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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Return to Sender

It’s not my way, but I forwarded one of those chain email questionnaires the other day. I don’t usually, but this one was quick and easy, came from a dear friend and seemed painless enough. So first off, to those of you who received it and didn’t appreciate it, I humbly apologize. That said; I’m moving on.

The email asked for answers to four questions and encouraged me to return a reply to the sender, in addition to forwarding it on. As result of doing so I’ve been receiving responses for the last few days. At the end of the short questionnaire, there was a testimonial that intrigued me the first time I saw it. Now that the email has come back to me multiple times, it has given me pause for thought.

“It’s not what you are that holds you back. It’s what you think that you are not.”

In the essence of full disclosure, the quote is apparently by Denis Waitley, who, a quick Google search tells me is the author of The Psychology of Success and The Psychology of Winning, neither of which I have read or heard of before today. I may or may not pick up a copy of one of those books. However, the phrase resonated with me, and I was fascinated even before looking up the author.

The statement floated into my brain as I checked myself in the mirror this morning prior to leaving for my weekly appointment with the career counselor. Each time I take the trip to the outplacement office I cast aside the blue jeans and ragged sweaters that have become my new uniform and I put on my old “work” clothes. This morning it was my grey cashmere fly-away cardigan over a black lace camisole, with tailored grey pants and leather boots. As I stared at myself in the full length mirror, the reflection gazing back looked familiar, but as if I was viewing an acquaintance from long ago, though a tunnel of distance and place. How many times over the years have I, similarly dressed, taken a last look in that mirror, fluffed my hair, twisted an earring, and straightened my blouse? Today though, it crossed my mind that the person in those clothes is not who I am anymore. Or more clearly, I am something in addition to that individual now.

Yes, I retain the same skills as that smartly dressed woman. In the words of my evolving employment biography, I am a still a business professional with strengths in writing, communication, leadership and recruitment. But now, I am also this. I am a blue jean wearing blog writer, providing networking assistance to former business associates--a walker who listens to my friends and offers solid support and guidance. And, I’m a person in the process of whittling my priorities before launching my own networking efforts, so as to distinguish my best career options.

In the words of our spinach eating friend, Popeye: "I yam what I yam." It’s a journey of discovery though, to peel back the layers of what I thought I was not, in order to expose what I’m sure I can be.

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