Sunday, April 11, 2010

Being Open to Improvement

In my short life I have done a lot of things, learned a bunch about myself, and been the first female in my family to admit I needed guidance. I come from a family with strong, matronly figures. Ones that don't cry (except during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics) and especially don't admit things like being wrong, or express regret.

The idea of a strong woman has been with me my whole life. And at times, would I ever like to be strong. Unfortunately I must have got my dad's emotions. I cry at lots of things, for seemingly small reasons. I become passionate about the things I believe in. I admit when I'm not strong.

The first time I realized I needed outside advice came when my dreams for my first career started to crumble around me. I don't think I can even take credit for admitting I needed another perspective as it was my boyfriend (now husband) who told me I should talk to someone.

So I did. I took the first scary steps to seek help and advice to fix me. I learned a lot about myself, but most importantly I learned that other people have great insight into my issues and can push me to look at things in a different light.

I am at a crossroads again in my life as I prepare to exit the safe incubator called post-secondary school and forge into the real world... again. I learned a lot in school, especially from the critical thinking courses I took that focus on self-examination which led me to the notion that maybe I need to work on my thinking. Building on that, recently I found a fabulous coach: Deborah from Inspiritu Life Coaching & Professional Counselling. She mainly deals with changing your thinking centred around weight loss & body image, but I learned today that my thinking goes far deeper than image.

We talked about negative projections. I do this when I say things like "I'm definitely going to be at a disadvantage compared to my classmates when I'm looking for a job because I'm going on vacation in May." I don't actually know if I will or will not be disadvantaged, but I saw how saying that put a limitation on my ability for success. I now had an excuse if I didn't get the dream job over someone else.

It's important to combat these projections by just being open to the possibilities around us. Instead of being so unsure & negative when I talk with people about what I will be "doing" after school is over, I'm going to be more open by engaging & seeing if there are any networking possibilites available just through speaking to that person.

It's a whole new way of doing things and I think my accountability level is going to be way higher now than it has ever been!

I'll keep all my loyal followers posted as I work through this. : )


Jamie said...

1. Don't settle for a job. Figure out what you love and go for it.

2. Think positive; it comes off in interviews. People like confidence.

3. Being emotional will be your strongest and your worst asset. If you can control it, it'll be a great thing in the work world as it will translate into passion.

4. Have fun! The journey is the best part...

alirayner said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I had an opportunity to practice being open to possibilities today. I am working with a rollercoaster team right now (actually it's just 1 person who's stressing me out) and said person came up to me today trying to play it cool. (He's done little to no work on a huge project, yet refuses to acknowledge the fact that this might be an issue for his fellow group members). Instead of being trite and defensive with him (like I usually am) I stopped to engage in conversation and like magic I could see his guards slowly dropping. I was open to the possibility he may have something to offer eventhough I'd love to throw him off a cliff, figuratively speaking of course. I'm proud of myself for treating the situation differently than I have in the past and I feel better about it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ali,
Your blog entry echoed what I am going through right now. I was so thrilled and filled with enthusiasm and passion when I was about to start my Bach degree in Computer Science; and fresh out of uni, I was feeling so confident and happy! It was during my working years that I realised I wasn't getting any fulfilment from my job as a software developer; and negativity slowly and surely crept in. I didn't enjoy my work at all. Now I'm at a major crossroad where I need to understand and explore myself, and to choose between what would make me happy (equally important if what can make me happy can give me a stable income and ultimately a career growth), or to do something that I wouldn't enjoy and have passion doing but could otherwise reward me with a stable income. I guess the question now is do I have the courage to step out of my idealism of being a perfectionist where I cannot fail. Thanks for this great post, and I am sure it will resonate with people going through the same phases right now, and hopefully would give them some important questions to think about.
All the best to you Ali and as Jamie said "Have Fun!" because the journey is the best part :-)
Keep us posted!


alirayner said...

Hi Ver,
I totally felt that I needed to pursue what made me happy too. But even thinking about the mammoth task of finding happiness made me sigh in exasperation.
I'm reading a very interesting book I think you might relate to as well. It's called "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. She's a perfectionist who found she felt ungrateful for all the wonderful things in her life. The book chronicles her year-long commitment to discovering her own brand of happiness.
I completely relate to the idealism of perfectionism as I have the same tendencies. I think I need to write a whole post about my thoughts on that. : )
Thanks for the comments!
Ali : )