Human Doings vs. Human Beings

Who are you? Change the intonation a little and ask, again: Who are you? Now, again: Who are you?

Who do we each want to be in our lives? And in the lives of our loved ones, and others? What sort of impact do you want to make in the world? These are big questions, I know. And they might make you squirm a little. Or you might find them so familiar because, like so many of my clients, you may be struggling with that nagging tug of trying to figure out what your work and life is all about, at this new time in our history.

I hear my 20-something clients saying with surprise, “I thought I was on a track, but I found out that I’m not.” Or the 40- or 50 -somethings realizing that, “Everything has changed so much, and I want a new kind of stability, or a new way to use my skills – and I don’t think the experience I have will translate to anything else.” Scary stuff, this identity shift -work. (Or, is it an identity awakening?) But as always, we have ways to break down these scary places into simple things to think about, and to take into action.

I find that the number one thing for all of us to consider is that we are not “human doings”, but “human beings”. Sometimes it’s important to ask, “Who would I be if I weren’t afraid and doubting myself at this time?” Trite, you may say, but stop and consider just how much confidence we lose when we’ve lost a job, or get less than glowing feedback from a boss – who may just be a terrible manager and communicator (I hear about those, quite a bit). When we relax and remember who we are (and this takes time and some effort, when we’re depleted from stress and worry), we get back to that resourceful and creative person who knows how to get all sorts of things done; back to being the person we like to be.

Six tips for returning to that person you love to be:

1) Take time to step away from the computer and get out into  nature. You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating. We are animals who need outdoors movement, and sun and air. Walking is restorative, as is swimming, or hiking – or whatever gets you back in your body will do…

2) If you’re feeling lost and like you aren’t doing your life’s work, consider this: It’s coming. Trust that you will find or stumble upon your calling as you follow your nose, and just trust that it is coming. Or, really own what you love to do, and delve deeper into it. I know that I endured times when I was ready to throw in the towel, and clients of mine also experienced this, but with encouragement and the ability to listen to themselves – and sometimes, being in the right place at the right time – opportunities presented themselves …

3) Learn about yourself, and know your gifts and skills. My clients are so surprised and delighted to recognize themselves and their inherent talents . When we shut off the inner battering that we inflict on ourselves, we can really shine.

4) If you dream of doing something but don’t have the needed skills, do some research to find out what you need to do to take little steps towards knowing what you need to know. Taking a class to test your interest is a great way to get started.

5) Let go of your resistance….also known as “surrendering”. Hate social marketing and online networking? Give in and learn about it from your kids, a class or an online tutorial. This stuff isn’t going away, and more opportunities will be showing up in this online world. What ever you know you’re fighting, give in and see what happens (with the exception of anything that does harm, of course).

6) Make a list of your options. I mean really write down everything from the wildest to the most mundane option that you have, right now. We all have choices, but we forget that when gripped by self -doubt and fear. This activity can offer enough relief for you to see clearly again, to make choices with clearer sight, and to return you to your preferred self.

I know I’m focusing here on the ‘being’-ness of making changes, but know that I am also very pragmatic in my approach to change. It’s absolutely crucial to have top-notch clarity about what change you want to make, along with the necessary support materials to aid you in making those changes. Your resume, your approach letters, and those very important networking messages you are putting out to the world have to be well thought-out and well-written. We at Daisy Swan & Associates are here to support you with all of these practical necessities. In fact, you might enjoy hearing how some of our clients have made changes with a little support from us. More of these ‘interviews’ will be on our site soon, but you can have a listen to one of them, here.

We also have some other options for you to consider. Come in and work with one of us, or join one of our groups to learn and to meet others who are also grappling with change – and new ideas. Or join me in my new “Mastermind” group and put your brainstorming and creative mind to work, as we mastermind our way into new possibilities and opportunities (more details to be announced, soon).

As always, I’ve been busy reading for knowledge and inspiration. I love M.J. Ryan’s book, “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For”, as well as Richard Strozzi-Heckler’s books, “The Leadership Dojo: Build Your Foundation as an Exemplary Leader”, and, “The Anatomy of Change: A Way to Move Through Life’s Transitions”. These are great to read – and re-read – while going through transitions of all kinds.

You can also find a wealth of resources on my site, from other suggested reads, links to helpful sites, a Q&A with me, newsletter archives, and more. And for those of you who are in the process of updating your résumé, you can sign up to receive a FREE résumé template from Daisy Swan & Associates; the signup box is located right on our home page. And please feel free to tell your friends and colleagues about our FREE résumé template.