Moments of Clarity
July 11th, 2017 marks an important anniversary of one of many moments of clarity.
Fifteen years ago, I was riding my Bianchi touring bicycle on a club ride and I collided with a 1996 Toyota Corolla where our combined speeds exceeded 50 miles per hour. I wrote about how this was a blessing in my post A Near Fatal Bicycle Accident Was Actually a Mammoth Gift.
I call this event a moment of clarity.
We live our lives looking at the world through filters. Those filters protect us and keep us safe. They also keep us from truly understanding ourselves and what we really want in life.It is immediately after these major events that the filters come down and we really understand what is important to us.
These events include:
- Job losses
- Job changes
- Medical emergencies
- Natural disasters
Hopefully, you get what I am saying. Every time there is joy or pain in our lives the filters come down for a short time. The problem is they go back up very fast.
Learning from Moments of Clarity
Much can be learned by reflecting back on moments of clarity. Do you remember when things seemed so obvious?
I spent five days in a trauma center with broken ribs, broken hip, torn ligaments in a knee and a dislocated shoulder. Nothing more. No internal injuries and no head trauma. Yes, I was wearing a helmet. I was walking on crutches in three days, back on a bicycle in 10 weeks and traveling internationally for business in 4 months.
Life was very clear after that event. I was home with my teenage son who was preparing to head off to college for the first time. We had a lot of great discussions that summer.
- You are going to college. You can eat like crap or eat healthily. It is your choice!
- Your first college roommate will likely not be your best buddy. However, you will need to respect each other’s privacy.
Four years later, after he graduated and was home for a few months, I learned that he had listened! All of you who have dealt with an 18-year-old know that when you talk to them you have no idea what sticks!
As it turns out that accident was a blessing because I got to spend that summer home with my son to have those great discussions.
According to Wikipedia a Walkabout historically refers to a rite of passage during which Indigenous male Australians would undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to 16, and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.
Have you taken a walkabout?
I wrote about a client of mine who did exactly that in my post, Baby Boomer Walkabout – A Moment of Clarity. He bought an Amtrak rail pass and spent a month roaming the country after a layoff.
What he discovered was all he really needed was good food, good coffee, a place to sleep and to workout.
Most times when our career is interrupted by a resource action, redundancy, reduction in force (RIF) or any other name HR can think of that means “layoff,” we are given the opportunity to have one or more moments of clarity.
I wrote about my client Susan in the post, Moment of Clarity – Fending Off a Layoff, on how a layoff allowed her to heal and get rehired.
Susan learned the following:
- She never wanted that kind of stress again. She gave too much of herself to the job—to her own detriment.
- She found a path that she wanted to take. It was her choice!
- People respected her and wanted to work with her!
- Her new position could be short-lived, but that did not matter. She had a clear path.
That layoff was actually a good thing!
What have you learned from moments of clarity?
We have all had moments of clarity in our lives. You just need to go back and harvest what you learned.
Try to reflect back on a time when something major happened in a good way. Maybe it was being accepted to your university or the birth of a child or getting that big award at work or … You get the point.
What did you learn?
Now reflect back on a time when something major happened in a bad way. Maybe a serious illness in your family or death in the family or car accident or a layoff or … You get the point.
What did you learn?
Take your time and do not rush the exercise.
What did you learn about yourself?Marc Miller