Posts Tagged ‘hope’

March 4th: A Re-booter’s Rallying Cry

March 4, 2014

March fourth is the only date that doubles as a verb, so we may as well use it as incentive to get out there and get going. Although there is plenty about the re-booting process that is internal, we’re also required to take action and make some noise. So, why not today? It’s as good a starting point as any. Let’s make a little progress on your goals, move the ball down the field a couple of yards—march forward, my friends!

 

I’m not demanding a lot from you when I say this. Making progress on some minor goals can engender more energy (and enthusiasm) for tackling major ones. For instance, take an hour and start to clear out that closet; sit down and organize your papers for tax day; walk around the block as a way to introduce regular exercise into your regimen. We all can find excuses not to do these things (I don’t want to do my taxes, either)—the one that tops the list is, “I’m too busy.” Yeah, yeah, whine and justify all you want, but you’re not fooling anyone. We’re all busy. March fourth is only here for a few, measly hours, so move it.

 

Oh, you don’t like this little kick in the pants? Well, too bad, because part of being a re-booter involves the occasional dose of tough love.

 

Individuals’ resistance to change is epic. Honestly, do you know anyone who truly relishes the idea of summoning sufficient energy to get out there and try something new? Who relishes the idea of plans going awry and falling flat on their face? Well, do you? Too often, as much as we may loathe and detest our current situation, it often requires a case of dynamite to get us to break out of the cement mix that has become our lives—this was certainly the case for me. I was willing to endure all sorts of unkind and belittling behaviors for way too long because I was scared and because I had no idea what in the world I would possibly do, instead. I hope things aren’t this bad for you; I hope you never let them get that awful because you deserve to thrive and laugh, not cower and cry.

 

So often in life, there is no cataclysmic event that triggers in us the propelling energy to make the change we need. Instead, we are more akin to frogs simmering in ever hotter water, making excuses as to why our current circumstances are a preferred option. We tell ourselves that, “Now is not the time—there’s too much going on that I have to do first.” “I’m being practical and responsible.” “I don’t want to lose what I have.”

 

Ok, well is what you have so great? Would you be nursing this pining if a part of you wasn’t screaming that you need something else, something more? Think of it this way: with regard to life transformation, for whatever you risk losing, remind yourself of all those unpleasant circumstances from which you will be free. Free of that asshole! Free of that soul killing job! Free of the need to “prove yourself” to whomever holds sway today. And free of the pain and misery which accompanies all of the above. Perhaps you can only truly flourish once you are freed. My fellow re-booters, don’t forget that not all your good ideas or possibilities arrive at one time—many only occur to you or manifest after you’ve shed your chains. Just because you don’t see the hope now doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! This is where trust enters the picture. This is where hope assumes it’s most critical and impelling role: we act out of hope. So, let me ask you this: what do you hope for? You’ll never get any closer to it if you don’t march forth. Today’s the day.

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Realistically Speaking…

February 25, 2014

As re-booters we are forging new ground for ourselves—this is not easy work. There is lots of rocky soil to till, boulders to overcome, and demands for new irrigation. Re-booting demands an enormous amount of blood, sweat, and tears and the entire time, we are highly susceptible to questioning ourselves and our choices. Such notions are most dangerous when we receive the (jealous) “wisdom” of others.

 

With any sort of change, there are those who will feel threatened or even repudiated by our efforts to move in another direction. They will resort to many a desperate tactic to dissuade us from our new path, and, occasionally, this deterrence or criticism will come from those we trust.

 

It’s difficult to know how to balance our aspirations with pragmatism and the hard won wisdom of those we go to for guidance. They may listen and fold their arms, punctuating our monologue of dreams with the occasional frown or chuckle, and then, they tell us what they really think. “Uh, oh’” we worry to ourselves, “they think we’re crazy or wildly impractical to head in this new direction,” given my age…the already saturated marketplace…the experiences of prior advice seekers…what have you. We worry that we’re delusionally arrogant to imagine trying this. If we probe further as to the basis for their opinion, sometimes they get angry. “Oh,” we privately cringe, “my chances are even worse than I imagined.”

 

But, the fact of the matter is, it’s just as likely that what we’re trying to achieve in our lives triggers all sorts of personal discomforts for them. Maybe they want to escape their current reality and become a fly fisherman or an arbitration expert or sell their art work. Instead of encouraging us, they tell us how hard it is to make it, or how our temperament and outsized ambition make it unlikely we’ll succeed–how there’s no market for what we’re peddling. “I’m just being honest,” they shrug.

 

The challenge for re-booters is that we’re already nervous and doubtful about our chances. We already torture ourselves with questions about our sanity and arrogance. We’re nervous nellies who understand that what we want is elusive—but we act out of hope. So then, how do we balance our goals and dreams against the discouraging advice of others? Can we benefit from their cautionary wisdom without being deterred? Can we make sense of what people who seem to know more than we do when they tell us we’re overreaching?

 

How?

 

In many respects, I feel like Lab Rat A in this experiment. For over the past two years, as I’ve uprooted my life and reversed course in my career, I’ve been blindly stumbling along a foggy path where I’m not 100% sure of where I’m going or what I’m doing. I’ve launched a blog where I share these adventures and observations, but who knows if it’s had any impact at all. I read articles about the exponentially diminishing prospects of the long term unemployed. The world is a hive of activity and I’m stuck in a beaker, looking out. So, what do I do? I do what I can. I do what’s in front of me. I follow conventional wisdom about what I “should” be doing, but add in my own private efforts for the parts that really interest me. And I only selectively listen to those who tell me they’re being honest about my chances.

 

And then, I hope.

 

What about you?

Going Through the Kitchen Door

January 10, 2013

OK, well, enough of the holiday hiatus. I’m back as a regular contributor, bringing Dignitary’s Retreat readers home spun wisdom, cautionary tales, and that sliver of hope when you sometimes feel desperate enough to believe it is slipping away…

So, how’s January treating you so far?

I want to tell you a story. The point of this story is to encourage you to believe that things can work out, even when your life feels bleak; but success requires your cooperation, courage, and a willingness to try against-the-odds strategies. What makes this difficult is the immediate fear that things won’t get better, that you’re bound to remain in the bad place you find yourself, and the terror of feeling like a fool. But you can’t know unless you try, right? Right.

So, as most DR readers know, I have been looking for full-time employment for quite some time. Having moved across the country to increase my odds of success, each of the applications, efforts, networking events, etc that I made have resulted in closed doors. Murmurs of occasional interest punctuated by total silence. It has been frustrating and disheartening to say the least. I have teetered on the verge of despair multiple times and it is only due to my stubbornness and underlying belief in my talents and abilities that has kept me wading through this swamp instead of giving up.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you kept trying and trying and trying and no door seemed to open? Yeah, that’s how it’s been for me, too.

Well, last week I happened to see an opinion piece published in a national newspaper written by someone who I had heard speak last summer. I resonated with his message and had thought about his remarks several times since then, admiring the course of his career and silently supporting the work he has been pursuing. But this is a well established individual who gives speeches and writes books and expostulates. (I may do all of those things, too, but my audience base is significantly less apparent. Ha ha.) This is not someone you “just approach.”

Except that I did.

Somehow, against all odds, I managed to get his personal email address and that of his wife’s. So, despite the knowingly random nature of my communiqué, I sent them an email explaining who I was, that I admired his work, and that I was seeking out interesting volunteer opportunities and did he, perhaps, need some assistance with one of his projects? By the way, he lives a good thousand miles away from where I am. I sent off my query, not expecting to get a response.

Doors opened.

Less than thirty minutes later, I received an enthusiastic reply from his wife. We’ve subsequently had a terrific, hour long conversation, a few email follow ups, and will meet later this month. They do need help. They have many irons in the fire. There are some people, locally, I should meet.

What does this have to do with you?

I share this with you because I want you to keep in mind that most household activity occurs in the kitchen. So go through the kitchen door. Climb through the air vent, if you have to. Even if polite company enters through the grand front entrance accompanied by a marching band, those gates aren’t opened very often, but the kitchen door is usually unlocked.

What back entrance might you try to pursue your dreams this year?


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