The Great Realization and New Found Clarity
Many of you are waking up in 2021 to what people are calling the ‘great realization’ and are finding new clarity in your life and career. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed most of us out of our comfort zones and we are finding clarity in our lives.
I have written about this before as moments of clarity.
I learned of this term from Jeffrey Shaw of the Self Employed Life podcast who I interviewed on my podcast this week.
If you google “The Great Realization” or “The Great Realisation” you will find the following video:
Have you experienced the great realization yet?
Let me tell you a few stories of some members of the Career Pivot community. Some of the great realizations are quite small (although incredibly important) while others are life-changing.
The Need to See People Smile
Samual started a snack food business in 2019 after he sold his franchised healthcare business a year earlier. His wife works for the federal government which provides health insurance coverage.
After trying to make his healthy snack food out of commercial kitchens he moved back to make it in his home. This would restrict him from selling it in places like convenience stores, grocery stores, or even online. He could sell it at farmer’s markets, festivals, and other informal markets.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything shut down. In late spring, farmer’s markets came back along with a number of other markets. What he noticed was everyone was masked up and were in a hurry to get in and out. His great realization moment was when he realized he could not see people smile.
Customers would not dwell and nibble on his samples and converse with him. More importantly, he could not see their facial expressions. It was those facial expressions that brought him some real joy.
I advised him to go to his local small business development center and get some help working on his business and not in his business. They are helping him find contract food manufacturers who can produce the product. This will allow him to get the product into commercial stores and sell it online.
What he most looks forward to is returning to the farmer’s markets when they are mask-free. The great realization for Samual was those personal interactions and seeing people smile is what brings him joy.
The Need for Purpose
Mandy, after being laid off in 2017 in her late 50s, decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in public health. She managed to get the state where she lived to fund most of the degree. After graduation, she moved across the country to be near her adult daughter and joined FoodCorps which is a part of the AmeriCorps Service Network. While she was teaching healthy eating habits in a rural elementary school, the pandemic hit.
She finished the school year remotely and developed a YouTube channel with help from her daughter who is in the entertainment business.
The Beginning of the Great Realization
Mandy then pivoted to becoming a contact tracer. She saw this as her entree into public health and was hired by a large county administration. This was a huge eye-opener for her in so many ways.
- Having worked on massive projects in her previous career as a project manager she was amazed at the inefficiencies in how contact tracing was implemented. As I said, welcome to working for the government.
- The contact tracing work was quite an eye-opening experience. She was reaching out to large multi-generational households where many did not speak English or were not comfortable discussing this topic in English. She was able to get a translator on the phone with her to help in these situations.
- Many of these people just wanted to talk and calls would often last up to an hour. Once COVID had infected one member of the family it infected everyone.
Mandy became a much better listener. She could really empathize with the people she was calling and the isolation they felt. This was a different world and looking back at 2020 with 20-20 glasses she had grown as a person.
When mass vaccinations started in her area she was reassigned to work at a mass vaccination center. She decided she would work just long enough to get her vaccination and she was done.
The Great Realization
When Mandy had a “career” she rarely took time off for herself. It was always about her career, money, and the needs of other people. Now she was dealing with a mother in hospice and was right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enough was enough.
She realized that she still wanted to work and be an asset to society. She just did not want to participate in jobs or organizations that did not align with who she was. This was a truly a great realization moment. It was also life-altering.
She wants a purpose in her life but on her own terms. This was no longer negotiable.
She is taking time off to be with her mother and spending time figuring out what is next. We discussed in one of our mastermind calls how she is free of “stuff” and how freeing that is.
This is a time of letting go and focusing on herself, her happiness, and her purpose in life.
Looking Back at the Year 2020 with 20-20 Vision
When I look back at 2020, it was a difficult but life-changing experience.
As for me, I am healthier now both mentally and physically than I was at the beginning of 2020. I have let go of some major mental baggage as my wife and I focused on developing our personal community.
With the help of Zoom, yoga has become a regular part of my life. Hiking and biking have become a routine again. I am also seeing my chiropractor every other week, a practice I discontinued when we moved to Mexico. My physical health is better than it has been in years.
We dealt with adversities like my wife getting infected with COVID-19. Fortunately, it was a mild case but the healthcare here in Mexico is so much easier to deal with.
When I look back at 2020 with 20-20 glasses I am better off in so many ways because I decided to focus on what is important for me and let go of a lot of baggage.
When you look at the year 2020, what did you learn?
What did you change about yourself and your life based on what you have learned?