Feb 122018
Photo of breakfast and coffee on table at Southside Cafe in Geelong

Second meeting with my career transition guide (who I’ll call Shepherd from now on). Gorgeous sunny day, groovy cafe and strong coffee.

Neither Shepherd nor I know why we were assigned to each other; only that Shepherd’s colleague (who does the assigning) thought we would be a good match.

These sessions are supposed to be about me finding a new career path, figuring out what I want to do next and starting the process of making it happen. I’m making a conscious effort to talk about myself, to dismantle the barriers that normally keep me from over-sharing or behaving like a raving ego-monster.

Looking through my notes from this morning’s conversation, I find two to-do items where I promised to send Shepherd information about topics that are of interest to her (and me). I completely failed to write down any to-do items that are mainly about me – but we did talk about a couple of tasks I can tackle before our next meeting. I just didn’t write them down; I was too focused on being helpful to somebody else.

As a general rule I try not to behave in a self-centred manner when with company; I look for ways to make a contribution, to be helpful (or at the very least to be amusing).

Here’s the problem: this self-discipline can get in the way of growth and change. In early adulthood I didn’t like myself much; I was vain, I over-estimated my talents and skills, I was desperate to be liked (loved), to fit in. It took a lot of work in my 30s and 40s to move away from that mindset, and in my current situation perhaps I need to take a couple of steps backward.

My employer has paid for me to be well-supported as I explore options and reinvent my professional direction. To take advantage of that opportunity I need to give myself permission to be self-centred, at least for the next few months. I need to be generous to myself, in the same way I try to be generous to others.


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