The person you are now was being developed many years ago. As a baby, people would smile at you and “coo” and you were already learning to perform for others, giving them what they wanted (and maybe more important, expected).
Over the years, all of those subsequent interactions formed the “print” of who you are; in essence, your self-image. The problem with that image is that it is based on the attitudes of others. The benefit derived for them is in who they think you are and the role that you’ve come to accept and play for them.
I’ve written often about reinvention here at the JBE. That journey continues, but I think I’ve arrived at a point where some newfound clarity was needed (and was missing).
My own lessons learned during the K-12 years and after—when I went off to college to play baseball, mainly—eventually led to a dead-end. At that point, I had to turn back, retrace my route, and find a different off-ramp, and a new road forward. that took place over a two-decade period.
There is a certain sameness that Americans crave and pervades life as we know it. I guess that’s why I’ve felt out of sorts for much of the past 10 months. The need for people I used to know to rush along with the rest of herd makes it hard to reconnect with most, if not all of them.
When my former boss died, I felt an obligation to reach out to former colleagues and people he knew in the workforce development world where I once resided, and where my mentor and I first met. Just like him, I’ve come to see that many of these former colleagues are pretty shallow; mere cardboard cutouts masquerading as human beings. I just shake my head thinking about some of the disingenuous email replies and responses I received.
I’ve intimated in this space that 2015 has been the most challenging year since I’ve been freelancing. It’s running neck and neck with a few other years back in Indiana, for most challenging ones in my life.
That being said, getting clear on some important things might just be the gift I wasn’t expecting from my year of adversity. As the dross has fallen away, I’m recognizing that I’ve gotten away from some basic values. I also recognize that there’s no value in forgetting the labor required to remove previous obstructions—I need to stay true to who I’ve become and not revert to the place where I was before.
So, can you define your core values? Also, are you where you want to be in your life? If not, why not?
It’s possible that you also have some work to do.