Saturday, 29 October 2011

What a week

I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  It's been busy and at times a bit overwhelming.

Fulfilling Work has occupied a lot of time and energy as we get the events up and running.  It's been good and a big learning curve.  Being in action feels wonderful, if a bit exhausting.  I know myself well enough to ride the energy wave when it comes.

Two young people have stayed with me as a volunteer host under the Nightstop scheme.  Two different people with different stories.  I hope life is kind to them.  It's an old cliche but worth repeating that in giving we receive.  I've felt blessed to have a secure place to live and moved by the courage of the young people making their way in a difficult world.

Finally, there is Nikki, who died last weekend - too young and too unexpectedly.  It's still a shock and the sadness will linger.  She will be terribly missed and very fondly remembered.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Working Identity

One of the frustrating aspects of career change can be knowing that you don't want to continue in the work path you are on but not knowing which path to take forward. There's a lot of talk about finding your unique purpose, and I suspect many career changers spend a fair bit of time in introspection, trying to dig out this imagined gold that must be in there somewhere. Of course a degree of self awareness is useful and valid. The best book I have read on career change, however, takes a different tack and I have found it useful where conventional approaches have failed miserably. The book is called 'Working Identity' by Herminia Ibarra, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour who has taught at both INSEAD and Harvard Business School.
The quote below is from the chapter 'becoming yourself'
"If we knew from the start what it means to be fully ourselves, finding a new career would be so much easier. But because we are growing and changing all the time, the oft-cited key to a better working life, "knowing yourself", turns out to be the prize at the end of the journey rather than the light at its beginning.....We don't find ourselves in a blinding flash of insight, and neither do we change overnight. We learn by doing, and each new experience is part answer and part question".
This is what I am trying to do. Learn by doing.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

An illustration of the Inner Pessimist at work

Our first Fulfilling Work event was great, a success beyond the criteria we'd set ourselves.  I was on a high.  The content of the workshop had been, in part, about our critical, pessimistic selves and how to manage and soothe that protective, frightened part of us.  Sitting in the bar afterwards celebrating, I was aware of a warning voice in my head going "Yes, but this fabulous working relationship and developing friendship won't last, we're bound to p*** each other off, and then what will we do?".  I pushed it aside.

The following day, this pessimistic voice took hold and I started to fall into catastrophising - how I might end up doing all the work and resenting it (based, I hasten to add, on zero evidence).  And, without going into the detail, I then proceeded to sabotage and damage a good thing.

Now I can see more clearly what was going on.

My limiting beliefs:
Good things don't last.
Things that matter to me don't work out.
You won't like me if you really know me.

I didn't realise it in time to stop myself acting out the Inner Pessimist's view.  Next time I'll be quicker to catch it. Time for a little soothing of Nervous Nellie (<- it helps to personify!).

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Anthem for anxious career changers - Stevie Wonder

"Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"

Everybody's got a thing 
But some don't know how to handle it 
Always reachin' out in vain 
Accepting the things not worth having but 

Don't you worry 'bout a thing 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama 
Cause I'll be standing on the side 
When you check it out 

They say your style of life's a drag 
And that you must go other places 
But just don't you feel too bad 
When you get fooled by smiling faces but 

Don't you worry 'bout a thing 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama 
Cause I'll be standing on the side 
When you check it out...Yeah 
When you get it off...your trip 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing...Yeah 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing...Yeah 

Don't you worry 'bout a thing 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama 
Cause I'll be standing on the side 
When you check it out... 
When you get it off...your trip 

Everybody needs a change 
A chance to check out the new 
But you're the only one to see 
The changes you take yourself through 

Don't you worry 'bout a thing 
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, pretty mama 
Cause I'll be standing in the wings 
When you check it out 

Don't you worry 'bout a thing 

It works for me every time......

Maybe that's my fun

I was recently talking to a friend about Fulfilling Work events and how excited I was about the ideas and working on it with friend Catherine.  How much I was learning, how stressful it sometimes was, and what we hoped it could do.  I also shared my Nightstop experience and that it was a way for me to test out whether I wanted to go deeper and have a young person in my house for longer, perhaps even fostering.  As we talked about our lives and hopes I realised that mine were all quite 'serious' and started to laugh and apologise that there wasn't much fun in what I was talking about.

"Maybe", he said "that is your fun".  

I think he's right and what's important to me is connecting with other people, creating a sense of family and home, and sharing experiences and learning.  It is part of what what drives me.  I don't need to feel embarrassed about it.