Aloha, loving tribe members! We’ve officially jumped into summer and we are half way through the year. Are you where you thought you’d be? Have you taken the time to stop and reflect not only on where you are in your journey, but on who you are?
This time last year, I wrote my first article for Loving On Me titled “3 Cs to Successfully Move Forward”. If you remember, I wrote it just one month from me being released from my job as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. That article for me was the beginning of a liberating journey. It helped me find MY voice again. Not the voice of the company that I was working for, not the voice of its brand, not the voice of the CEO…MY voice.
Fast forward a year later…am I where I thought I would be? Truthfully, no! Absolutely not! I thought I would be successfully working at some big corporation doing what I do best. I thought I would be leading a team of other passionate people just like me in developing and implementing strategic campaigns that market or communicate the meaning behind the company, service or product and its brand in an effort to build customer relationships and loyalty.
But instead, I have spent the first half of the past year searching and interviewing for jobs that led to nowhere and began to question my identity. I began to question my own self-worth. While I recognized that I was no longer the new, fresh kid on block, I never thought I would be washed up at 48 and unemployable. A harsh reality and rude awakening, I liken it to the ALS ice bucket challenge, except I felt as if I had been pushed over board from the boat I was on into arctic waters.
I went through my daily activities shivering and treading in unchartered waters just to exist and not drown. Wondering what to do next, winter set in and brought with it a new set of challenges and placed me in the role of caregiver. I took on the job of caring for my special needs nephew and my dear friend of 30 years who was battling ovarian cancer. And ironically, I did what I do best. I began to pour my passion of being a purpose-inspired leader into bringing meaning and making a difference in their lives. I began to live a life of purpose again.
Please understand that although I was taking care of others, I understood that my lot in life was not to be a caregiver. Caregiving was a season that I went through to help me to gain perspective, grow into my purpose and into what God has for my life.
You see, I have spent this past year searching for jobs, working on freelance projects, caregiving, doing volunteer work and praying for God to deliver me from my dead-end circumstances. And during that time what I learned was that God was more interested in my heart and strengthening my spirit. He was more interested in teaching me a lesson and molding me as a person than just giving me another job.
“We ask God to change our circumstances when what He desires is for our circumstances to change us.” – Carol McLeod, Just Joy Ministries
The most valuable thing I have learned through this season of my journey is that WHO I AM doesn’t change because of my circumstances, because I am not defined by what I do…but by who I am. I am no longer in danger of being caught in the world’s definition of success and wondering whether I’m washed up or a has been because I no longer let my identity be defined by the imprisonment question of “What do you do?” I have been reminded that WHO I AM is something far greater and more valuable than just a marketing and communications strategist. I have been reminded that who I am on the inside is what truly determines what I do, how I react, how I treat others and ultimately how I fulfill my purpose in making an impact on the lives of others.
The exciting news in all of this for me is that understanding who I am has given me the compassion, confidence and courage (the 3 Cs to moving forward) that I wrote about a year ago to take a leap of faith, change my circumstances and jump the chasm to define my next great role in life by starting my own business. This new season in my journey is also liberating, frightening and exhilarating, all at the same time. And I am loving every minute of it!
This month, I encourage you to pause from the frenetic pace of life and reflect on where you are and ask yourself, “Is this where I want to be?” If it’s not, don’t beat yourself up and whatever you do, don’t have an identity crisis. Instead, think about your life and the lessons. Be grateful for where you’ve been, are now and muster up the compassion, courage and confidence to leap forward into your dreams. Stop waiting for the perfect time. The perfect time is now based on who you are, not what you do.