I am a life coach, but this is not my first chosen profession. Heck, it’s not even my second, which is not to say that it isn’t the best for me, which it is…. oh boy. This may get complicated, but NOT confusing. A little mini bio for you.
When I finished college with my bright shiny liberal arts degree (more like Nittany blue and shiny), I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do to support myself. To be honest, I’m not even sure I had any idea what I wanted to study while there. I knew what I didn’t want, and that helps, but it’s a big world and you can’t get where you want to be just through the process of elimination. I guess you can if you want, but man that’s a slow process.
I tried lots of things. I played music (although never copped to being a pro even when I WAS being paid). I worked as a temp in all kinds of places. I did vaguely administrative jobs for several government contractors. I spent some time in California, where it turns out one can temp nearly as easily, but with far less profit after paying for life, as one can in Maryland. Eventually I worked as an Environmental Policy Analyst and a Systems Operations Analyst -titles which bore little to no similarity to the tasks I actually performed. I returned to school for a Master’s and returned to the workforce in the garb, and with a state of Maryland certificate, of a teacher. I taught. I taught in a rural high school. I taught in a wealthy suburb. I took a break for another Master’s degree (why have just one?) I taught in the inner city. I taught, and I loved a lot of it. But it sucked the life out of me. I got sick in the least dramatic most chronic way. Completely drained. Bone dry. Nothing left.
When I became pregnant with twins, I noted with some relief that the cost of childcare for two would make my salary only relevant to the point of grabbing the carry out food we would need to buy every night if I were to continue to teach. And so began my time as a stay at home Mom. And so began the storytelling.
As I stayed home, my description of my career path resembled what you’d expect to hear from a not very nice distant relative. I decided I’d wasted a lot of time. I decided that I was flaky because I had changed jobs so many times at this age. I decided that I was completely incapable of making this decision for myself because look at what a mess I made before. I decided that I was confused about who I was or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I decided a lot. what I was sure of was that I was confused.
As I began to feel a desire to return to work, and as the kids got old enough for that to make some financial sense, I sought help for my confusion. And I worked at it. And I learned SO much about myself. And then I got some training, and learned more. And it seems now, in retrospect, that the most important thing I learned was that my confusion was a lie. In fact, I’d say that whole time that I was searching for the “right job,” I clung to some notion of confusion about who I wanted to be, and that THAT confusion was a lie too. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to do (and that answer still might have changed over time), it was that the things that I wanted to do were things that I deemed out of reach. They were not realistic; they were too hard; they were not responsible; they were not achievable; they were not suitable; this could be a long list so I’ll stop here. My claim of confusion was masking a thousand stories that kept me from pursuing the things that I most wanted to do, stories that kept me from considering everything that might have been desirable, worth stretching possibility for.
My confusion was a lie. My claim of confusion kept me paralyzed. I considered all kinds of possibilities while I was home with my kids, but couldn’t seem to take necessary steps forward for any of them. As I neared the beginning of any endeavor, I’d be consumed with self-doubt, with fear, with forbidding, and with “confusion.” It was all a lie that kept me safe in my little status quo, “I’m okay and that’s enough… right? Right…” The day I sought help to sort through my confusion, is the day it started to diminish.
Maybe your confusion is real, but I think it’s possible a lot of us use confusion as cover. It’s a cover for fear, for hiding and playing small, and for not facing what we really really want. Keep it if you want. I’m big into covers and blankets when I’m cold… but I have to tell you, the air’s pretty sweet out here, out in the place where you get to be all of you. You can do it a little at a time. Just stick a toe out. Ask yourself if you really are confused or if you’re just afraid – okay, that’s a big toe, but it doesn’t mean you have to do ANYTHING. If you think maybe, just maybe you want to get rid of that cover or you’d like someone there with you while you stick a toe out, give me a call, I can help (240-367-9730).