It’s clear from the many emails received that a lot of you are experiencing intense challenges. As we are all too well aware, these are unprecedented times. Let me begin by saying that you may feel stuck, feel alone, feel abandoned (you pick the label), but know this: you can overcome any unwanted feelings and overcome any obstacles once you set your mind to it. It may be tough. It may not be fun, but you can make it happen if you CHOOSE to do so. But you must choose. One of the very ironic things I have learned along the way is we are better able to CHOOSE when we show up for others. “Being there” emotionally and spiritually for someone unconditionally opens up many blessings. And those blessings are not just for the person you are helping, they bless you too!
Let me share a bit how this has worked for me in my business life and personal life. When I was writing my book, people would joke with me and say, “A headhunter writing about spiritual purposes? Are you kidding?” I guess it is rather odd in a sense. However, one of the very big mistakes people make in their careers and job search is compartmentalizing their work life. Your work life is not separate from your personal life even if Western society wants to tell us that. In fact, many of my clients came to me while I was a headhunter and come to me now as a career coach with their heads hanging low, dejected after being laid off or quitting jobs that were sucking the life blood out of them. In defining what they really want out of their new career, and with their own hard work, we are able to uncover what they really want from their work and their life. In many cases this results in helping them earn more money than they ever envisioned. By loving my work and them, I helped them find their true career passion. In many cases, this in turn opened up doors for them to spend more time with their family, send their children to a better school or to perform volunteer work in the community with that extra time. It pays it forward.
But the real Yin and Yang of it all, is that they helped me too. By assisting my clients in their career searches over the years it inspired me to write Lessons from a Headhunter with Heart. Writing a book was something I had always wanted to do. What a gift I received from them. See the magic?
Here’s another amazing example – more personal in nature. This summer, after much reflection and prayer, I ended a 5 year relationship/engagement. It was one of the more difficult things I have ever had to do. The decision was gut wrenchingly difficult for me because I loved his kids like my own, loved his family and loved him. From all outward appearances, everything looked like the fairytale we young women get socialized to believe in. You know the one. The handsome charming prince enters your life, the longed for “instant family,” love conquers all, right??? Not so. I was literally dying on the inside, unable to sleep, unable to write and in a huge values conflict. But, through the pain of the relationship ending it has produced endless spiritual growth, learning and new doors that would have never opened otherwise.
You see, out of the blue, Molly H., who knew me only as an acquaintance through my ex-fiancé, reached out to me in pure, loving kindness when I needed it most. And not to bash my ex or lament over “how there are no good men out there,” (neither of which I wanted to participate in), but to just be there for me unconditionally. She didn’t care if I chose to agree to reconcile or not. She just was there. It started with talks, then several walks and before I/we knew it, a new friendship was forming and new paths of creativity and support were being opened up for us BOTH. This was so because Molly, as with most realtors nowadays, has been affected by the slow real estate market. (BTW, she’s a sharp, trustworthy realtor if you need a Minnesota real estate agent: www.mollymnrealtor.com). I needed someone to help with my blog and market my book. Guess who has another income stream? Molly. Guess who now has a crackerjack marketing assistant who is helping me market my book, my blog and my website www.YoureNeverStuck.com? Patty. Guess whose client network is now expanding? Molly. Guess whose life in infinitely richer, more organized and full of laughter now? Patty.
So kindness begot more than just “kindness,” it brought real tangible results for both of us. It gives me goose bumps. Mind you, none of this would have happened if either one of us had said:
- I don’t have time.
- I’m staying out of it.
- That’s not my problem.
- I can’t relate to what she is going through (ie: – it’s too scary, it might happen to me)
- I’ve got my own set of problems to worry about.
The above comments and excuses for not loving another make me wish our schools taught kindness as part of the curriculum along with math, English and Economics. The Dalai Lama says, “Kindness is my religion.” How perfect. Find out more about the Dalai Lama at: www.dalailama.com. Kindness is pretty darn simple. Let’s not make it complicated folks.
Here is another great example: My writer friend Neal S. never misses a chance at helping others. He raises more and more money for inner city youth activity programs each and every year. He does it gracefully, tirelessly and with a true heart. He is not in it to pad his resume, gain accolades or climb social ladders. He just does it because he is a good citizen who wants to give back to his community. He’s so humble that he wouldn’t like it a bit that I am writing this, but doesn’t that speak volumes about his character and the kind of person this “blessing” others creates? After my blog last week I learned that he and his wife are helping a neighborhood kid whose mother is so strung out on cocaine that she could give a “rat’s you know what” whether her daughter makes it to school. So guess who is driving her? Yep, that would be Neal.
On the job/career/economy front, the latest jobs report statistics came out last week. Overall, another 95,000 jobs were lost in September, 2010 alone. Ouch! It seems like there is no end. But as Arianna Huffington points out in her fabulous blog, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/cando-entrepreneurs-move-_b_759184.html, “There are a whole group of entrepreneurs helping not only each other but helping others create a livelihood where no jobs exist.” Huffington points out that, “It’s easy to get cynical. But instead a group of “can-do” entrepreneurs are creating commerce and jobs for themselves and others.” She goes on to astutely say, “I love how human this movement is. It is fueled by technology, but at its core is the real person connecting to another person.” There we go folks real people blessing others. More magic.
So I leave you with this. Whether you help someone in a subtle way by “just being there” for that person as my friend Molly did with me, or perhaps more overtly by actively assisting another through volunteer work or giving career/networking advice when someone needs to hear it. I feel it’s our “job” to help others. How will YOU show up for another unconditionally? How about demonstrating your humanity toward one of the latest 95,000 newly unemployed friends, past co-workers, family members or members of your community who recently lost their jobs? Even if it is just to lend an ear, please do it.
I’d love to hear from you on this. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your personal story of how someone blessed you during a time of need or perhaps you blessed someone in need. I just might blog about you.
Patricia A. Comeford
Author, Lessons from a Headhunter with …Heart! (available at www.amazon.com)
CEO, YOU’RE NEVER STUCK, INC., WWW.YOURENEVERSTUCK.COM