Photo by Mario Azzi on Unsplash
I had an epiphany the other day while shopping for a new book to read. I recognized I was putting a lot of pressure on this book (whichever one I chose), to bring me new insights and to fire up my brain. It occurred to me I was putting the accountability for that very personal process in the hands of something else (in this case consumerism) and I wondered, “Where else in my life might I have done that?” As it turns out, I’ve done it a lot. I put confidence into the “institution” of marriage in my early 20’s without a lot of thought as to what it would require of me (it’s been an interesting 24 year journey of discovery ever since). I’ve done it with certification processes (to give me credibility with others) and fitness plans (to magically get me “in shape”). In all of those cases, I was empowering the process, but not myself. I wasn’t putting faith and confidence in myself to do or be what it was I needed, the onus was being placed on an outside institution, process or thing to see me through. From this new vantage point (staring at my on-line shopping cart) I could see there was a time where anything I felt I was missing I sought out externally to fill the void (belonging, self-esteem, success, etc.), abdicating both my needs, and the accountability to meet my own needs, passing it on to something or someone else. That’s a lot of power to give away…and they were not accountable acts.
Fortunately there are “life forces” that push us to rise to the occasion; my marriage has happily continued because before long I recognized that a marriage requires both intention and attention, it’s not a “check the box” life activity that just does it’s thing without effort. My career has been much the same; the view from the rear-view mirror is not flattering, but it did get better with experience. I placed confidence in my profession, not necessarily myself, when I entered the professional workforce (because I believed in human resources in ways I could never have believed in myself at the time). Because I did not believe in both myself and my profession I experienced the same uneven results I have with anything where I abdicated (consciously or unconsciously) some aspect of my own accountability, empowerment and worth. When I relied on some outside entity to make me grow, be happy, successful, etc. I didn’t get that in meaningful ways. When I was the one taking responsibility for my own needs, voila! Deep contentment and sustained results. It begs the question, are you placing faith in yourself first or are you relying on something outside yourself to fill a need? Do you honour, love and believe in yourself? Those first years in the professional workforce were very confusing for me; I had a degree, I had found a profession and become credentialed…why wasn’t it working? The rear-view mirror isn’t flattering, but it can be incredibly informative.
I left the shopping site without a book, but with more self-awareness and a new perspective on my life that is invaluable. I’ll be back to shop for a book, but only when I know what it is I actually need. The lesson in all of this is if you have faith in yourself, nothing can take it away; and if you don’t, nothing else can replace it. Do not be a bystander in your own life. If you do, you leave yourself at the mercy of entities whose main objective isn’t to do this for you, but who might be able to help you to do it for and by yourself (if you are paying attention). Empower and own your own great potential.
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ABOUT MY BLOG
I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.