This is generally the time of year when I contemplate career goals.
Though one year it was all done before the end of summer.
This year the theme that came up was letting go of that which no longer serves. My first exposure to this concept was back in 96 when I came across Terah Kathryn Collins’ book The Western Guide to Feng Shui Room by Room. Of all the statements that resonated [at the time] the idea that every item we see chatters at us, reminding us of who gave it to us and/or where we got it, and whether that item makes us feel good or bad was the most powerful. Once I had that philosophy as a filter it was easy to decide what action I needed to take.
One Man’s Junk
I went through the house room by room and gathered everything I no longer used or needed, as well as items that didn’t leave me feeling good. As a reward for all that work, I was able to pass along every single item to someone whose son was moving into his first apartment and needed everything.
When it comes to getting rid of that which no longer serves it can be done for general purposes which is a great way to keep up on/prevent clutter but also works for a specific goal or area in your life in which you wish to see improvement. The reason is simple. If you are constantly looking at something that reminds you of who you used to be or who you are now it will be hard to become the you that you believe you can be.
Or to feel it because you are surrounded by items that may be telling a different story.
Career Part One
As part of my path in tech I switched Fortune 500 companies, bringing with me experience and expertise to do my job but leaving the loyalty for my former company behind.
I had to prove that last part but it worked out and I had a very successful career at the second company as well.
There came a point where we went through a merger and I was told I – along with my peers – needed to give a presentation to the members of my new team, many of whom were from the company we merged with.
Which had been a competitor.
This was so new colleagues could learn a bit about my background and professional experience. As I was putting it together I came to see some of the certifications I had were no longer relevant outside that I’d earned them and they came in handy when I ran into legacy systems and/or customers. How I handled it on the slide was to poke fun at them even while making sure it was understood I was proud of them and the work it took to earn them, and that they were steps along the professional path to get me where I was at that point.
A Senior Technical Consultant.
As I write in my bio, I learned the benefit of flexibility working in an industry where change was constant.
It’s why I was drawn to the industry to begin with. I love learning.
Though the principles still apply, it hasn’t always been as easy in my writing career.
Career Part Two
I’ve written about a bit of a wardrobe challenge in the letting go department, mostly because I had no idea of what would be next.
Having a vision of where you want to go is extremely helpful when setting goals.
As I layered this knowledge over the particular goals I have and the path I’ve traveled this far, I came to see letting go felt a little different. It required not only seeing myself as that person who achieved the goal, but required feeling like that accomplished individual. That was a little harder to fake.
I understood the concept of fake it til you make it but wasn’t clear on the execution.
In spite of that missing piece I took physical actions I knew supported the concept.
- Got rid of items that sent the wrong message about my career goals.
- Reminded myself doing the basics on visualization and getitng rid of what didn’t represent the me that achieved the goal had worked previously.
- Reminded myself of other challenging goals I’ve achieved to boost my morale and confidence.
- Acknowledged every mini victory of change – no matter how slight – in how I felt after taking action.
- Remained open to following whatever my instincts told me I might need to do even if it didn’t make sense.
So long as it was in line with achieving my goal.
Along the way books were put in my path that deepened my understanding and provided new techniques to try.
As I come to a point where I’ve just about cleared out that which no longer serves I remind myself of another important piece of the puzzle, albeit one that isn’t always comfortable. To illustrate I will give a metaphor.
Let’s say you want a new set of dishes. Let’s also say that you already have some in the cupboard but maybe they are hand-me-downs from when you got your first apartment or maybe your taste has changed. You can go about this a few different ways.
- You could go buy what you want but then you have to figure out what to do with what’s in there.
This assumes you know exactly what you want and you have the means to get that other set.
- You could take whatever is in there and pass it along.
In this case you may or may not know what you want but decide to get rid of the old because you don’t like how looking at the old makes you feel.
For this scenario you have options but if you’re the kind of person that freaks out at the sight of an empty cupboard you may find yourself making a rash decision.
One you may regret.
You need to get comfortable with the real big empty.
In the meantime you could use paper plates or find other work-arounds. Remember, this is just a metaphor.
When we let go of that which no longer serves – items that may be sending a message that becomes an emotional block to attaining the goal – we need to live with a between part until the goal finds its way into that space. There is no set timeframe on how long this between part may last.
One may have more inner work to do to align with the goal.
I’m not saying this is easy but it’s in this space we are able to grow into the person we need to be to receive the goal.
For a technique to help get through this between time, see Manifesting Blah: Feeling Can Help.