I Took a Sabbatical

September 30, 2014

I took a sabbatical from blogging. Actually, I never quit writing. I just quit posting.

My Journal

“We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” – Cecil Day Lewis

When I began blogging more than half a decade ago, I gave myself permission to post when I had something to share, and to refrain when I did not. That has worked well for me. Now that I’ve returned to blogging, I’ll still adhere to that rule.

I often write my unedited thoughts in a private journal where they can incubate. Journaling helps me to sort things out, especially during times of transition and confusion. At least ninety percent of my writing is done only for me. I write to understand, and therefore I’m usually the exclusive audience. Although I am a professional communicator, only a small fraction of my writing is shared with others.

In a noisy, cluttered world, we sometimes need to be comfortable with our own solitude and silence. In a fast-paced society that demands immediate results and constant production, we sometimes need to stop and catch our breath.

We need sabbaticals to replenish our energy. We need downtime to incubate ideas. We need periods of silence to nourish creativity that would otherwise wither in the arid atmosphere that permeates where we live and work.

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More Wisdom for Life’s Transitions

October 22, 2009
  1. The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything.  Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences…The world doesn’t fear a new idea.  It can pigeon-hole any idea.  But it can’t pigeon-hole a real new experience. D.H. Lawrence
  2. Every path to a new understanding begins in confusion. Mason Cooley
  3. The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster. Rosabeth Moss Cantor
  4. When things reach maturity, they decay of themselves. Lao Tzu
  5. Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you…Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition. Florida Scott-Maxwell Read the rest of this entry »

Wisdom for Life’s Transitions

October 20, 2009
  1. Most people do not resist change. What we resist is transition. Change is a situational shift. Transition, on the other hand, is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either. William Bridges
  2. Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood. Henry Miller
  3. There is a time for departure, even when there’s no certain place to go. Tennessee Williams
  4. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Anonymous
  5. The door into life generally opens behind us, and a hand is put forth which draws us in backwards. George MacDonald Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Meaning in a Job Search

October 15, 2009

In outplacement I once met a displaced executive who was very angry after being let go from his previous job. He had been treated unfairly and was so consumed with anger that he was unable to get on with his life.

To help him regain his balance, he’d met several times with his priest who said, “You must to get to the point where you can pray for your former boss.”

One morning my new-found friend boasted that he was finally able to pray for the one who had done him wrong. “Every morning,” he said, “I pray that my former boss will get run over by a bus.”

After a good laugh, we both agreed that wasn’t what his priest had in mind. What he needed was to forgive and then move on without hoping for revenge.

When I’ve been in transition, I’ve tried to find the purpose and meaning within the circumstances. Even though things usually seemed confusing at the time, I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason. I’ve learned that if I’m patient, somewhere down the road understanding will come.

The biblical story of Joseph tells how he was treated unfairly, punished unjustly and then forgotten. It must have been a lonely, painful and confusing time, but it was not wasted time. Joseph sorted things out and later, after achieving great career success, said to those who had wronged him, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”

Somewhere, embedded in your circumstances, you can find meaning. Somehow, even when you’re in a free fall, you can discover opportunities to learn and to grow. Heroes are made in the midst of strange and uncertain times. Be a hero.


Questions I Asked Myself During a Career Transition

September 3, 2009

Everyone approaches a job search differently. Several years ago when I lost my job as a marketing professional, I looked at my career transition as a marketing opportunity.

I had watched others in similar circumstances as they obsessed on finding the right answers. I took the opposite approach. Rather than seeking answers, I began by asking myself a series of questions, recalling the wise words of James Thurber who once said, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

Only after developing what I felt were the right questions did I begin wrestling with the answers. The questions were incredibly easy to ask but excruciatingly difficult to answer. To my amazement, however, this turned into a most insightful and even invigorating process. I’ll share with you the questions, but first let me explain my process.

For a couple hours each day, I went to a local coffee shop and found a secluded table where I could engage myself in a private conversation. I left my laptop at home because I wanted to drill deeper. I used an old-fashioned method of communicating—handwriting on blank sheets of paper. I purchased a leather-bound book containing only blank pages and on the first page I wrote the title:  Journal for the Journey—A personal assessment, a scrapbook of ideas, and a map for navigating an important career transition.

Read the rest of this entry »


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