Chasing Inspiration

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Mire of Uncertainty

I'm starting to get back in the swing of things after my blogging hiatus. I've been thinking a lot about my friends who work for the company that will not be named and are facing lay-offs. It's hard to move forward when you don't know what the future holds. None of really do know the future but when times appear stable and secure we feel we have control over what will occur tomorrow, next week, even next year. When life tosses in chaos and ambiguity, we can be thrown off our game. That has happened to me more times than I care to count. And I have panicked. I'm learning to step back and not give head to my emotions.

My provocative thought for today has to do with living in the mire of the unknown.

Og Mandino, an American essayist, stated:
 If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will thin of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions.
 He also said:
Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence. 
 I'm reminded by these quotes that while we don't have total control of the future with it's mire and muck, we do have control over our reactions and our thinking. We can think ourselves into panic and anxiety or we can master our emotions and move forward.

Which reality you live is up to you.

I'm not going to lie and say it is easy, but I believe God looks down on us with favor and that when we live within that favor we find peace and rest and can master our emotions. If you don't believe in God, I think you can still find that refuge from turmoil. It's in the choices you make and the realization that you are valuable and you have purpose and meaning.

Which reality will you choose?

I hope my friends who are feeling this very real uncertainty can find some peace this weekend. I hope they can reflect on their successes and know that regardless of whether they have a job at this company come next week or not there is something special waiting for them. I also hope they know they have support. When we live in uncertainty we often feel we are alone. We're not. This is the time to take stock of who is there to support us emotionally, socially, economically and even spiritually.

Who do we know who can help with job leads and establishing ourselves professionally? Who can commiserate with us in our time of loss and need? Who can kick us in the pants when we need to stop living in our emotion and start looking at action? Who can hold walk the road with us in understanding and compassion? Who can remind us of our successes and meaning and celebrate with us?

No, we're not alone. And we don't have to stay stuck in the mire.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

 I worked for a great education company from 2002 through 2008 when I was laid off due to restructuring. I learned a lot while I worked there, made a lot of friends and grew as both a person and a professional. At the time I was laid off I took the change philosophically and knew there would be additional opportunities for me ahead. To be honest, I had been trying to move out of my role as project manager into a role that was more training and coaching oriented so the lay off meant the world was my playground.

I landed a new job about three months after the lay-off (and about 3 weeks after my last severance payment). The end of my tenure at this great company was truly a blessing. I know others were impacted differently and didn't see the blessing this end could be. As I talk to people who were laid off at the same time I was, they all seem to be in better places. Blessings.

I just learned today that this same company is reducing it's workforce by 8% and that this 8% will come from support staff. This means people I worked with are going to be impacted. I haven't heard yet if any of my colleagues are going to be saying good-bye to their jobs but I'm sure some of the people I know will be leaving this company and not by choice.

It's always hard to have a job taken away. The most difficult thing for me was knowing that it could take a long time to find new work. That lack of security touched me in a deep place. I am a woman who values security. The exercise in losing my job taught me that security doesn't come from a steady paycheck. It comes from doing work you are passionate about and surrounding yourself with people who love and support you. It comes from planning for emergencies when the times are good so you have a cushion when the times aren't quite what you were hoping for. It comes from faith. I have faith in my family and faith in God. Other people have faith in other things. Faith gives us hope.

I'm really glad I was laid off back in November of 2008. I found a lot of blessings through what could have been a devastating event.  Those same blessings may have come to pass if I hadn't been laid off, who knows. All I know is that today I have a stronger sense of who I am and what I want to do when I grow up. I found I had more support than I ever dreamed. I learned I was stronger than I thought I was. And I lived out the lessen that when one door closes another opens.

I pray for my former colleagues who are living in uncertainty and perhaps will lose their jobs due to this work force reduction (what a civil way to describe a lay-off).  I hope the world offers them blessings they would not otherwise have without this life event. If I've learned only one thing in my life it is this - even in the darkest moments there is something good and right waiting just within grasp. All I have to do is reach out and grab it.

My gratitudes for today:
  1. I'm thankful for the people in my life who lift me up when I can't raise my own head far enough out of the mire to see the opportunities for myself.
  2. I'm thankful my husband and I took Financial Peace University before I was laid off because we had the forethought to build an emergency fund - something we continue to build to this day.
  3. I'm thankful I was able to reconnect with my creative side and that the story I've been working on off and on for years has finally bloomed in my mind. Now, to make the time to write it down...
  4. I'm thankful I have a great boss who takes the time to know me and my goals and is supportive and encouraging. 
  5. I'm thankful that I'm starting to see the gift in all of life's moments. I'm not there yet, but I can start to see those gifts more clearly than I could in the past.