The first, the last, the everything …

These last few weeks has seen me immersing more fully into the preparation necessary for my emergence in the Next Best Chapter of my life: how I’ll contribute with meaning and significance now that my years as a full-time, actively engaged, always present Parent ebbs into the sunset.

This month, I’ve developed a professional profile on LinkedIn and have been establishing connections there. Defining myself for a flat screen appraisal has been challenging, to say the least. Words, after all, are merely words ~ and they can be cleverly crafted to create any image or impression you desire. I’ve been writing for decades – and my key strength is in my ability to transform the words into an experience the reader can feel and relate to, without ever having met them or needing to know them. But I’ve been around long enough to also know that the way one present’s oneself ‘on paper’ can be a far cry from who that person actually is in reality. And as such, I feel rather limited by this first entry point to a Recruiters awareness; as good as my words are, my Presence and Experience and Wisdom bring more.

Having said that, I’ve crafted a Professional Profile that captures, I hope, the kaleidoscopic dazzle of all that I am – and, I’ve published it.

It’s taken me some time to wrap my mind, body and soul around the thought of entering back into a world I left more than 16 years ago. I had a brilliant career; actively engaged in work I enjoyed, with people I liked and respected, with compensation and reward that aligned well with my effort and enthusiasm. I’ve had a brilliant experience here at home; learning, growing, nurturing, providing, guiding, teaching, coaching, problem solving, leading by example, motivating, inspiring, volunteering and tapping deeply into wells of creativity and intuitive guidance I had not know was available to me before.

I am not the same woman who walked away from it all in mid-October, 1995; in every way, I’m better. It is this that I turn to when insecurity and doubt, rooting in the gap between then and now, starts to rise; the fact that this time, I have so much more to offer than a keen intelligence, a willingness to learn, an enthusiasm to achieve and a drive to excel. This time I also bring Wisdom, Compassion, Understanding, Creativity, Higher Order Thinking, Relation-Building Techniques, Insight, Perspective, Patience and the ability to Get In Behind the Eyes of Anyone to the table. I plan to contribute with meaning and serve with significance. Again – these are all just words – except, of course, for the fact that they’re infused with Passion, Integrity and Experience.

I’m a firm believer in the existence of Something Beautiful. This is a phenomenon available to all of us ~ but tends to be experienced most often by those who believe in it and actively seek its emergence. Briefly, the theory goes like this: Life presents us with people, events and circumstances that provide us the opportunity to rise up and meet our Better Selves. Some call these gifts ‘issues’ or ‘difficult people’ or ‘hard times’ ~ I see them as learning and growth opportunities that allow me to practice skills and tap into qualities and values that may lay dormant until called forward by a specific person, circumstance or event. At some point, while frustration rises or upset peaks or overwhelm threatens – an Awareness within me whispers, “What is this here to teach you? How will you meet this? Don’t get lost in the emotion – face it, meet it, get through it, and in so doing – you will meet your Something Beautiful.”

So, I persevered through the discomfort of documenting my skills, experience and value for potential employers to use as an initial assessment of my fit and alignment. I’ve identified the best Resume Format to showcase my talents and abilities and I’ve crafted one of at least three Resumes needed to best highlight the fields in which I’ve got the most to share. I’ve sourced sites that feature opportunities in the kind of employment I seek and I’ve even submitted Resumes for jobs I know I’d be great at. All in the knowing that taking each step toward the ultimate goal also brings me ever closer to my next Something Beautiful.

Reaching out and making Connections was difficult for me too. I’m an Introvert by personality and have become quite isolated from others as a result of being home with children for so long. Sending Connection requests to people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in more than 16 years has been an exercise in Courage for me. I did it though – and as a result, I met my Something Beautiful: everyone remembers me, they all seem happy to have heard from me and they remember me in ways I’d forgotten I’d ever existed. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how empowering it feels to be Seen and treated with such Kindness and Respect. Yet I’ll try – it felt Wonderful and Validating and Encouraging. And it’s given me the energy boost needed to continue on, step by step, into my Next Best Chapter of this Life I’m so Grateful to be living.

My point in telling you all of this?

So often, the best gift we can give another is our attention, a kind word, a respectful demeanour ~ and the sense that, in the moment of the interaction – that person is the most important person in the world to you: the first, the last, the everything.

7 Comments

  1. I like your phrase, the next best chapter. And I know that something beautiful is waiting for you and, because of your openness, you will find it. Your gifts need to be shared. All the best to you, Sally.

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    Reply:

    Thank you Kim. I think there are probably quite a few of us who knew the professional realm ‘back then’ and are assessing how we best fit ‘now’. A part of me entertained the notion of making a series about that … but then, I could be wrong – others may manage the transition better and differently than me. Being the Contemplative that I am, I do tend to Think, Dwell, Reflect and Assess far more than most.

    Another theory I practice and believe in is to identify people who are doing what I aspire to do and then observe and connect for inspiration purposes. You are such a person for me. Not the photography aspect so much (though your work and the work of a few others has got me taking a camera with me when I go places now – and when I feature pics in posts, they pics are now mine) ~ but the willingness to accept that one part of your life has drawn to a beautiful close – meaning another is out there, waiting for you to show up. Walking the walk and engaging with THAT is the journey I’m on now … and I thank you for all the breadcrumbs you’ve left along the way … Sally.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Ah you too, Sally. I don’t know what I would do without people in my life (many of them online) who get and support the journey.

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  2. Now this song will be a great one for doing Dance Walking.

    You have so much to share Sally I know you will go far and are very unforgetable ~ You are my Guiding Star that’s what you are.

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    Reply:

    Do you Dance Walk, Andrea? What a fantastic idea! Let’s do that on the beach in July and freak out the sun-tanners (while mortifying our daughters)!!

    Thank you for singing the song back to me – travelling far and being unforgettable sounds like a wonderful mission to me. Thanks for being here … Sally.

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  3. Wearmanyhats

    Funny, isn’t it…how times change. Remember how people were nuts about CB radios back in the 70s? It was all the rage; people had their own “handles” even if the weren’t truckers. Now it’s the net. Blogging used to be the rage, now personal blogs are trying to find their way and professionals blog. FB used to be so important, now Linked In is catching on. What will we think of this in twenty years? Or won’t we care? Funny how times change both what is important as well as how fel about ourselves. Thanks for your contemplations, Sally. In the now, you are a bright spot.

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    Reply:

    “Looks like we got us a Con-Voy …”

    Yes, I do actually remember when CB radios were all the rage. I so wished we could have one in our car – apparently that was a ridiculous wish though. Looking back, in light of your comment Beth – it was an early glimmer of the enthusiasm to connect with others emerging.

    LinkedIn won’t rival FB or even Twitter in any meaningful way – it’s not a Social site to be ‘social’ per se … more of a means to meet others in your industry, field or service – and synergize for best practices and, sometimes, job search and secure missions.

    And while so much changes – it also, in ways, remains very much the same. While I’ve been away ‘from it all’ for more than 16 years, reading through discussion threads in the Groups area shows me that the challenges facing professionals and retailers haven’t really changed that much, only the ways in which they’re presenting themselves. Conversations still flow about how to secure customer loyalty, how to motivate certain groups of employees, compensation and benefits offerings that will attract desirable candidates, etc. I’m more than a little amazed that the answers to these questions still seem so elusive.

    Ah well, guess I’ll do my very best to be the Creativity Flow that shifts perspective and maybe changes everything. (Ha!)

    So, what was your CB handle back in the day. I don’t think I had one, nothing’s coming to mind at least … Sally.

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