Saturday, January 11, 2014

Clarity...

"People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours.  Live your truth and don't EVER stop!" ~ Steve Maraboli

I was reading my friend Jen's book this morning, "WTF to OMG, The frazzled female's guide to creating a life you love", and got to a section on clarity.  Clarity - am I leading the life I want and if not, how do I get clear on exactly what I want?

The good thing is that I am leading the life I want right now.  Are there tweaks to make, sure, but on the whole all is well.  But it wasn't always that way.  Unfortunately, when I was ready for some change, I didn't have Jen's book.  What I did have though was a fantastic role model, Leslie, that appeared at exactly the right time to teach me what I wanted to know just by living her life.  Funny how that works once your are open to it!

It wasn't just Jen's book that got me thinking about where I am and whether or not I have everything I want.  It is also because my friends birthday is coming up.  It will be the first birthday since he died last year.

Death, especially the death of someone young, can be an excellent catalyst to re-evaluate where you are in life.  Last summer was a bit of a rough ride.  Within a couple of months I lost three people to cancer.  One was a mentor to me when I came to work in Calgary, the other a family friend, and then there was my good friend Andrew.  

Andrew and I were roomies in university.  He was eight years younger than me and became like the little brother I never had, seeing as I am an only kid.  Once we were out of school we moved to different provinces but we were always in touch.  First it was by email, then chatting online, and once texting became all the rage, we would text on an almost daily basis. Even when we were in the same province it was our daily texts that kept us in touch, and the odd phone call.  He was an incredible person and he made a difference in my life.  Although he was younger, he was a good role model of how to live your life the way you want to.  I take comfort in knowing that although he was only 35 years old when he died, he did a lot in his life!

He wasn't the first close friend I have lost to cancer and who was far too young.  My friend "Tigger" was only 46 years old.  She too had also achieved many dreams and her death was a kick in my pants to get going on some things, like moving back to my home province.

So as I read Jen's book and thought about Andrews upcoming birthday, I thought to myself is there anything I want to work on?  Where am I and where do I want to be?

Thankfully I am in a good place.  Like I said though, I have been working on getting here for a while.  About nine years now that I think about it.  Wow, time flies!

I just recently tweaked where I was in my career.  I spent several years working as an engineer.  As much as I love the science behind engineering, my jobs did not make my heart sing.  I used to get really frustrated by that and as I changed jobs looking for that spark, I would think, 'How come I can't get to where I want??'

Last summer I was back in that place of not liking my job.  Sure, I liked the peeps I worked with but the job itself was one I didn't leap out of bed for.  Finally I took the time to sit and think, okay, what gives me energy, and what takes it away?  I made a mental list and I visualized it.  I didn't have a job in mind, but I took the time to clarify on the characteristics of the job.  Soon after, a job posting came up and I thought, hmmm, this might tick a few boxes!  I called a friend who worked in the department and started asking questions.   The more I learned about the job, the more I wanted it and felt it would be a good fit.

The long and short of it is, I got the job.  But not without a lot of work!  See, getting clarity is only the first step, then you have to be prepared to work for it.  I studied for a month to prepare for the written test I would have to take.  Every single day I went through a reference book that related to the job and I gained knowledge in the areas that I needed to.  I reinforced the information I knew, but hadn't used in a long time.  This also provided me with an opportunity to make sure this was truly the path I wanted to take.  Sometimes we forget that when things take a little longer, it can because it is giving you time to focus in on your true goals and really making sure you want this.  It's not to discourage you from achieving that goal.

I am still in training for the job, classroom and field, but my field experience has shown me that I am on the right path. I have also given thanks for all the jobs I had that didn't light my fire.  The skills I learned in those jobs got me to where I am today and helped me get the job.

After I got my new job I thought of a conversation I had with a senior person in my organization a couple of years prior.  I remember telling her that I would love to do this particular job in my region.  Her response was very swift and admittedly took the wind out of me. (Amazing what words can physically do.)  She said I was not qualified and couldn't get the job. Bam, just like that, end of story.  It's a good thing I no longer believe people when they tell me I can't do something.  In fact, I had forgotten about the conversation until I was actually in the new job!  Then I thought, well now, I guess I AM qualified!

This is just one example of several that have happened to me over the years.  I am still working on gaining skills that will allow me to make my new job exactly what I want.  I used to be impatient to learn everything, but now I savour the process.   I have learned to do this in all areas of my life too - my health, wellness, family, friends etc.

I have realized who I want to be and have become that person, no apologies. Tigger and Andrew were great examples of people who were like that and I am so thankful that they were in my life even if it wasn't for as long as I would have liked.  Jen and Leslie continue to be wonderful examples as well.

I think it's good to take the time to look at your life and see what areas need clarity.  Even if you are where you want to be, is there anything else you want to move towards?  Jens book and Andrews upcoming birthday were good reminders to me to take a moment to reflect on where I am...

Peace out my lovelies...maybe take a moment today to get clarity about where you want to be in life and what your goals are.