Thursday, May 22, 2008

Finding Sanity in the Chaos..

So..wonder where I have been? I have too...It has been a personal journey of chaos..The words written here tonight are of a very personal nature; not at all the typical musings I write about professional angst and change...but for those scratching their head, wondering, or saying "I don't understand", or simply "why"? perhaps this will enlighten you..thank god I have had preceptors of a strong nature to guide me..Tackling personal growth and change is something advisable and recommended..but I don't think we can every predict or anticipate the end result of that journey...

In our intellect we think we know and can predict the outcomes of our personal growth plan with a sane rational perspective.. but even the best sense of intellect cannot predict the emotional result of growth..Until we have gone through the growth, the pain, the agony, we never truly know the cost and change personal growth will bring into not only our lives; but the lives whom we touch...Planning for the end result with precision execution; will still net results unknown..We are after all humans...

So my journey into personal growth...some of you have watched and wondered..some have cheered, others have watched in trepidation...Let me assure you that while the pain is still fresh in some areas; and I am feeling very vulnerable about many things; the end result has been beyond life has clarity..I know what I want...I know what I need...and I am now capable of working on both, knowing that life is worth living and I have purpose...

Curious about how this happened?

About 4 years ago I was given two opportunities..One to become a member of a group of women on a personal growth/learning journey..(I call in group awakening, or personal development and learning in a shared female spirit based journey). The other was a job taken at a facility far from the comfort of my small town roots; away from my friends and supportive cocoon of people who I loved and trusted..

About 6 months into the group development I had a moment of clarity...It happened over a sinkful of dirty dishes...I was learning about who I was as a female leader..what motivated me; what drove me to do the things I did..Who I was as a person to my staff and peers...not all good, but an open honest learning/critical analysis of what kind of leader/peer I was...and what in my personal life/development had gotten me to that point in my personality and life..As I stood and washed those dishes, I realized that while my professional side was developing, my personal life was not fulfilling and supportive of the professional side..would it ever fill the tool box necessary to keep up the pace of what I saw as my future and who I really wanted to become in the next 25 years of my life?

Panic attack aside, the reality of what my life looked like thru the new lens I had placed on it scared the hell out of me...I was a then 36 year old female with a great career ahead of her; but at home my life was a very different scenario..I was married; dealing with the empty nest at an age when my peers were becoming parents; a husband whose career was a rigid patterned choice; and not alterable from my view..and the marital relationship lacked any sense of good communication or support for either of us..we both lacked the tools or experience necessary to be a team.. Knowing the wall I was up against at home I had to make choices..should I stay and try to make my career needs work with the marital needs? If so how would that work and look? Could I stop my passive/aggressive form of communication in the marriage and if so how?

Looking back, I realize that my strength of character was only strong enough to work on the professional side of growth..The personal relationship side had eroded into a scenario that I felt was hopeless and given the fact that I felt very alone and not supported in the need to find growth for the relationship, I avoided doing the work alone.. Believe me when I say, I did place several well positioned warning shots across the bow of the marital boat to say "hey, we need to work on this", "it is not good"...the warning shots went unheard and ignored...

Fast forward to the climax of the story...(always the best part..) About two years into my growth journey I was given the opportunity to return to my previous job setting..back to my friends and community! The building was in a storming of transition..people who were key players were jumping ship, chaos, negativity and blame were being placed..people were crazily team was falling apart..and I too was falling apart at home...Professionally I was growing, I had started to gain some self confidence, my insight into the behavior of others was developing and I was starting to get the rhythm..but my people needed me; and I needed to be close to home..I felt the need to give it one more go by...Looking forward I felt the need to do right by this group of people..getting them to channel energy forward facing would put them in a position no other facility could touch..they got it..they made the job easy, they just needed a kick in the butt, and some tlc...I got a do over...this time with open communication and learning for me, and for them...

I loved the year I spent was a transition and opportunity to learn/guide and give like no other..Opening communication to them and taking it from them taught me so much..but it also gave me the insight and clarity to realize that while I loved the opportunity; that this journey would be a short one.

My personal life was disintegrating..I take blame for my more, no less..My personal growth, and self awareness had opened me to realize that my marital relationship would not grow beyond where it was stuck...despite any effort of work, the issues were beyond repair, and my personal goals no longer fit into the mold of the rigid vision my spouse had of his life...So, I told him...pivotal point in any story..the telling...the hurt, the anger... Just post the "I want out" conversation, an opportunity arises..I can move jobs..change...try out the wings on a new challenge...So I leave...thinking perhaps we can try to make it work...Spent one week working away from home, living in a suitcase...The reality of my emotion and making peace with what I felt hit me..I needed to move my life beyond my past..What had been given to me was an opportunity of completeness..Those who know me know that completing a project from start to finish is a struggle..I revel in the change, the idea and the thoughts..but the finishing sucks the life out of me at times...I sat in my hotel room; recognizing that completing the end...getting the relationship to the ending point was in my hands, and I had to finish this task...So, I did...hence where my head and heart have been for the past 6 months..

It has been a has hurt. I have lost friends and family. The negative, hateful words we both spewed...oh so not good...trying to maintain a professional level of work, while dealing with the personal angst in my life...has pushed my sanity envelope at times...shredded any sense of self right to the very core of my being...I have put 10 years of living into 6 months..trying to figure out who I was and what I really needed personally to support the professional need..

But I now know what I am about..who I am...I am me...professionally, I know my strengths and weaknesses. I can now recognize what I have to offer...what I have to give, and what I can expect from those whom I serve and work with..I get the tasks...I get the vision...and to achieve and complete both, I have come to recognize who and what I need from my personal life to fill that tool basket. It has occurred to me that to be truly successful as a leader, it is not as simple as having the skills alone; it is the support and nurturing of those you surround yourself with that make you feel complete and right in your role as leader.. Simply put it is having that person or persons in your corner who get what you need on a personal level to make the professional side that much better..

It is the banter and communication of far fetched ideas and outlandish venting without judgment or sarcasm...It is the simplicity of having a true ear that listens, absorbs and supports...It is the shoulder rub and dinner served on a crazy, horrific day...It is the giving back when spontaneous support comes your way unexpectedly..It is appreciating the gifts of self others give you..It is recognizing that simple gestures and kind words repair and heal better then any purchased superficiality..

So my journey has taken me thus far..I am on the healing side of change..both personally and professionally. I am seeking sanity amidst the chaos of the change I instituted..knowing that the future holds a very different picture..but one where I have the ability to fill my tool basket with the emotional support and nurturing necessary to lead and create change..