What I Wish I Knew When I Decided I Wanted to Help People
A Broader Definition of Learning
Academics is only part of it…and as much as I honour formal learning when it comes to the helping professions – vocations of service – it is a small piece of a much bigger picture. Learning, on the other hand is essential. And everything is an opportunity for learning. Be sure to place value on ALL learning – every situation – every relationship – every insight – everything…the more I open to learning – the more I see it and capture it.
Learning Outside of the Classroom
Here are a few little nuggets I have become aware – learning that has shown up outside of academic pursuits:
If I don’t pay attention to myself, I will miss my own transformation. If I’m too busy looking at others and waiting for them to change I will miss my own growth. My experience is about me – everything that happens – happens for me…for my awakening – for my growth…for my transformation.
The opportunity for my healing is not a reason to go into the helping professions; it is a byproduct of conscious service. There will be situations, people and experiences that come up against my own experiences – my own wounds. If I am present and engaged from a place of service I will receive the healing available to me as I stay centered in my being with compassion and empathy.
I am more like other people than I am different. Other people are my mirror showing me what I am afraid of – what I judge – what I admire – what I hope for.
Other people’s problems are not my problems. It is not my role to become burdened. I cannot take anothers’ problems away. I can see others as capable to solve problems and I can offer supports and assistance. Others’ victories are not mine either. I may have been blessed to witness – to join with someone in their journey towards growth and that is my win…but someone else’s achievements do not belong to me.
It is all about people – and we are all people first – as opposed to identifying with our roles.
Clients are people not labels, not identified by their disabilities or challenges. People…period. That is the only word that works for me.
Supervisors are people – not all powerful people who can make or break you – or who know better than you do.
We are people with our own unique set of qualities, gifts, and learning opportunities. Honour the humanity we all share. Nobody is any more or less important than anyone else…Ever. So, if I want to help people, that has to include everyone…and it won’t always be easy.
Working with people doesn’t make me special. We are all special in some way. It makes me a human being who is aware of a calling that leads me to a vocation of service. If we peel back our layers, most of us want to be helpful to others in some way – not always as a career. Most of us have an innate desire to be connected – to join with others – to realize love. We are all special that way.
Leaving home at home and work and work is not really possible. I don’t want to live a compartmentalized life. I want to be present where ever I am as much as I can possibly achieve it. I don’t have an on/off switch. If something is affecting me in one aspect of my life, I am better off to acknowledge it, feel it, do what I have to do for me, and come back to the present moment and what is in front of me now.
Work life balance is a bullshit concept. Are we not living when we are at work? Maybe, that’s the problem! I love what Danielle Laporte talks about when she encourages us to go with the passion and aim for those experiences as opposed to achieving balance. How do we even calculate that really? We can fill out those life wheel sheets until the cows come home and try to divide up the 24 hours we all have into a tidy little package, but I don’t know if that makes any difference. If we go with what ignites passion – if we go with the energy – if we listen to ourselves and honour what we hear – we will live a balanced life filled with energy, enthusiasm, excitement, love, and peace. Sounds good to me!
Flying under the radar will not help me go higher in life. It may serve as a break that I need to attend to other parts of my life but if my goal is to express myself fully in my life, I will have to come out of hiding and be seen.
I am contributing all the time. So, even if I fly under the radar, even if I don’t speak up, I am still contributing to the energy of the whole. Withholding what I have to offer contributes to the overall situation.
If I wish to be seen and to contribute in more meaningful ways, I have to speak up. Identifying my strengths and my interests is not boastful – it is responsible. My desire to enjoy my work and to feel energized is not selfish. it is a more direct path to conscious service.
We are God’s gift to the World. You are all that and a bag of chips! Knowing this and owning this is not about blowing your own horn. It is the acceptance of the divine invitation your heart received way, way back when you first decided you wanted to help people. It is not until you say yes to this invitation and BYOG – bring your own gifts – that you can contribute to a friggin’ great party with whoever shows up!
The only life you can change is your own.
Let’s get started!
What do you wish you knew when you first started in the helping professions?
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