I was having a convo with one of my favorite Tweeps about another blog we were reading. Nothing earth shattering -- just sharing our thoughts on a blog. I was confused by the blogger's intent. I wasn't sure if her goal was one outcome or another. My Tweep proceeded to tweet (I hope she doesn't mind I RT'd without credit but it was a DM):
"I don't think she's clear either. That's why the Universe is giving her mixed signals."
I've thought about those 15 words for the past two days. Not the kind of "that was a good observation" thinking but the kind of thinking that causes you to go deep within.
It's no secret that I've experienced a lot of chaos and confusion in my life, especially with my work. I've always wondered why I have such a hard time carving out my path or shoot even picking a path. I hate to keep referring to my growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent but it's so important to how my thoughts and outlook on life have been formed that I can't help but think about it. It applies here as well.
When your life is one chaotic moment after another (the definition of a child growing up with an alcoholic parent), you become especially skilled at being reactive and anticipating the next move based on past experience. You become expert at crisis management. When things are going to hell in a hand basket, you want me there. On the outside, I'm cool, calm and collected. I can assess the situation quickly, figure out what needs to be done and git her done. I've been doing it since I was 10. The problem is life is not usually crisis after crisis. When the perceived emergency is over and you've given the internal signal to stand down, you don't know what to do next.
That quality has made me an outstanding employee, always the team player willing to do just about anything to get the job done. Need someone to help with a PowerPoint presentation, I'm there. No one knows how to the use the new software, I'll figure it out. We need someone to do X and you're good at it (or at least we know you will become expert at it). Okay I'll take the job and get paid significantly less than someone who set out to do that particular job. That's a passive and reactive approach that worked well in keeping me gainfully employed. It also kept me from really having to think a lot about what I wanted to do. Until July 2007. For the first time in my adult life, I really had to think about what I wanted to pursue (corporate downsizing messed up the good gig I had going).
Those 15 words made me realize I haven't been clear with the Universe and have been sending a lot of mixed messages myself. I'm a marketing analyst. No, I'm a database administrator. Wait; I'd be a good Paralegal or Court Reporting would be fun. Guaranteed a job if I go into the Health Care field in some capacity. Don't forget, I really want that bookstore. The Universe has been returning exactly what I put out there. I've met Paralegals, Court Reporters, Systems Analyst, expanded my network of marketing professionals, and have been given the name of a successful Independent Bookstore owner. Even the job I have now is a result of the message I put out there: I want a job making x dollars per year. What do you know, a friend called and said ABC has an opening for an Associate Business Manager. It's an area I never even remotely thought about applying for in the past but I knew I could get that dollar figure I thought was my primary goal.
My goal this weekend is to sit down with my old journal (it's around here somewhere I'm sure). I'm going to do some deep thinking about what it is I want. It's a very unfamiliar place for me, but one I'm ready to explore fully. I won't "ask" my friends what should I do or what they think. I won't read the statistics on projected job growth or expected salary ranges.
It's time for the Universe and I to uncross our signals -- time for me to be clear.