By Mary Ann Faremouth,
Everyone goes through changes in their lives, whether it be dealing with a totally new experience like a pandemic, losing a job, entering, or leaving a relationship, aging, retirement, being an empty nester, or parenthood. The only constant in life is change. Some of us embrace disruption easier than others. When this happens, we find ourselves wondering how to start over and make the best of new and unfamiliar circumstances. This is exactly what happened this week in Houston, Texas, where I live. It seemed like Alaska sent ice, snow, and frigid temperatures to this state, known for its warm climate. We experienced a loss of power and water due to the extreme cold which Texas is not familiar with. It was a big adjustment to deal with such icy-cold conditions. I’m a Midwestern gal where snow and cold are not strangers to me but not having heat and water is not easy for anyone.
When our lives are interrupted, we naturally ask ourselves some deep questions to gain understanding and clarity while seeking answers. The Second Step of the Faremouth Method is, “Ask Better Questions,” and I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Interestingly enough, often I find that serendipity steps in to provide a message to what I am pondering in a round-about way. This past week, I got into my car, turned the radio on as I began my dangerous quest to the grocery store to get more water. A song came on the radio by the great country western singer, Chris Stapleton, entitled “Starting Over.” I believe this song to be about change and getting a fresh new re-birth. The message of these particular lyrics spoke to me as they carried me to a place of understanding which may have far-reaching application.
As a career consultant for over 30 years, my job is to help people deal with endings and new beginnings. You would think I would be a pro at this by now with all the significant curveballs I’ve experienced both personally and professionally. After the week I had just had, this song really seemed to speak to me and filled me with comfort and healing. If you are experiencing an alteration in your career or life, this song might offer some helpful tips to you as well. Let’s consider a few ideas using this song that might provide some hope and inspiration!
1. Seek Out a New Perspective
When we are dealing with change, it’s helpful to get away from our familiar surroundings and take a step back to gain a fresh perspective on just what our limitations really are. On the surface, identify what prevents you from doing something. If you dig deeper, those same challenges are the things that keep you constrained in a repeated loop-like activity that doesn’t really advance or get you to where you want to go. That repetitious behavior keeps one stuck in the same position and unable to move toward greater success and happiness.
The song, “Starting Over,” starts off like this:
“Well the road rolls out like a welcome mat
To a better place than the one we’re at
And I ain’t got no kinda plan
But I’ve had all of this town I can stand
And I got friends out on the coast
We can jump in the water and see what floats
We’ve been savin’ for a rainy day
Let’s beat the storm and be on our way”
I’m not suggesting in this pandemic that we all go on a physical road trip. What if you went on a journey of self-exploration? There is so much we can learn about ourselves by digging deeper into our own psyche to find what resonates to create a better balance. Sometimes we just have to “jump in the water” and “see what floats.” We might be quite surprised to unearth something within ourselves that we disregarded or did not know existed. Things always work better when we have a plan rather than just winging it. Would a class or online training seminar, reading a good self-help book, or maybe even taking an assessment test, allow you to roll out your own welcome mat to take you to a better place?
2. Be Cognizant of the Challenges
Once you make the determination to shift your perspective and look at things in a new way, you can identify some of the challenges you might face as you learn to disconnect and plug back into your life. This might be similar to unplugging our modem and restarting to eliminate all of the mixed messages in our electronics. Distance and objectivity are essential for clarity. If we are able to find a space to look at things differently, we are then likely to see our way clear to new opportunity and capabilities.
Chris Stapleton goes on to say:
“This might not be an easy time
There’s rivers to cross and hills to climb
Some days we might fall apart
And some nights might feel cold and dark
But nobody wins afraid of losin’
And the hard roads are the ones worth choosin’
Someday we’ll look back and smile
And know it was worth every mile”
There is a tremendous value when we get to a point where we feel things can’t get worse in order to see how much better they can become. Those hard times we experience throughout our lives make us stronger and more resilient to get back up and push forward to create something new. Whatever you see as your challenges, write them down along with at least 4-5 possible solutions. Once you see that each problem has an answer, you will be able to put your mind at ease and become more comfortable with that change and create a plan to follow.
3. Invest in Your Future
By taking the time to invest your time and energy into your unique solutions, you can make your plans and goals a true reality. We would all like to wave the magic wand and have instant success appear. We all know it doesn’t work that way. We have to first imagine and visualize in order to create a positive end result. How much energy are you willing to put into creating your new life?
As the song goes:
“And it don’t matter to me
Wherever we are is where I wanna be
And Honey, for once in our life
Let’s take our chances and roll the dice
I can be your lucky penny, you can be my four-leaf clover
This last verse refers to partnership. We don’t need to feel alone. We need to look for other people going through similar things where we can bond together and come out stronger as a team, sharing like experiences. That old quote of “united we stand, divided we fall” is so true as we seek out others willing to extend a helping hand to meet our goals and get through difficult times.
There is always an element of risk involved. When I think of the reference of “four-leaf clover” and “luck” that Chris refers to in his inspirational song, I truly believe when we invest in our future, we make our own luck!!
Whatever your situation might be, it’s always possible to learn how to start over. We are not meant to be stagnant creatures but, instead, to be on an evolutionary journey to constantly better ourselves for a brighter tomorrow. Don’t become that older or retired person who let life pass them by because of fear of the unknown. You have the ability to live out all of your best days instead of looking back with regret. Don’t be restricted by self-imposed limitations. There are many avenues available for you to expand and grow. This recent week of bitter cold temperatures opened my eyes to the many things I still want to accomplish and experience. Our new class, “Navigating Your Career 101,” might be one of the many things you choose to invest in going forward. Shed the skin of where you have come from as you embrace new talents and potentials awakened by asking better questions of yourself. Be open to honesty with self to truly know who you are. There are many things nestled deep within you that you have disregarded or taken for granted that, now more than ever, need to be brought to your attention for a healthier balance to see the New World in a new light. It is never too late to hit that refresh button.
“Starting Over” might be an exciting journey filled with your own “four-leaf clover” like experiences as you make your own luck going forward! You can decide to make your 2021 come alive by making your own luck. Seek out new perspectives in spite of the challenges!
Mary Ann Faremouth
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, D.C., 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, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.