How did I get here?

How did I get here? A post on disconnectionLila Duchesne was one of those people who didn’t remember her dreams.  She was unable to commiserate with her friend who couldn’t figure out why she kept on dreaming she was naked at work or join in dream analysis discussions with her colleagues.  She just fell asleep at night and woke up in the morning at her alarm’s insistent beeping with blankness in the hours between.  It didn’t use to be like this.   She used to have vivid dreams about flying and fantastical creatures.  She’d once had a philosophical conversation with a tree where she seemed on the cusp of understanding the meaning of life until the alarm dashed her hopes.  But in the middle of college, her dreams just stopped coming, and 20-odd years on, nothing had changed.   She was musing about this on her way to work because just last night her mother had reminded her that she used to have such a wild imagination when she was a child, always acting out little skits for ‘her audience’, making up songs about people and singing each person their own special song to make them feel better, and she used to draw out all her dreams, papering her room with the drawings.  Her mother had kept all the drawings as a reminder of her “little artist”.   Lila sighed and shook her head now, thinking that she should probably visit her parents.  It was obvious her mom was missing her.  All of a sudden, she felt an arm across her chest, pushing her back onto the sidewalk.

“Hey, Lila!  You almost walked in front of that bus!  Didn’t you see the light change?”  It was her co-worker, Steve.

“No.  Thanks for saving me.”  Lila was feeling a little shaken.  She was usually so cautious.

“Can you imagine if I hadn’t been late leaving my place today?  You’d be splattered on the front of the bus and the road too, probably.  I’d have to write your obituary.  ‘Lila Duchesne, 43 years old, a senior financial analyst with Fastech Industries, a Fortune 500 company, leaves behind her dog Samson, and …”

As Steve enthusiastically went on describing her life and death, Lila felt like she’d just done a sidestep, like, if this was a movie, everybody would be paused, and she’d be looking at herself from outside her body.  I’m 43 years old.  I’m a financial analyst.  How did I get here, how did I get to this life?  I’m Lila, the girl who could run faster than all of her friends, the girl who couldn’t wait to get up and see what adventures she could embark on.  What happened?

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When this happened to me, it wasn’t dramatic like Lila’s situation at all.  I can’t even remember what triggered it.  It was just a little shift and I thought to myself, I’m a software training team lead. I felt momentarily unreal; like I was reading about somebody else in a book.  It was rather neutral too.  I didn’t feel dismayed at the realization, so to speak, it was more like a quiet jolt. And wouldn’t it make a great blog post if I could say that was the moment I realized I wanted to do something else?  Nope. I shifted back into myself and continued working.  But, I do think that it was a catalyst to thinking about what was out there for me.

Have you ever had this happen to you?  Where you suddenly and temporarily had a bird’s-eye view of your life?

What realizations or home truths came about as a result?

If this hasn’t happened to you (or you’d like it to happen again in a more controlled fashion), what could you do to manufacture this shift process to gain knowledge about yourself?  I sometimes have daydreams about being interviewed on a talk show (doesn’t everybody?), and when I start talking about how I got to where I am or did what I did it gets me seriously thinking about why I made the life choices I did.  Other times, I’m watching a procedural and I wonder how I’d behave if I was being questioned in court.  How would I explain my actions?

Now it’s your turn.  Let me know your story in the comments!

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To tribe or not to tribe?

Lately, I’ve been running across a lot of articles about finding a tribe of people who are like-minded and will support you as well as help to hold you accountable for your business endeavours. On the one hand, I’m all for it. I’ve been feeling a little alone when it comes to starting my own service-based business. People seem much more accepting of my husband’s business, which is product-based. They’re a little more concerned about how I’ll build momentum, a little more worried about how I’ll increase my business. Some of their concern may have to do with people, especially my parents’ age, not knowing what a life coach is, unless they are in the field or a related industry (at least here in Canada). But, overall, it seems like if you aren’t doing a traditional service-based business (ex. doctor, dentist, massage therapist, hairstylist) or one that people at least recognize, then they aren’t ready to fully support you in your new endeavour.  It’s also quite the change for everyone around me, to see me go from working for corporations in one capacity or another to starting my own business, in a field that doesn’t quite sound real to them. Looking at it this way, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for me to get together with a group of people who understand me, know where I’m coming from, know what kinds of practical issues I’ll run into while starting a business, and who will help me, champion me, and be there through the good and bad. On top of that, so many successful people in my field whom I admire have a tribe, so it seems savvy from a business point of view too.

And yet, I hesitate.  I was quite shy as a child.  Once I got to know people, I made one or two good friends and was friendly to everyone else but not close.  As I grew older, I grew less shy, and understood that I was introverted.  I might be quiet until I felt comfortable, but after that, I would be my usual self.  I remember people being shocked by my sense of humour because they didn’t expect it from “sweet and quiet Sérene”.  Nowadays, I’m not shy, and most of the time, have no problems starting up conversations or joining in.  In fact, I’ve always equally liked being alone or with one or two good friends.  The thing is, I have those good friends in each of the different areas of my life –   work friends from the diverse companies for which I’ve worked, friends from my university days, and friends from here and there.  They all know some of the aspects of me I let everyone see, but, otherwise, each set knows different parts of me.  I’ve never had a ‘gang’ of friends.   A tribe would be the equivalent of a gang of friends.  Is that something I could handle?  It seems like this tribe would have to know my personal life as well as my professional life in order to understand me better and know when I’m self-sabotaging from fear of failure, or to help me figure out when I can actually handle taking my business to the next level.   Letting a group of people in wholeheartedly would be quite a significant step for me.

If I choose to go for it, do I actively look for this tribe or do I let it happen naturally?  Do I try to form my own group or join an existing one?  Which will be the harder thing to do?  Am I overthinking it?

As I try to figure out this tribe issue for myself, think about your tribe, if you have one.  It could be your book club, your gang of friends, or an official business group to which you belong.  Are you able to be vulnerable and get encouragement and support?  Do they help you with your goals and desires?  Does your tribe give you what you need?