully independent I was being strong, but I now understand that I’m keeping the joy of knowing me from others while leveraging my past hurt to protect myself. I saw vulnerability as weakness, but the presenters were so brave and vulnerable to share stories of their rejection, failure and heartbreak. And that was when I realized: vulnerability is strength. In talking with many of them after the presentations I realized they are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

I even decided to practice a little bit and realized that when I shared those deep dark fears that I’ve shared with no one, a big hairy spider didn’t come up to eat me. My fear seemed to float away as it lost its power. Opening myself to another person didn’t kill me, and didn’t even hurt me; it empowered me.

Wow.

So what is the World Domination Summit? I could try to define it, but that’s really missing a lot. What it is to me is the ability to step into the sun to harness its power, its energy, then to fall back to earth in the snuggly warmth of caring, supportive arms. It’s living life, and loving life, in the bonus round.

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Images credit: Armosa Studios

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A Goal to Look Forward to

Last week was a really crappy week at work. The honeymoon period at my new job wasn’t very long; maybe a day or two at the most. I unfortunately demonstrated competence, and got completely overloaded with work as a result. I learned that my  full-time project actually isn’t even a project but a program [the difference being that I am managing 10-15 smaller overlapping projects at a given time and not one, requiring a rather skilled juggling act].

As I’m learning how much my job actually entails and how different it is from what I was told and what my boss thought it was, he gave me another project because the person managing it isn’t managing it at all and it’s “off the rails”.

I do appreciate the vote of confidence, but my 45-50 hour a week job just became…??? I have no idea, but it certainly isn’t the 40 hours that I expected and very clearly stated that I was offering when I interviewed. I’m not very good at saying no traditionally, and not very good in situations where I feel that I can’t succeed.

Talking with my boss twice didn’t seem to help, and I was told that once I get over the learning curve, it’ll be fine.

Great.

Then the other Project Manager’s boss, my boss’ peer, called me to discuss. I had interviewed with her and we connected well, so she called me to say that she was concerned with my running both projects and asked how I felt about it.

My hero!!!!

She then arranged a call with the four of us (including my boss and the other Project Manager) to talk about roles and responsibilities and to walk through expecations for these projects. Apparently she had done some work on my boss in the meantime, and it appears that his expectations may be reset.

Hallelujah!!!

Apparently my big learning from this job is going to be saying no and setting boundaries regarding my work/life balance. I don’t want to have another week where I’m working more than 50 hours, exhausted, cranky and feeling like I’m climbing a solid-faced wall with toothpicks. There’s no time like now to begin my lessons, and my work computer will remain shut for the weekend. I’m learning.

Better late than never.

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Going by Feel

I spent so much of my life doing what I thought I should do instead of what I wanted to do, that I lost my sense of touch. I wasn’t listening to my heart, and spent my days fulfilling my many obligations. It was an ok life, and I wasn’t suffering by any means, but I sure wasn’t thriving.

A few months ago, when I got my freedom through a corporate layoff, I made a commitment to myself: seek out what makes me happy, and let the warm feeling that washes over me when doing something that I’m truly excited about be my guide to making decisions. Essentially, I am regaining my sense of being in touch with myself.

Every morning I wake up and have an idea of what I hope to do for that day. I’m a planner, and that hasn’t changed in my quest of listening to my inner barometer. But now, I ask myself in the morning what I want to do. Sometimes my day ends up as planned, but often it doesn’t. I may feel like not hiking, and that’s ok—I can hike tomorrow. I may want to take the morning off to walk around a park with my dog, and will get my work done in the afternoon. That’s ok too.

I’m learning that being happy, and actively seeking out my happiness, is the best motivator for me. Showing my suffering as my dedication to a commitment is no longer my method for proving my worth. It sounds silly, but looking back now, I realize that’s exactly what I did. I worked the longest hours to prove that I was a good employee; I sacrificed my personal life to show that I was a hard worker. All these years later, I see that the person I hurt most was me, and that all I gained from my years of self-sacrifice is the learning that it’s not right for me and the ability to recognize that I’m doing it. Balance.

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I’m learning to live with less judgment, as doing what feels right makes me happy, and being happy is an end goal now for me. Not that I don’t like seeing that list of checked off items that I’ve completed and feel proud of how productive I’ve been that day, but sometimes, that’s not the day I need. And I now accept that without judgement.

There’s always tomorrow. Today I’m going to have fun.