Note: Longer post.
Hoping everyone had a good weekend. As I was walking this morning I recalled another aspect of manifesting worth sharing:
Accepting what goes with obtaining the goal.
Incidentally, this is different than be careful what you wish for.
I find it fun to illustrate with examples.
After all, experience is a great way to get perspective.
When I was starting along my journey in corporate I became aware of the role technical consultant.
I was working in HR at the time, as a PSA.
I spoke with my manager – one of three I had at the time – and she agreed it would be a good fit as a career goal. She proceeded to help me find a job in the department that would get me to the next step.
I was welcomed warmly by the technical consultants in the group who were more than happy to help me along the path to my goal.
Everyone knew it would take years of work to get from Point A to Point B and many were eager to guide me along the way.
One of the more attractive aspects of the role was the autonomy the position seemed to afford.
Self-directed and independent, I don’t thrive under micromanagement or bureaucracy.
As I got to the later stages of my non-traditional path …
Big time on-the-job training!
I came to see that there wasn’t as much autonomy as I perceived
Think TPS reports.
And there was a flip side to the autonomy.
This is being a consultant?
My job required a lot of travel and for the most part I was thrilled with the idea.
I love traveling to different places and interacting with people from various walks of life.
What I wasn’t prepared for – nor comfortable with – was all the time I would be spending by myself.
I was self-conscious and felt a lot of eyes on me when I checked into hotels in sometimes rural areas, sat down by myself in a restaurant, or walked into a classroom room of my “peers.”
I was younger than most by 10-15 years. I was single wheras most were married with kids. I was uusally the lone female in the predominantly male industry.
A colleague who wanted to see me succeed gave me rather blunt words when I discussed the issue with him.
You’d better get used to it.
He explained that being a technical consultant meant spending hours on a plane and a lot of nights and weekends in hotels eating room service while watching ESPN.
He suggested as an avid reader I just pull out a book and read while I eat.
Making it mine.
Over time I got used to the not-so-glamorous side of being a technical consultant. More, outgoing and naturally curious, I engaged other travelers in conversation.
Most, also feeling lonely, were more than happy to talk about what they were doing.
Majority wanted to tell me about their families and how much they missed them.
Especially international travelers who, either because of kids’ school or the family budget couldn’t bring their families with them.
I always learned something new from these engaging conversations.
One of the more interesting ones was speaking with a Congressional Representative from the Navajo Nation who was sitting next to me on a flight to DC, his tray strewn with paperwork. He was more than happy to take a break to explain his role and what he was presenting to Congress the next day.
This is the big gathering?
One of the more anticipated events in our company was an annual training where consultants from all over the world gathered near corporate HQ for a week of intense hands-on training.
And beaucoup networking.
The experienced consultants, not wanting to leave for one reason or another, proposed I go. However, my job classification meant No way! so a bit of negotiating was done. I could go on the condition I attend specific courses or breakouts, write a report, and give a presentation upon my return.
But I was not allowed to rent a car and a number of stipend limitations were put on me.
It was a thrill and I was excited. And challenged.
I was carded when I tried to order wine alongside a senior colleague from another state and when I gave the bartender my Michigan driver’s license, he proceeded to accuse me of having a fake ID. I told him to go ahead and call the cops if he thought that – as my face flamed from embarassment – I’d drawn a lot of attention amongst the group of peers – all men.
One of the senior consultants – a soft spoken gentleman from Atlanta in his late 50s – managed to convince the bartender I had a legitimate license and he should sell the glass of wine to me.
I dutifully took notes while attending various sessions and emailed the report ahead of my return flight so the consultants could read it before my presentation the coming Monday.
They read it over the weekend.
One of the first things I said when I stood up was how incredulous I was that grown professionals could act the way some of the consultants had acted during training.
They argued – sometimes endlessly – over the smallest detail – and became quite passionate when learning that certain features promised by marketing weren’t going to make it into an upcoming release.
When I mentioned the frustration of watching a breakout session devolve into a rat hole my colleagues began to laugh and clap. Confused, I said, “You think this is funny?” to which they replied, “No, this is what it is to be a consultant!”
I’d passed a test and was soon given more opportunities to further myself along the path toward the goal; a path littered with challenges as I learned the less-than-glamorous side of being a technical consultant.
Including learning after I completed all the requirements there was no headcount for me to get that promised promotion.
I eventually succeeeded then surpassed the goals I’d set for myself.
I can look back on an incredible and successful years’ long career as a technical consultant.
What stands out – a good reminder as I walk the path to current goals – is that there are unknowns one has to accept to go the distance and many of these unknowns are unanticipated hurdles.
They go along for the journey to success.