By Mary Ann Faremouth,
It’s interesting how the affairs and events of the natural world, in addition to Covid-19, can make one stop in their tracks and become introspective and do much personal reflection. We have no control over the weather, the elements of the land, the oceans and Mother Nature. In the past few days, looking at the news and seeing the grand scale of human suffering from the ravaging wildfires in many areas of our country, has caused me to contemplate so many things. The storms and hurricanes that have hit so many of us lately have also caused extensive damage and human suffering. On a much smaller scale just this past week, a severe wind storm blew my own patio cover off it’s standing structure, leaving it bare. Luckily it can be fixed, but it was upsetting to see the wooden structure that my late husband built uncovered and all the boards exposed without its cover. Just a few weeks ago, we had a significant fire in my office building that caused the office to be closed for almost a week for repairs. My personal experiences with storm and fire challenges are minuscule compared to the tragic and devastating loss of what others are going through these days. The storms and fires many of us have experienced recently in the external world have had a reflective impact on our internal world as well. Storms and fires are experiences many of us have either heard about or been personally affected by recently. We can find the golden nugget of these experiences in how we learn and transform ourselves through these opportunities for meaningful growth. Just like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Ancient Greek symbol is a mythological bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. We, too, can obtain our own new life by rising from the ashes stronger, smarter and more powerful.
As a career consultant for over 25 years, my job has been to work with people who are trying to deal with the storms in their career world or to ignite a new fire, putting the old fires to rest and moving to a better place by getting into alignment with who they are or who they can be. The last several months with Covid-19, we have a new normal in the work world that needs to be taken seriously into account. When faced with job losses, fear of layoffs, furloughs or loss of income, the old ways of handling career planning just might not apply. Considering the human element in career counseling, in many cases when an applicant comes to me there is some type of internal fire burning that needs to be examined. There usually has been some type of internal storm that has caused them to seek career counseling. During these tough times it really can boil down to survival and putting food on the table. We need to evaluate many things to see if the timing is right to execute new burning desires or rekindle the flame inside to burn away all those masks, fears and ways of being that do not feed their soul, life passions and desires. When you are in alignment with your purpose, it’s like the gravel road that just got paved. All of a sudden, the fire of passion is lit and provides a new path to direct you. Knowing what makes your heart happy and then going out and doing it is a true game changer.
When you are mindful or thoughtful in regards to your purpose, it is similar to the way you would manage a campfire. There are many ways to get the fire kindled to start burning, but not all of the ways are good for you or the people around you. In these days especially, with this pandemic among us all and the environmental factors, including storms, fires, etc., that we may be experiencing, let’s look at how we can ask ourselves some meaningful questions to cope with our current situation and realize new ways that will enhance our growth in the work world for the benefit of ourselves and, more importantly, for the greater good of the world around us.
Sitting around the fire creates connection. Stories might be told as you sit around this virtual campfire. Creativity might be shared when we congregate in a group. That “campfire” might be a class on Zoom where you get to connect with others. Often those flames flicker magically and the virtual smoke might heat things up and stir something within. Allowing yourself to connect with others virtually builds a sense of community which is lacking these days. Ask yourself how you are building connection during these rather isolating times that might enhance your personal and professional growth. A quote I really like by Rachel Naomi Remen reminds me of this as she writes, “Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.” The connections we form during these challenging times might allow us to refine those tools in our toolkit and bring our enhanced skills to the New Work World to make a greater impact and meaningful contribution to our employer, co-workers, family and friends.
When I think of communication, I think about sharing ideas. It’s that pile of information that sits energetically between us. The pile might be made up of your beliefs, stories, thoughts, fears and even things you cannot find the courage to share. When you courageously share this pile of whatever it is, you are stepping into the fire and giving others permission to do the same. As we stand in this fire together the pile might be able to burn away as we honestly share our hopes, fears and desires during these tough times and feel more supported and empowered to move toward a better future. A quote I really like is by Paul J. Meyer, where he writes, “Communication, the human connection is the key to personal and career success.” I’ve heard many clients tell me an employee would have been able to be promoted if they had communicated their desires to the boss, expressed their desire to take on more projects, etc. I never hear the employers tell me that an employee was held back because of communicating ideas in a proper and respectful manner. It’s when they DON’T know how to communicate effectively that employers become unhappy and then call me to replace the employee. In all relationships, business, personal, love relationships, etc., effective communication is the key to keep the fire burning and stoking the coals so the fire doesn’t go out.
3. Being Fully Present
When you can shed your fears and your concerns you can become more connected to your true purpose. You can become more fully present to yourself and others. You may even be able to sit in harmony with a clear thought process and watch the beautiful flames dance inside of yourself. You will no longer be distracted by things that don’t serve you as they will have already been tossed into the fire. Others will feel you are being present as they join you around the campfire. My favorite author, Eckhart Tolle, writes, “The Fire of Suffering becomes the Light of Consciousness” and “The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” Whatever the storm is in your life right now, or the real or metaphorical Phoenix from the ashes experience you might be dealing with, make yourself fully present and know your journey will eventually lead you to a better and stronger place.
What you do for yourself, you are able to do for others. Take care and nurture the fire it will give you, and others will feel the warmth of the fire within you! Sheldon Kopp writes, “You only get to keep what you give away.” In my opinion, life isn’t about “Me.” It’s about “We.” When I work hard to make myself the very best version of myself, I can then share my gifts and talents with the world. It’s funny that it seems in those storms of our life that the fire within can really be ignited. You might look at the storm of your life and realize the gifts it is ultimately giving you.
The ravaging fires that are currently happening and the many harsh winds and storms that have recently hit so many are very serious and sad events. Let’s try to look at these external events and learn the internal lessons they may offer us through these tough times and apply those lessons to the New Work World. Let’s remember the mythological Phoenix and its resurrecting life lessons. We can all let the storms and fires in our life guide us to a new rebirth that can be an expansive journey. We seek to make an even greater contribution to the New Work World and the World at large. We are all emerging stronger than ever before and more in alignment with our true passions. Our alignment can now be better expressed as we make better choices walking through our personal storm. We are truly shaped by the challenges, struggles, and hardships we endure in life as we survive and learn from them.
Mary Ann Faremouth is the founder and CEO of Faremouth & Company and a highly regarded recruiter, career consultant, speaker and writer. She has been a placement specialist and a leader in the national recruiting community and has placed thousands of employees since 1982. She was the 2016 president of the Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group and is a board member of the NASPD (National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors) and Authors Marketing Guild. She specializes in recruitment of professional, clerical, and temporary placements, with a variety of industry specific positions in various fields. Her expertise is in matching quality applicants with the right job, serving companies ranging from thriving independents to global conglomerates, tailoring each engagement to the client’s needs.
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, DC, and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations in various other industries, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. She has a keen understanding of the marketplace and its specialized needs and requirements.
Mary Ann brings a wealth of expertise to clients looking for the right individual to maximize and empower their team. As a consultant she is available to assist both the applicant and the client to quickly adapt to the New Work World. She also offers virtual and in-person workshops to guide individuals through personalized self-discovery to find new career paths. She continues to build her affiliations with recognized leadership organizations to best serve her clients and applicants by creating a network of highly professional contacts throughout the world. She utilizes her platform as a writer and speaker through her articles and affiliations to reach those in need of help, offering hands-on guidance to navigate this uncharted territory. (More information on www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 of the Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction by Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books by Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019) by Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018) by Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, teaching them how to tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction as well as the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann also showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.