Opening up to a new reality: Is it a chance to share your authentic story?

Opening up to a new reality: Is it a chance to share your authentic story?

 

 

Some of us may never work in an office again. Total career pivots and upright moves to new cities became almost commonplace. This much upheaval can feel unhealthy, but as with any change, how we handle it, shapes how it makes us feel.

In my role I coach people to craft their new stories. The outsized changes brought on by the pandemic are, if we’re facing into them the right way, a special opportunity. (Maybe you knew I was going to say that, but I really mean it.) This is a time to reflect, to regroup, and to ask yourself: Who am I today? What is my new story?

Being defined by your job is understandable—it’s been that way for a long time—but I argue that that’s just a small part of your life. A job pays the bills, it keeps you above poverty line, but it probably doesn’t define you faithfully. When the pandemic stopped the economy, in some cases whole jobs stopped and, in some cases, standard modes of working stopped. Hello Zoom!

You see, it’s never been about the job, though that can form part of your story. It’s never been about what society says is important; that changes all the time. This forced slowing down, this dampening of the distractions of consumerism and events, affords you the headspace to own who you are: the person behind the mask that the world sees.

That language from me may seem a little lofty, but we’ll get there, I think. You can even take the time to ask yourself as the world opens up, do I know my core values. Do I truly pay attention to what is really important to me?

This has been a difficult time and the pandemic has left an uncountable number of us depressed or chronically stressed. While moving through these states whether we wanted to or not, the upside, if you’ll let me call it that, came in the form of something simple: more quiet, reflective time to be with your own thoughts and space.

This overlooked rarity became less overlooked and less rare after shutdown shrunk our time-pressed, overbooked former lives, and I’m asking you to lean into it for the space it affords you to ask questions: What kind of person am I supposed to be? What kind of hobbies are for me? (Yes, hobbies, you aspiring baker, comic-book collectors, adult-coloring book lovers. Take time for it.) Who among our friends should occupy important positions of time and attention in our orbit? It’s never simply been about a job, whatever the world told you. It’s about your life and what you give attention to. It’s different for everyone.

Personally, I inject meaning into the global lockdown; I don’t see it as the result of randomness. The world stopped because we needed to pay attention—to the biosphere, to the culture, to the lack of diversity, to the uneven corporate hierarchy, to one-sided relationships and toxic friendships. We needed to wake up. If we weren’t paying attention, the universe stepped in with a little shake-up, almost as if to say that limitless corporate greed has limits and ignoring people who fall through between the cracks increases the store of human suffering.

In a way, when you move through the world inauthentically, either because the world is giving you confusing signals or because you can’t hear your own signals over the noise, you too are falling between the cracks. Without diminishing your feelings, I don’t care what job you have or what status you hold. It’s not who you are.  I care about you taking this time to meet yourself, to own your authentic story. This isn’t about what your family, your neighbourhood, your culture or your office says is right. When you go quiet and listen to your intuitive heart-based feelings, you’ll be closer to what I’m talking about.

For a taste of knowing your story, take the time to watch Megan Macedo’s video on coming to terms with who she was and how she connected to her work. My brother introduced me to this special 13-minute exploration years ago, and I still share it with clients who are crafting their next chapter. (I still get teary every time I watch it).

Our world doesn’t look the same anymore, and it shouldn’t. We have lost but we have gained if we’re closer to what moves our inner compass. Vulnerability and pain can diminish us or it can take us to a new level of understanding.

We are all connected. And if you march to your own drummer anew, and I, in my corner of the world, know what makes me happy, and we both follow those threads no matter how divergent, our own healing helps each other. It’s a ripple effect.

Covid-19 happened to the whole world. Is this the time to wait for the return of the status quo or to figure out what really makes you happy? The job rarely defined you, nor did a dozen other modern-world values. What makes you feel good—be it a meditation at midnight, walks in the nearest forest, playing with your rescue dog, using kids’ paints for the first time in thirty years, or whatever your form of watching the clouds go by is—is asking you to pay attention. Heed the call of your need not the noise of the outside world, which will so frequently let you down.

Listen, if this unasked-for time of going inward has only served to show you how what satisfied you before, no longer does, the wisdom might just be to stop following the crowd and turn to what you want to do and be. When we pay attention to ourselves—something closer to our real selves—we receive new energy to heed what is better for everyone because we are happier.

As we tiptoe towards opening up the world, this will all have more meaning if you commit to integrate real, repeatable time to craft a new narrative of your own beautifully messy story. (The perfectionist tendency will chain you into doing what those around you are doing; reject it and go for messy.) We are so much more beautiful and raw and real when we simply march to our own beat, wearing our own clothes, hesitantly and then proudly someday. Those clothes always fit us the best anyway, don’t they? Now where did I put that unicorn sweatshirt with rainbows on it?

#bekinder #bebetter