Failure & Success

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In one of my classes at school, we are developing our portfolios to get us ready to go out into the “real” world and get ourselves hired at our dream job – or, at least, that’s what we’re all dreaming about. Unfortunately, we keep getting told time and again that getting hired in your dream position straight out the gate is an unhealthy and unwise hope. “Ya gotta put in the sweat, first,” they all keep saying.

I actually get why they keep telling us that. I do. My massage therapy instructors did the same sort of preparatory “un-pep” talk with us about what we would discover outside the hallowed halls of the institution of education. It’s probably true of every career that requires any sort of education commitment to develop the skills necessary to be good (or licensed) at the profession. Rare is it that you hear of anyone in any field landing their dream job from the get go.

I intend to break that mold.

Mostly because… I don’t want a job or a career. I want my purpose! I want my passion! And, what I know at this time is my passion and my purpose are one. I am passionate about serving humanity through my gifts of healing, writing, and artfully designing. I’ve experienced how that all comes together in me… it was a sad way to learn it – through Kelsey’s, Garrett’s, and Sage’s deaths – but that is when I truly saw the power of who I am and of what I am capable.

In light of that, this portfolio development class has really been a stretch for me because it doesn’t feel like I fit in there. I’m already working for several amazing clients and have a few more that are coming out of the woodwork on a daily basis. It’s incredible to watch and I believe it is because I have fully committed to passionately living my purpose. I’m terrified to be solely freelance, truthfully, and, yet, there is a part of me – a very strong and powerful part of me – that knows that there is no other way for what I am meant to do.

I’ve shared my vision with my professor of this class and he is behind me. He sees what I see and is helping me to bring it into reality. I’m grateful for his guidance, wisdom, and experience. In class today, as the frequent practice in this particular course, we had a guest speaker who is a creative director. He was there to critique our portfolios and offer direction and hints.

In the beginning, I experienced this man as… I don’t know how else to say this… arrogant and condescending. His energy and mine were in complete conflict and, eventually, I knew I needed to leave the space. It was a complete “no” for me to have him even talk to me, let alone have him look at my stuff and offer critique.

I packed up my stuff and quietly snuck out of the room, fully intending on leaving for the day. Instead, I went to the bathroom. Something was bugging me. In the bathroom, I asked myself, “What is bugging me the most about him? Why am I bothered?”

For me, I was experiencing him as borderline abusive. His words were cutting and harsh. And I was experiencing as “grandstanding” for the class. I felt uncomfortable for the people whose work he was looking at. I felt uncomfortable in the space. I was fully aware that all of this was about me and my experience of him was also about me. So I took a few deep breaths and checked in with myself, asking, “Is it for my highest good for me to leave right now?”

I really wanted the answer to be “yes.” It wasn’t. So, I looked in the mirror and really studied myself, reminding me that this man was out in the field and had been so for about 2 decades. He was experienced. He had vital information for me, I just had to get passed how the message was being delivered to hear the truth. Then I returned to the classroom.

I gave myself permission to keep my stuff packed up. I chose to release myself from having him look at anything I have done or offer feedback. I chose to simply listen to what he was saying. Because I had released myself from showing him anything, I no longer felt threatened by his approach. Suddenly, his feedback got very juicy, friendly, and beneficial. The students and he developed a collaborative energy and he became playful. In the space that I was in at that point, I was able to hear the real messages he was delivering.

Suddenly, everything he said became useful and I found myself actually wanting his feedback. After everyone left the class, I had the opportunity to go one-on-one for a few minutes with him and the professor. This guest speaker focused solely on me, gave me excellent pointers for the project he looked at, offered excellent ideas for how to build my portfolio for the class, interacted directly with me, and it was amazing!

His feedback and that of my professor’s was priceless and will turn my work into an even better version of the already perfected version of what I presented. However, the miracle of the situation was this…

No one in that space changed, but me! I chose to get really clear with myself, set myself some definite boundaries, and give myself the space to listen without the looming prospect of his “attack” on my work. *I* changed my filter because I chose to get clear with where *I* was and because I made this choice, a situation that had been uncomfortable and one which I had wanted desperately to escape became a learning, growing situation. Not all situations deserve another chance, but this one definitely did.

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