All for (N)One and (N)One for All??

download 4This old adage from the Three Musketeers is not heard anymore.  It reminds me of the old story of the Knights of the Round Table.  (Here’s a quick reference from Wiki)

The Knights of the Round Table were characters in the legends about King Arthur. They were the best knights in King Arthur’s kingdom, and lived in King Arthur’s castle, Camelot. They were called the Knights of the Round Table because of a special table that was in Camelot, that was round instead of rectangular. This meant that everyone who sat around it was seen as equal.

Everyone was equal?  What a concept!  Today its all about me.  We even have a site called “aboutme.com”.  Full disclosure, I very much enjoy that site and it is a good calling card when job searching and putting information out there for people to really get to know you beyond the CV that they digitally read. What happened in the last 20 years that has turned us into selfish untrusting humans.

When I deal with humans (not all humans, I’m generalizing here) that are from the 55+ era, there is an air of unselfishness.  They offer help without strings, they listen first without judging, they offer hard work with integrity.  There is an overall idea that it is all for one and one for all. Now a days when you go to the bank for a mortgage they run you through their credit machine like you are applying for a job at CSIS!  We have had several mortgages over the years and been with the same bank for 25 years and have never had one drop of an issue and they treated us like we were first time home buyers.  Now, I realize that the purse strings have tightened because of the mortgage crises in the US, but there is a thing called humanity that should factor into the process.  Our lovely mortgage and financial advisor (who is half my age) had to apologize and agree that the rules were somewhat unnecessary but she was bound by the rules to follow them to a tee.

When I recently tried to return a purchase to a national Canadian retailer, I had provided all that they needed to make a return and still they didn’t believe what I was saying.  There had to be a Manager called in to verify that there was no box involved in the large garden water fountain that I was returning.  Like I could have smuggled out that thing in my purse and made up a fake receipt.

When did this ME generation start?  Is it going to get worse before it gets better?  I shutter to think about when this selfish culture will peak and what it will look like.  Will we start to turn on our families?  If you have attended some pre-funeral get-to-gether’s you will know what I’m talking about. 😉

Like Mr. Jackson said, take a look in the mirror and make that change.  I know that I won’t be able to change anyone else’s mind so I may as well start with my very tiny part in the universe and practice un-selfishness everyday.  Let’s call it the EVERYONE STOP THINKING OF THEMSELVES FIRST generation (ok, that might need some work)……

Who’s with me!!!!!

” From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”

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Connie is Going to Stop Selling Herself Short

Job Search: The act of searching for employment. A job search is performed when an individual is either unemployed or dissatisfied with their current position.

Have you ever been “laid off” from a job? And by “laid off” I mean fired?

So many people in this Alberta economy are facing cut-backs or outright loss of jobs.  When you find yourself in this situation it seems like there is a natural progression of emotions or steps like in the greaving process.  I’m not sure that they follow the same process, in fact I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.  While I didn’t get laid-off or fired, I did quit my job in anticipation of moving to another town and down sizing.  I would imagine, and correct me if I’m wrong here, that the job search process is the same whether you quit or get fired.  Here’s where I am at so far……

First – Excitement and Anticipation

Suddenly you hear things like “when one door closes another door opens”.  You start off in the world with the biggest exhale that you have had in a very long time.  You get to sleep in without the alarm waking you up.  All is blissful with the anticipation of all the exciting opportunities coming your way.  You are bound for bigger and better things.

Second – Realization

After the rose colour glasses start to get harder and harder to see through, I find you enter the reality check phase.  There are jobs out there that you are qualified to do, but you applied for 42 of them and haven’t got an interview or even an email reply saying that they got your application!  There is also the realization that you aren’t as young and experienced that you thought you were.  Sure you have skills, talents and experience but so does everyone else?  You believed all the people who told you that everything would work out and that you were bound for greatness.

Third – Panic and Regret

Then comes the next phase and hopefully you don’t stay in this phase too long as it could become WAY too comfortable to wallow in all the negativity that is coming out of the second phase.  This is where, after you have had only two interviews in two months and the person running you through the proverbial interview cog is half your age, you know you are settling in very well to panic and regret.  They start asking you things like where would you like to be in 5 years? and what’s your biggest weakness?  What happened to exciting opportunities falling into my lap because I am so awesome?  You scour the internet on the typical job sites you have bookmarked, checking them daily and sometimes more than that hoping to see something change, something that looks promising, something that you can apply for and feel excited about the prospect. Its like an addiction that you are waiting for that hit to get a high!

You also start to panic because it has been months and lets face it, the finances that you enjoyed before, seem to be dwindling faster than you had anticipated.  Maybe you should lower your expectations, take that retail job, apply for the local burger joint specialist – hold-on…..hope you can even get that job?  Maybe I should have not quit my job without getting a new one all lined up.  Like I said, PANIC.

Fourth – Self Awareness and Faith

As you pass through panic, it forces you to take an inventory.  You tell yourself to breath and step away from the crazy person who is clicking and reformatting her resume for the hundreth time.

What got me into the fourth stage was an article I happened to run across while on linkedin.  It was tweeted by Liz Ryan (who I now follow on twitter cuz she’s awesome).  It was called “How David Learned to Stop Selling Himself Short”.  I don’t know what lead me to follow that concept, but I’m glad I did.  It talked about how David was stuck in Stage Three.  How he had his Opera AHA moment and applied it in real life.   I was inspired.  I let it sink in, and decided that Connie was Going to Stop Selling Herself Short.

It was also then that I realized what I had gone through and was heading towards Faith and that it would all work out.  Being a woman of Faith, I had been relying too much on my own strength.  Worrying about the future instead of living in the present.   Such a hard thing to do when we go through major life changes.

As almost all my social media sites state “A work in progress”.  I think this is a step towards progress tango-face-wink-hi

 Lessons Learned on the Not So Dusty Trail

trailpic3

On a recent hike of self discovery and trying to find my zen, I was trekking through the private trails near my home. I don’t venture through these trails too often, much less on a hot sunny day.  On the way up the trails is when I found a lesson.

Going down the trail is easy.  You get some momentum going down and you are always looking forward, enjoying the scenery, realizing you have a very tough trek back but more focused on the ease of your journey and enjoying your surroundings.  You get to your destination fairly easily and reap the benefits of a beautiful view, water sounds lulling you back into the recesses of your mind, and birds completing your experience taking you to another level of peace.  It is quiet. You sit, start to pray and try to open your mind to hear or feel a solution to what you are going through.  You feel the sun, you hear the silence and I don’t get any epiphanies.   Oh well, got some exercise, so at least I don’t have to feel guilty about that today!  Now the realization of the path to the top starts to set in.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not Kilimanjaro or anything, but when you are 40 pounds overweight, coming up to your 50th birthday and no athlete, well, it can feel like quite a “mountain” to climb. I start off at a decent pace as my dog pulls ahead. As the incline increases, so does my heart rate, breathing and my perspective. The top looks waaaay far away!

I decide to stop before I get too winded, too tired and too hot.  I pick a landmark to shoot for and start to focus on the small goal.  When I get to my interval point, I take a look back.  Wow, look at where I was!  I look back and feel proud that I reached my small goal. Now, to look forward.  Where will my next goal be.  Take a moment to catch my breath and slow my pounding heart – rejuvenate physically. Upward I go.

It was on my next pit stop that I realized that climbing up and down this trail had metaphors for life that just couldn’t be ignored.I don’t know what gave me perspective that day, but I found it.  My prayers had not been answered in the easy time or the quiet time, but in the tough time.

Going down the trail was like doing something that was easy or trend setting or even peer pressure related.  Down I went, momentum taking me down and the pleasurable sites blurring any idea of how hard it would be to make my way out.  It was easy, satisfying and required very little work.

Getting to the bottom was also easy.  I had reached my goal and was looking for my reward – my answers to life questions.  I didn’t even enjoy the sun and silence! Instead I was looking too far and only at my problems ahead instead of enjoying the moment.

When I stopped, I realized that the best path in life is the one that requires work, dedication, physical health, goal setting, gratitude, and letting the past go and focus on the goals in front of you.  It means you take a look at where you’ve been and appreciate your accomplishments.

How many times do you look back and criticize your choices and feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.  You think the road ahead is way too hard and you just can’t make it.  Do you push yourself to carry on without giving yourself time to reconnect spiritually and physically recover?  You forge ahead to reach your goal no matter what the cost.  I know I have.

Focusing on your mistakes and how you got there isn’t going to get you to your next interval on the life trail.  Beating yourself up about your mistakes isn’t going to motivate you to take on the next challenges on your life trail, its only going to make you afraid to move and you won’t reach the top.  Not giving yourself time to recover from the hard road is being too hard on yourself.  Love yourself enough to be kind to yourself and let yourself recover so that you can be stronger to continue.  It doesn’t matter that you took a stop – it doesn’t make you a weak person, it makes you loving, intelligent and human.  You will make it to the top and it’s not about how fast you get there, it will still happen and life will continue to happen.  You can get to the top ragged, torn and alone or you can get to the top healthy, whole and supported. Either way you will get there.

How will you choose to trek through your life’s trails?

Hello world!

conniesawatzky_1431965628_85 This is my very first post.  Hello world!

I am new at this, but find it interesting to share some of my world.  Good and bad, funny and sad.  I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and most people who know me will confirm this.

Please feel free to comment on anything I write.

AND….if you do visit, please leave me a “hello” back.