Tag Archives: career transition

The Wisdom of You

On my way into the supermarket yesterday, I ran into a friend whom I have not seen in eight months.  Masked, we nearly walked right by one another. Once we realized our error, we stood talking six feet apart while others slalomed around us with their carriages. Oddly, we had very little to say. Once we said our good-byes, I went inside feeling funny.  Was it sadness? Disappointment? Or something else?  Strength?  I turned to transition for some needed perspective. Days later, I am still surprised by where this reflection led me….

Safeway, San Francisco, CA

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You and This Moment

Have you seen yourself lately? Before you think you opened the wrong blog post, I want to be clear. I am not talking about your physical appearance nor am I am shaming you for the color of your roots or even for the pallor you’ve begun to exhibit after untold hours facilitating Zoom-athons for you and every member of your household. The glimpse I am referring to is something we might not regard in the normal course. It is a version of you that intersects with the pandemic in a unique way, one that reminds me that amidst the devastation of our time there may also be something powerful and profound.

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RBGs Invitation

RIP RBG. You left us at an unprecedented moment. We have a global pandemic, an increasingly dour economic outlook, deepening societal unrest, and a stark reminder that democracy is not a spectator sport.

Within all of that, I see you gazing in my direction with your slight frame, your tilted head, and knowing smile. You are imploring me to recognize something under the surface that no obituary or review of your jurisprudence captures. It is an invitation to see something important and to act.

Can you imagine what RBG is imploring us to see?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg courtesy of the LA Times

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Inspired by #goodtrouble

The late Congressman John Lewis, a towering advocate for equality in our nation, invited us all to get into ‘Good Trouble.’ To Lewis #goodtrouble involved three actions; living in concert with our beliefs, confronting people and systems that are misaligned with those beliefs, and working to make our beliefs a reality. The misalignment he fought permeated our society. It expressed itself in efforts to pass landmark Civil Rights legislation and in the insidious ordinary interactions among Americans that happen everyday. He and hosts of others made real progress. Yet, as the past weeks have illustrated, we have so much more work ahead of us.

How does misalignment express itself for you?

Misalignment is front and center in our experience of transition. Those who explore transition often do so because there is misalignment in their lives. It may express itself in the aftermath of a divorce that leaves you questioning who you are both in and out of that relationship. It may express itself in a job loss that leaves you wondering if getting back into that same field is really a way forward.  It may express itself in a pandemic that upends how you think about safety or about the expectations that have always guided your way.

My work in transition and the words of John Lewis both inspire us to address this misalignment in the same fashion. They both compel us to be seen for who we are and heard for what we believe in. #goodtrouble and transition invite us to  follow a path we’ve discussed many times before in this column, to be seen.

Are you willing to be seen for who you are?  Doing so may require you to step outside of the shield of expectations set by another or to come up with your own definition of success. #goodtrouble seems to be asking me if I am ready to be seen for who I am.

Are you?

An exercise for being seen

To make this real, try this exercise. Think for a moment about a piece of you that isn’t visible to others. It can be anything. It can be something tangible like your skill at flower arranging, or something less so, like your optimism or energy. Once you recognize something that isn’t often seen, ask yourself why this absence might be important? The answer to this question may surprise you. Very often it is this answer that helps us gain a better picture of what is in the way of our willingness to be seen. After completing the above steps, define a small activity related to being seen that you could practice this week. Take that step!

Borrowing From Lewis’s Playbook

As we turn up the volume on who we are, we have a decision to make. Will we act in concert with what we find there? For some this will be joining a demonstration. For others this will be sitting quietly next to a friend in need. The specifics of your action is not what matters here, what really counts is that you do something in line with who you are.

So many that I work with are quick to tell me, ‘of course, I’d love to act in concert with who I am – BUT I cannot because of huge piles of resistance I meet along the way.’ Resistance comes in many forms; an unsupportive spouse, a mortgage payment, a parent in failing health, uncertainty and so much more.

I don’t have the magical answer to neutralize your resistance. I do, however, embrace an image that Congressman Lewis put in my head. He said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  I interpret this simply: find a way to be you in spite of the resistance you meet.

Being seen is the beginning of a wonderful path. Few will line up the confetti guns and music to celebrate your journey down this road. However, it will be the most engaging and inspired path that you’ll ever be on. It is your path. You have to choose to take it. You won’t find your way there without such a choice. That choice starts by listening carefully to the misalignment you encounter and having the confidence to bring your own folding chair.

Godspeed Congressman Lewis.

Linda Rossetti (linda@LindaRossetti.com, remember 2 s’s and 2 t’s!)

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Interested in talking with others about our unsettled time and how to navigate it successfully?  Join me for Dishing on Disruption every Thursday evening at 7:00 – 7:45 pm eastern.  We talk, we laugh, we explore uncertainty and play with skill-building exercises from my extensive library of tools for transitioning. It is invaluable and free!

Details can be found here. Hope to see you!

Photo by Alin Luna on Unsplash

 

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Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Join me for Dishing on Disruption

Join me Thursday evenings for Dishing on Disruption, an informal interactive event featuring conversation, a little laughter and an exercise designed to help you navigate this unsettled time. I will pull the exercises from my extensive library of tools created for those wondering ‘how to’ walk forward into the uncertainty of transition.

I look forward to welcoming you Thursdays, 7:00 – 7:45 pm eastern, via Zoom for this free event. Details here.

Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

Signs of Spring

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Suspending Expectations

I laughed out loud the other day as I read the NY Times article, Giving In to Letting Go.  The piece was all silliness about ditching beauty routines given that we are all sequestered in our living rooms. High heels, make-up, manicures, hair dye, underwear, accessorizing, and blow dryers…all took it on the chin. There was an important message threaded amidst all this casting off. What do we do when expectations – in whatever form – are suspended?

Photo by Alysa Bajenaru on Unsplash

The article tried to answer that question. There was one woman who couldn’t let go entirely.  She quipped, ‘I still wear my lipstick!’  Another reveled in the freedom away from straightening irons and beauty parlor chairs.  Still another shared that her beauty regime was how she enacted her blackness, a fundamental piece of her identity.

The identity reference was strong. It was like a punch in the nose. What about expectations and who they allow us to be?

Expectations stand at the core of transitioning. A transition starts when we choose to decouple from expectations set for us by others. By families, by communities, by professions, by lovers, by friends. It is a courageous act that isn’t so much a leap but a pivot. We turn away only to turn up the volume on what is uniquely our own. Our own voice. Our own truth. In transitioning, we don’t eschew all that has been. We learn to feather it into our new direction, one fueled by all that we are capable of becoming.  Those who love us cheer at this pivot, many others stand bewildered.

Transition isn’t easy. It includes loss or sadness or grief.  Something. After all, in it we step away from things that held us in place.  We may begin by bending the boundaries of what we always thought was acceptable – like not wearing lipstick or skipping the SPF 50 moisturizer. These early steps may lead to bigger ones. We may reconsider what it means to be successful. What it means to love, or be loved.

You might ask, ‘Who in their right mind would take on all of this?’

That answer is easy.

Those who go there recognize transition’s unparalleled gifts. The gifts start appearing right from the get go. There are improvements in our well-being and positivity; there are contributions to our longevity, there are newly reset thoughts about success.  From my perch, the most extraordinary gift of all is capacity. Transition builds in us the capacity to grow into our fullest self. For this alone, I view it as an essential process in life.  One too few explore.  Transition gives us the currency to see what is in there with us and to celebrate! (Hopi Elder).

See if you can find a moment in the days ahead to recognize how it feels to suspend an expectation.  Is there one part of your life – like a beauty routine – that it emanates from? Wonder what that is telling you.

This pandemic – for all its loss and hardship and devastation – is unknowingly offering us a glimpse at something important. Thanks to it, we can dip our toe into the waters of suspending expectations.

May health, safety and security blanket you and all those around you. And, may you gain confidence from your ability to recognize who is in there with you…and celebrate.

Stay safe and well.   Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Three On-ramps to Choice

One thing is certain amidst the chaos in Washington and across the planet: you will need to choose sometime in this New Year, New Decade.  Transition has taught me the importance of making choices within a broader context. If we only focus on choosing between A and B, we can easily get distracted by choices that seem great but actually leave too much of our potential untapped. As I write that sentence, I hear in my mind the sock puppet from early pets.com commercials shouting, ‘the horror!’  The most important choices we can make have to do with our willingness to grow. Transition is the process we rely on to grow. Through it we gain access to unparalleled gifts.  They don’t come in a heart shaped box or wrapped in cellophane and ribbon. They are joy and peace and enlivenment and love.  How many of these words will describe your year, your decade?

First Encounter Beach, Eastham, MA

Last week I facilitated a discussion with an inspiring group of adult cancer survivors. Each had battled and won. Few knew that one of their battles wasn’t  over.  Choice. It was a fresh assault. One they would face all on their own.

Three voices have stayed with me long after our conversation about choice and transition and growth:

Gail couldn’t see choice.

She was agitated and intent on ‘getting herself back.’ Reaching with all her might to re-assemble, re-establish herself  ‘bc,’ before cancer. In her victory, she was learning to live with very real constraints, including unwelcome physical and cognitive side-effects from her treatment. Even though her constraints served as impediments to any immediate choices, Gail listened carefully as I reframed her options within the context of transition and growth. It was new for her to hear that the end wasn’t only regaining her physical functioning but that it was tied to her willingness to align her life with those things that held value and meaning to her.

Thomas wondered about choice.

He was a little farther down the post-recovery path than Gail. He had restored some physical functions that still hung in question for her. He was incredibly grateful for the new independence he had achieved. With that puff of wind in his sails, he had the space to be more thoughtful. He said, “I think about my life now like I am re-arranging my pantry shelves. I take a can and look at it. Do I want to put it back? Does it deserve space?”  Thomas went on, “I was always taught that pink was for girls and blue was for boys. Now I am thinking, ‘Is it?’ Does it have to be?”  His choices progressed to a new beginning; starting to question old assumptions, wondering how to factor them into his walk forward.

Alex was a believer in choice.

She was almost a decade into her recovery. She told us a powerful story that connected with everyone in the room. She said simply, “I transitioned.” After cancer gripped her, she was unable to continue working as a nurse. The physical demands of the job were too much. “I was angry and scared and felt forced into something new.” she said. “I took a turn I would never have considered, social work. Today, I barely connect to the me before my role as a social worker in adolescent health. It completes me. I am so thankful.”

Our discussion reminded me of something important: our readiness to choose is separate and apart from our need to understand transition. So many disruptions in life deposit us at an opportunity to choose. Some are life altering, like-surviving cancer, others are less so. All serve as invitations to grow. Those who choose transition, re-examine assumptions about ‘who we are’ and ‘how we make meaning in the world.’ We re-evaluate the cans we allow on our pantry shelves. The process serves as a ferry, it carries us safely through the requirements of growth. Growth can be costly. It takes courage and belief in ourselves.

I have learned one solid truth over the eight years I’ve worked in this field. Growth is the only way  – truly – to walk forward.  Is that a direction you are ready to choose?

Thank you for your kind words and continued support of my work. I hope that the New Year / New Decade is off to a wonderful start for you.  Since I missed the New Year’s holiday, here is a greeting for today – Valentine’s Day. It is taken from a poem entitled SONG that I recently discovered by the beat poet, Allen Ginsberg.

“The final wish is love.”

Linda Rossetti (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

 

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If you have a few minutes more, here are a few Valentine’s posts from the Novofemina archive:

Valentine’s Day and Transition: a common link

Creativity’s Role in Transition

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Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

 

Seeing You

Who sees you? You. Your essence. Your truth. I was reminded of being seen’s power during a recent exchange with my daughter.  She was introduced to being seen – only to have it taken away from her. Abruptly. Unexpectedly. The before and after contrast made me think about our last blog, A New Twist on Being Seen, and our willingness to let others see us.  Tell me, does anyone see you? Continue reading

Making Choices Matter

Choice is such a whopper of a topic. Isn’t it? How would you describe your relationship with choice? Do you err on the side of safety or throw caution to the wind? I’ve been thinking a lot about choices this summer thanks to a chance conversation. It happened when I was talking with an adult daughter of a friend at a lawn party earlier in June. She was excited about an upcoming move to LA and the start of a new job at a large law firm there. She had been in the public defender’s office in Dallas for a few years and was ready for a change. I was so curious about her decision.  That’s when she said something powerful about choice that sent me reeling…. Continue reading

Reaching

“It is unrealistic.” said my son to his long-time pediatrician. She was asking him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He’s fourteen. She reminded him that at last year’s physical he said, “I want to be a professional basketball player.”  I like her because she stops to ask him these questions. In spite of the cloying requirements of insurers that beg her to quickly move on, she lingers. Listens. Before saying anything more, he looked at me as if to say, ‘Should I tell her?’ Then he added calmly… 

Ring of Kerry, Ireland

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