Tag Archives: Self-Forgiveness

Day 19: Radical Forgiveness – Time to Create a Doorway?

draw a doorway

When I wrote my post on day 17, I mentioned that one thing I wanted to look at was my inability to make a decision about the direction in which I wanted to take my work.

I’ve been obsessing about the direction in which to take my business for years and as of today I still have no crystal clear direction to follow. On the other hand, I do have a few directions I’m clear I don’t want to follow and that’s progress.

Today I completed the Radical Self-Forgiveness to have more peace with myself and my lack of direction. It’s challenging not having a sense of what’s next but it’s a lot more difficult when I make that challenge all about what’s wrong with me.

One of the main insights I had was on how many beliefs I carry about the right way to go about finding my “right work.”

Although I had good grades when I graduated from college and I was a marketing major, I wanted to find a job in consumer research and at the time there weren’t many companies offering entry level positions in marketing research. The easiest marketing-related job to get was in sales and I pretty blew all the interviews I had for sales jobs.

What most people I knew did was read the want ads and send resumes to the Fortune 500 companies. I lived in Chicago and there were plenty of big companies to go after.

But because I wanted a job in an area most people had never heard of I did things differently. I followed the advice in What Color is Your Parachute and I did informational interviews.

I know my parents were really nervous about the fact I wasn’t sending my resume like everyone else. They thought I was spinning my wheels and probably that fast forward 30 years into the future and I’d be living in the basement with six cats and still no job.

It turned out that the best thing I ever did was those informational interviews. It’s the reason I got a job in my field of interest to begin with and I probably spoke with more leaders in the field than I ever would had I used a different route.

It took me about 18 months to find the “job of my dreams” and I made a lot of mistakes and detours along the way.

Then I kind of forgot that experience because I decided I “knew” what my career was supposed to be. I guess I decided the soul-searching part was over and I knew enough about what I wanted and didn’t want to be in a position to make quick decisions.

I’ve done a lot of zig-zagging: technical writing, life coaching, business coaching, creating information products, etc.

At this point, where I’m leaning toward is going through the self-assessment process again as outlined in Parachute and that will probably be my next major project. For one thing, it doesn’t exclude the option of technical writing. For another thing, I think I needed to cast a wider net than I’ve allowed myself in the past. Finally, I suspect I’ll end up creating something original to fit my particular set of talents and whether I work for someone else or decide to make it a business, it’s going to be important that I’m clear about what I do, who I help, and the value I bring to the table.

For the last ten years I’ve been trying to force myself into a particular value definition and it’s been more or less an exercise in frustration. Not unlike throwing myself against a brick wall and wondering when it will stop hurting.

When I stop throwing myself against a brick wall and create a door to walk through, that’s when. Not unlike the Pink Panther tossing a black circle onto the ground and jumping into the hole he just created.

Not a final decision as of today but feeling like the most promising direction. Having a promising direction I’m willing to commit to is real progress.

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Day 17: Radical Forgiveness – Sales and Self-Worth


Yesterday I wrote about how I have a tendency to want people to hire or buy from me. This is regardless of whether the person is a prospective customer or even makes sense to be a customer.

This is embarrassing because it’s so illogical and I also know it’s disrespectful and often inappropriate in the context of the relationship. There’s no better way to lose friends and irritate people than to turn every encounter into Let’s Make a Deal.

And no matter what I tell myself, the impulse stubbornly comes up.

To get at the bottom of this, I did a Self-Forgiveness Worksheet yesterday from the Radical Forgiveness program.

I learned something really interesting about this compulsion.

Like a lot of Baby Boomers, I was raised by Depression Baby parents. Although my parents both grew up in relative comfort, one grandfather was a successful salesman and the other ran a successful menswear store, they heard stories and saw evidence everywhere of how easy it was to go from comfort to poverty. They had close relatives who couldn’t find work and heard all the time what a “terrible thing it was when a man couldn’t find a job.”

So although they were comfortable, they constantly heard “be grateful because you’re lucky your father has a job.”

They also grew up with lots of stories about how even the most menial job was not only a JOB but it was a FOOT IN THE DOOR to show your employers what you were made of and make something of yourself.

When I was working for other people, for example, working in the corporate world, I usually felt successful when I had a job. Being employed meant someone thought I was valuable enough to be worth hiring. The desire that other people buy from me didn’t cross my mind.

When I started my coaching business, it seemed like the main way I could judge how well I was doing was by how successful I was when it came to enrolling clients.  So I began to equate my sense of self-worth and value based on whether or no someone wanted to buy something from me or wanted to hire me.

This is what I discovered as I did the self-forgiveness process.

Having seen this clearly helps me have a lot more compassion for myself because if this is one of the few ways I can find to feel good about who I am as a human being of course I’m going to constantly desire getting this kind of affirmation.

So this brings up some questions for me to contemplate (without any pressure to come up with answers):

  • What are other things from which I can find self-worth
  • How can I feel secure in my value as a person that aren’t dependent on what is outside my own control? This is because ultimately I have no control over other people nor do I have control over most events. My control ultimately comes down to my choices including how I choose to respond.
  • What would it take for me to truly believe in my intrinsic value (which would pretty much address point #2)

That last point is my dream, to feel so secure in my own self worth and the value of what I create through my work that I don’t require the approval of other people to feel fulfilled. It isn’t that I won’t love it when my work makes a difference for people and when I’m paid. But what I receive from other people makes things that much more sweet. It isn’t what I require to feel successful and good about myself.

I believe the answer is in me. I don’t see it right this moment. So for now I’m going to continue putting my energy into what is immediately in front of me.

Maybe one thing I could do is to do the self-forgiveness process on this very situation…to forgive myself for not knowing because I do feel like I’m failing somehow by my lack of direction. I also feel bad because it feels like I’m letting my family down as well.

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