Finding Your People

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized

When playing the life and career game, one of the most important quests we are given is to find our people. These people are different from your original family or clan members; your clan members are part of your hometown and are there to provide you with a sense of belonging from which to launch out into your life adventure. This new quest, which is first given around high school graduation time, is a chain quest that can last a lifetime. At the end of it, however, lies your true identity and the others who are like you. High school and college counselors are a great resource for n00bs to gain insight about who they are as a person and what direction they should go in to begin looking for “their people.” If skipping the college route and jumping straight into the workforce is more of a n00bs style, then getting the counsel of an experienced, trusted friend or family member would be the place to begin.  These resources aid the young adventurer by helping them evaluate and discover what the noob’s calling might be. These people are the noob’s trainers or mentors. For some, they may gain a mentor in their first job or at college. Whichever the case may be, the n00b’s life path will steer him or her to a place of convergence with this trainer. The universe knows that a young adventurer needs guidance, and it will send the right person into the newbie’s path, where the mentor will call forth and validate the noob’s identity and general purpose. Sometimes it is difficult to listen to these initial mentors because they may tell us the truth. In the movie Finding Joe, there is a tale of a tiger cub who had been raised by sheep. If it hadn’t been for an adult tiger to walk by and recognize the abnormality, the young cub would have thought it was a sheep for the rest of its life. But as fate would have it, the adult tiger took the cub and led it to see its reflection in a watering hole. There, the mentor revealed the cub’s false reality and showed it the truth. The movie explains that the truth can be difficult to swallow at first. It can challenge everything a young n00b previously believed. However, the truth is essential to hear if one is ever to go forth and find one’s self and eventually find one’s people. Trainers in an MMORPG let adventurers know how to perfect their class. They train them. They help them understand how to use their natural gifts, talents, and skills. They reveal the truth and guide them.  This can mean leaving behind some juvenile securities in exchange for the insecurity of growing into what one is destined to be. It can be painful, but it is the only path to transformation and true identity. The job of a trainer is to help you discover who you really are. Once newbies embrace their true calling, they can go forth and look for their tribe.  Out there, somewhere, in the big, wide world is a group of travelers who have all been following the same star. The star has called them, just as it has called all the adventurers of the same type. Some find their people earlier in life than others.  It is a complex chain quest of listening, observing, saying no to distractions, and receiving the truth. But, at some point, if adventurers want to fulfill their destiny, they will have to have the courage to accept the truth of who they are. Inevitably, this will require shedding a comfortable skin of who they aren’t. It will mean taking a stand. It will mean leaving behind some who were friends at one time, but now seem to keep the adventurer trapped and stunted.  On the other side, however, is a confidence and convergence in the adventurer’s life that can’t otherwise be obtained. Once the quest is completed, and the adventurer finds their people, they can begin to plant the seeds that will grow into their greatest contribution. Finding one’s people is an essential piece of the overall life and career journey. The search may take decades for some. The quest is given as one leaves home for the first time, but the journey isn’t complete until one has shed the skin of prescribed identity and embraced the truth of who they really are. Once discovered, however, the hero will never look back. The old skin won’t fit anymore. In this authenticity, adventurers join a group of others who have completed a similar chain quest. They, too, have endured loss and insecurity to get to this gathering. All have allowed their trainers to guide them to this point. They have received notoriety and rewards along the way to keep them headed in the right direction. Each has something to share with the group. And it is from belonging and marinating within this group of similars that the adventurer is finally affirmed and encouraged to “relax” and begin producing. The search for Maslow’s belonging and esteem needs are met here. Here is where the adventurer crafts their own unique contribution to the world. Carry on, friends, and embrace the truth. Find your people. They are there waiting for you on the other side of your quest. Seek out your trainers and listen for the truth. Stay tooned, J    

Don’t Put Out the Fire Too Early! A New Year’s Warning.

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized

About midway through the first section of Boss Level: How to Hack Your Way to the Top of Your Career “N00b,” there is a passage I called “Fears, Doubts, and Nay-sayers: Dismissing Bad Advice.” Ask anyone who is old enough to express an opinion or have had a perspective or dream, and they can attest to the fact that, at some point, they have been on the receiving end of a disheartening comment from a “nay-sayer.” Nay-sayers are always around us. Perhaps they enter our lives to help us form grit. But, experiencing nay-sayers during the early years of our lives (before level/age 19) can negatively shape our views and efforts. For example, when my mom was a kid, she was often told she was “stupid” by her drunk and frequently absent father. Because of this, she felt she could never learn. She barely passed high school and though she loved to read, learn, and was a fantastic speller, she concluded early on that higher education must not be for her because she was “stupid.” It wasn’t until she turned 50 that she went back to school. She became the most certified esthetician in our city within three years. Unbeknownst to my brother and me, she could see the writing on the wall that her marriage would be ending a few short years later, and the necessity to provide an income for herself trumped the negative tapes she replayed in her head that she was dumb. The sad part is that she was trapped by the words of her father for nearly 30 years prior to her breakthrough. We may all have similar stories with varying time-frames of fear, doubt, and confidence issues. Maybe we are surrounded by nay-sayers right now, or perhaps we have just made the decision to break free. The new year always makes room for us to contemplate our paths and where we are heading or not heading. Instead of re-writing an entry here about how to carry on when fears, doubts, and naysayers encroach on our lives, I think the excerpt from the book suffices:   Fears, Doubts, and Nay-Sayers: Dismissing Bad Advice “Misery loves company.” The old adage remains true. When others don’t have your best interest at heart, they try to find ways to make themselves feel better at your expense. For example, a pretty girl may not compliment a prettier girl, even if she deserves it, because it may only serve to make the pretty girl feel less pretty. The same goes for guys and strength. The same for who’s “coolest.” When we don’t have another’s best interest in mind, we feel that if we tell others how awesome they are, that we are giving them an advantage over us. Even worse, there are times we might even knock the achievements another person has attained, just to hold them back from believing in themselves. We may do this because we feel sorry for ourselves that we may not have a special quality of our own to believe in. Why? Because we haven’t worked as long or persevered as much as they have yet, and we want to have what we don’t deserve without having to do all the work for it. Since we are envious that they have put in the work, we try to make their accomplishments seem less significant. It’s sick, isn’t it? There will always be “nay-sayers” in your life. They will tell you that your idea has a “one-in-a-million (or billion)” chance of succeeding. They will tell you “it’s already been tried.” They will say to you that you won’t be able to support yourself on that kind of a job, it’s a “tough row to hoe,” “you can’t have your head in the clouds,” or “you’re a dreamer.” No matter the saying or advice, nay-sayers are people who want to keep you back. They aren’t for you. They don’t care if you succeed or fail. They really aren’t that interested in you or your success at all. In fact, their demeaning comments are really just for themselves. What they are really saying out loud is “I’m fine the way I am, and it’s easier not to try things.” They tell themselves, “If I can convince myself that not trying something risky is actually smarter, then I can stay right where I am and not have to endure embarrassment or disappointment if I try and then fail.” You see, for nay-sayers and others who give you bad advice, they couldn’t care any less for you than they already do. They don’t care about you; they only care about themselves. It’s foolish to even give their words a second thought. On the other hand, those who do really care for you, go ecstatic when you are successful. They love your ideas. They root you on! They laugh and get excited when you laugh and get excited about something great happening in your life. These people think of you and your success as their own success. They imagine how happy they would be if this plan, idea, or success story was their own, and in turn, they feel elated for you because it is happening to you. These are the people who love you. Sometimes, even those who have your best interest in mind can sound like a nay-sayer, but they aren’t. People who are truly on your side may feel the need to caution you on a plan or idea that may actually bring you harm. Remember, love must also protect – and aggressively at that. The mother bear will not let a predator harm her cubs no matter how much the cubs are foolhardy in thinking they’ve gained a new playmate. Love rejoices and it protects, but it is never self-serving or envious. Know from whom you are getting advice. “Consider the source,” as they say. A simple question will help you know instantly if the one giving you advice is a nay-sayer or a self-serving individual: “Do you love me?” You’ll […]