|Photo courtesy of Patterson Maker as pinned on Pinterest.com|
I woke up and I knew immediately I had an option. I could either start my list of dread, or say a prayer, look past the meeting I was dreading, and focus on the awesome opportunities the rest of the day was going to present. I chose the latter and found myself three hours later in that meeting and doing the same thing. Saying a prayer, listening, and occasionally checking out. I had to check out so that I could regroup and then stay present. What was being said was painful yet evident of what I concluded some weeks ago “Not ready for change.”
I coached myself through the meeting, smiling and nodding, consistently taking the blame, consistently offering ways I would change and do better. “Play the game.” I told myself. It had come to that two weeks ago. Today was no exception. And then, while I was still mentally suiting up in my “Yes woman/ be a pushover” suit I was suddenly (although I am thinking one of those prayers got through) reminded that I am a counselor. “You’re a counselor” I told myself, mentally undressing from the “yes woman/be a pushover” uniform. “I am a counselor” I whispered when they looked down at the list of complaints. The last thing I wanted them to think was I was not meeting their needs and crazy.
I know I know. You have heard my gripe about not being a counselor in the past. Blah Blah Blah. But it was in that moment that as I shifted my weight trying to get comfortable in an uncomfortable situation, I realized that I really am.
|Photo courtesy of Contact Music.com|
Counselors are change makers. Period. They work with people, people who (outside of mandated counseling) recognize their need to change as well as their desire to change. Translation- I am someone who knows when people are ready to change and when people aren’t ready for change. I know when I am working harder than the person or people who say they want to change, when to have frank conversation about being stagnant, and when to call it quits. I knew in that meeting no matter how much I acquiesced it really didn’t matter because the reality was, they weren’t ready for change.
I finished the meeting and so desperately wanted to call someone back east. But I knew that if I did I’d just sob and two people who speak sob (can understand my muddled words between tears, a clogged nasal passage, and gasps for air) were working and probably wouldn’t be able to answer their phone anyway. So I pulled myself together and reminded myself over and over again “I am a counselor. I know change and when people are not ready to change.”
It took a half an hour and a walk to the coffee shop before things subsided and instead of feeling sad and pitiful I felt empowered. I was the one who had studied and practiced influencing change, understanding change, empowering people to change, working with people for years to create the changes they desired, and calling out the people who weren’t ready to change. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about being a team player and compromise. However, that requires reciprocity and change. I got the message that they weren’t ready for change.
|Photo courtesy of Hannah Sandrowski as pinned on Pinterest.com|
Here’s the other amazing thing about knowing I am a counselor aka a change maker, I am fully aware that I have limits and can’t change anyone. People change themselves and I can drop some knowledge as to how to facilitate that but that’s all I got. If a person or entity does not desire change then there’s not much I can do to change that. Change is a choice. Change is work.
I reveled in my newish revelation of who I am. I also laughed. Oh, and texted on of my friends who speaks sob. They also laughed. Well they sent an “lol”. It was so empowering for me and offered great insight for how to work better with the persons in the meeting as well as some others that I knew weren’t ready for change. A burden had been lifted!
In all honestly it should have felt that way. It absolutely positively should have felt like a burden had been lifted. Whenever we aren’t being who we are it does feel different and usually heavy It’s often draining and limiting. Whenever we get the courage to be who we really are, it feels lighter, freer, and energizing, at least to me it does.
|Photo courtesy of Michelle Mioduszewski as pinned on Pinterest.com|
It’s been a couple of weeks since I got the memo regarding who I am and didn’t dismiss it. It’s honestly changed my approach to so many things and has really helped me use my energy and resources much more efficiently. It’s helped me adjust my expectations, work with current predicaments, understand what’s temporary and tolerable, what’s not temporary or sustainable, and helped assess my boundaries, tightening up some and loosening others.
The transition continues to be a challenge. Yet, what’s been most helpful recently in navigating those challenges has been knowing who I am. I am a counselor. I am a change maker. I am someone who skilfully and happily helps those who are ready to create change.
What about you? Who are you and how are you using who you know yourself to be to navigate changes and challenges?