Doing the things I'm really good at is the dream

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I've been having conversations with family members over the holidays about life and what's been going on here in Ottawa with the Wilson crew. Some have been a little out of the loop because I've had some big changes that came with big time commitments and I haven't been good about keeping them up to date. (Fortunately, they're forgiving folks.)

The discussions I've had all led to questions about how I'm feeling about my current employment situation. I get accused of having a lot of jobs. If I included every single one on my resume (even the now irrelevant ones), yes, it would be a lengthy list. But I've stayed for as long as 6 years in one position. Also, I'm 40 and I work in tech, so "lifers" aren't that common. That said, I like to think about the future and how I want my career to look 2-5 years down the road. That's my version of pursuing the dream.

My favorite football team (okay, the only one I ever actually pay any attention to) just got a new coach. I found out that he's had some criticism that this is his third job in a year. No doubt, for a football coach, that's unusual. But then I found out that he said FSU has been his dream job. (He even wanted to play at FSU, but they didn't pursue him.)

For me, the narrative of that story changed completely as soon as I found out how much Willie Taggart wanted to be part of the FSU football program. He's been a class act since day one on the job and he led the team to another bowl game victory so they could finish out the season with a winning record - 41 years in a row, baby! He's off to a great start.

I can relate to what he's done. I started a job in August 2016 that I really loved. "Writer" became my professional title, not just a label I applied to myself. The role had potential to grow in ways I was excited about. And I was having a great time doing interesting work and getting valuable experience. When changes happened in that situation this past summer, I really struggled with the loss of all that potential growth - I just didn't see how I could take the next steps in my career in that company.

The struggle eventually led me to shift my thinking and look at my situation objectively. First of all, I couldn't let my discouragement about the changes poison my day-to-day work. So, I let that shiz go as much as possible. Sometimes it was a minute-by-minute choice. Then I had to figure out what I really wanted. A good friend helped me plan how I could take action to find the right next step for me. That was the point when I started seriously opening my mind to possibilities.

The next opportunity came along within weeks. The potential growth I was seeking with the job I took in 2016? That became a reality in 2017, though not at the place or with the people I thought it would happen. But that's okay, because it's so much better to be in the right place at the right time in the right role than to be loyal to something that doesn't work for you.

I'm good at building. I assess, make observations, figure out a plan, and execute. I love the intensity as you figure out what works and what doesn't. I don't even mind occasional late nights putting out fires. But I want to know that the end result of what I'm doing is valuable and appreciated. I want to be challenged and learn as I work. And I found a role that lets me write while I expand into other areas that I'm good at as well. So, I'm ridiculously excited about the future.

Looking back on 2017, it was a year of big changes. For me, for my little world, for all of us. If 2018 goes like 2017 has, it's gonna be a really fantastic year. Bring it on.

Day 05 - Something you hope to do in your life.

Photo Credit: Kym Shumsky (Relishing.ca)It’s such a small thing - this thing I want to do. But it has eluded me for 15 years.

I want to sing in a wedding.

I was even asked - twice. I’ll never forget the first time.

After receiving an invitation to a friend’s wedding in 2000 that I didn’t really feel right about attending (long story), she called the week of the wedding and I felt terrible so I said I would go. I had no reason not to.

I sat at a table with a group of people who were once close friends of mine. My life path went in a different direction and though we parted ways gradually and without malice, I felt awkward nonetheless. I didn’t know what to say to them anymore.

One of the group was at an adjacent table with his fiancée. She was a little older than he was and had three kids - he was only 25 or 26, so there were eye brows raised more than once as conversation flowed. This was my first time meeting her, seeing them as a couple. My friend (I’ll call him Tim) apparently told his fiancée (I’ll call her Tina) that he used to sing duets with me and was complimentary of my abilities. So, without hearing me sing, she came over and asked me to sing in their wedding. 

I was thrilled! It was out-of-the-blue, totally unexpected and completely flattering to me that she asked. I happily gave her my number and she said she would call.

That was in September.

I happened to see Tim come into the retail store that I worked nights in November - roughly two months later. He saw me too and came over to say hello. Though my phone had never rung with the call from him or Tina, he also didn’t mention the invitation to sing. He did mention that his wedding was taking place on the coming Saturday (news to me).

So, not only was I not invited to sing at his wedding any longer, I was also not invited to the wedding. 

Ouch.

I’m not totally sure why I was excluded, though it may have had something to do with that long story I mentioned earlier. Either way, it was disappointing. It hurt, but mostly I was just excited to get to sing at a wedding.

My second invitation to sing was when I was supposed to sing at my brother’s wedding, but we were having some technical difficulties prior to the ceremony. I misread the cue from the guy handling them (he said it was working and to go ahead - I thought he said it wasn’t working) so I didn’t sing even though everything was all ready for me to belt it out. That was disappointing for me and my brother, who’d genuinely wanted me to sing for his wedding.

Maybe one day I’ll get to sing at a wedding, but I’ll need to start doing some warm-ups soon. I’m so far out of practice, it’ll likely take me years to catch up. Maybe I can be ready by the time Brandon’s ready to get married. ;)

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This post is all about truth - Day 5 of my 30 Days of Truth. I’m not the only one, so here are others if you’re interested in getting to know other bloggers.