By Mary Ann Faremouth,
The third step of the Faremouth Method is “Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.” I think this year we all can agree that we felt more like we were “shoved out of our comfort zone” with the many changes to our personal and work world. We are all trying to get our balance and reorient ourselves to the “new normal” and become a new version of who we are that serves us well going forward. My new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, will be released soon, and is a step-by-step process, guiding you through your own realignment, discovering your goals personally and professionally, as you re-define yourself after this very difficult year we have all experienced.
As I reflect on the year 2020, I think we all have had to do a lot of adjusting. Many people have lost jobs, have had to work remotely, and essentially not been able to live life as we have known it, forcing us to adapt to an uncomfortable lifestyle. As the year winds down, and Christmas and the new year is just around the corner, I remember an Italian tradition, “The Feast of the Seven Fishes,” that my family has always celebrated. It just might have some interesting parallels and lessons for our current times. This time of year also seems to make many of us reflect on loved ones who might not be with us this year for various reasons, including COVID-19. We are especially reminded of those who provided meaningful memories which may have shaped a significant part in our life journey.
For me, that special someone was my loving grandmother, Mimi, who had to do a lot of “Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone” during her life. Living through the Depression, losing her first husband in a mine accident and becoming a single parent before she reached the age of 20, and a daughter dying at a young age, etc., she had many hardships to endure. As I reflect on my dear grandmother who lived next door to me growing up, I recognize how her many challenges and sacrifices taught me about her strength, determination, and richness of spirit that I hold so dear. She seemed to always make the most of what she had and knew how to “reinvent the wheel” during very revolutionary times, to serve and give back to her family, friends, and loved ones. Her role in my life was so significant that I have dedicated my new workbook to her.
I grew up in an Italian American household and fish was a big part of our Christmas Eve festivities. This custom is sometimes known as the Feast of Seven Fishes and is often believed to have been brought over from the old country. There are many theories as to where this tradition originated and why, but I think the symbolism offers many good lessons for all.
A 2008 article in the New York Times by Maria Laurino, “In 7 Fish (More or Less), a Holiday Tradition,” lays out plenty of theories as to what the seven fish stand for; the seven sacraments of the Catholic church, seven hills of Rome, etc. The number seven is one of the most significant in the biblical teachings and scholars say it denotes completeness or perfection.
A fish symbolizes fertility, feelings, creativity, rebirth, good luck, transformation, health, abundance, serenity, happiness, strength, endurance, etc. Connecting us with the water element, it represents the deeper awareness of the unconsciousness or higher self.
What really matters isn’t where the tradition came from, but the time families spend preparing and consuming their traditional holiday meals. I remember my grandmother cooking and baking for days, preparing for that special celebration when the whole family would gather in her basement to enjoy coming together with food and spirit. A couple of years ago on Christmas Eve at my cousin’s home in Detroit, my sons were amazed at the table which seemed almost a mile long displaying so many different fish dishes. It was a wonderful celebration with much sharing, laughter, and good food. Traditions are a way to bring people together and share in their faith, hope, spirituality, and continuity. It reminds us of where we have come from, our journey, and where we are going. That same tradition breeds reinvention as we begin new cycles in our life. It is also a time where we add more skill sets to our toolbox as we approach the New Work World of 2021.
My grandmother, Mimi, found a way to cultivate her own rebirth, reinvention, transformation, and richness of spirit, despite many hardships. I clearly remember her telling me that the “baccala,” which was really salted cod fish and relatively affordable for Southern Italians, many of whom were peasants, would have been included in holiday meals. Baccala was a symbol of the tough times she had endured and how we can all overcome adversity and turn our experience of lack into one where we learn to give to others and be grateful for what we have.
As we near the end of this challenging and unpredictable year, it’s important for us to focus upon what we can anticipate. We are approaching a time of hope and the belief that not only will situations improve but will become far better than what we had. It’s necessary for us to take steps to reinvent ourselves towards our career and personal goals, where we can overcome challenges and achieve what we desire. During this difficult year, I have designed a workbook to help you complete your own cycle of reinvention to enrich your life by identifying what it is you truly want to achieve. To keep in line with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, let’s take a sneak peak of what’s inside and give you seven areas that the workbook mentions that you may ponder this holiday season as you prepare for a brighter 2021:
- How can you investigate a method to give you a methodical step-by-step formula to get into alignment in the New Work World?
- Make a list of your greatest skills. What are you terrific at? Problem solving? Innovating?
- Have you investigated any on-line training programs to strengthen or diversify your skills?
- List four simple, healthy steps you could take this week, even if super small, to move in the direction with the job and career you want.
- If you are a very social person and the ideal job you would like is now one that may require you to work from home, how could you have a sense of community around you without being with others in an office?
- If you have ever been on a hunt for something important to you, how did getting out front and taking the lead make you feel?
- What are some of the ways YOU want to “give back” to your industry, your community, or your society?
Let this season with its many beautiful gifts of spirit and sharing with family be a reminder to believe you can foster your own reinvention post-COVID-19 and transform your own life into one of meaning and beauty. The beginning of anything, including a new year, is planting seeds for reinvention and for intended growth. Let this time of the new year begin your own new cycle for opportunity and working your own plan.
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.