I am such a fan of people’s stories.
A huge fan. And not just of the final product, but of the whole ongoing process: the passion, the struggles, the discernment, the adventure of a new path, the satisfaction of recommitting to a routine or activity that brings comfort. But I’m finding that folks often apologize for the process…for leaving their original passion, for floundering before finding the new avenue.
Quite frankly? Those messy moments are so very telling. I am also a HUGE fan of those creative messes.
I remember being called into a meeting at my HVAC job, where my bosses quite generously offered me an opportunity to advance to their sales team. I had no real knowledge of the business, had a limited background in the science and technology behind the product, and while I enjoyed the office and the challenge of educating myself about widgets and airflow and humidity (and also learning to RTFM) I was pretty sure that I didn’t belong there. But I really didn’t know what I wanted to do…so I stammered my way out of the meeting, letting them know how flattered I was to be considered. I slept on it, and shortly thereafter tendered my resignation to finish my teaching certificate.
It was a messy situation, a snap decision, but ultimately it was the right thing.
Do I regret my widget days? Not at all – I learned how to function in a linear, masculine office, figure things out on my own before asking (and to also not be ashamed when I needed to ask), and speak my mind plainly and clearly. But I also didn’t realize that my (wholly unformed)dreams didn’t jive with my circumstance until my bosses showed a willingness to invest in me. It was a catalyst, a get-off-your-butt-and-make-a-choice moment.
I’ve referenced Danielle LaPorte before, but this posting is a theme that I think bears repeating:
You don’t need to burn the dock to push off your boat.
You don’t need to dis’ how you’ve done things in order to do things differently.
There’s no need to criticize the past to validate the future.
But we do.
She goes on to say that honoring the path that got us to -or even past – the messy part is a vital part of our own story. And I would heartily agree.
Celebrate the mess, my friends!