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  • Cynthia Fortlage

Digging Deep or on Pause?

How are you using this time with a stay at home orders and working remotely?


Is this a time you pause your personal development, or are you digging deep and working on the tough stuff?


I describe my travel adventures as on pause and not cancelled. What I

mean by that is I am unable to travel about due to Government restrictions but when it's safe to do so I will resume some form of travel, at this time I don't know if it's the same path as I was on or if there is a new path I am to follow, but I will be travelling.


Maybe that's the path your on with your personal development. You were doing some good work, but perhaps for any number of reasons lately that work and the person(s) you were doing that work with has been put on pause. When reasonable to do so you will resume that work.


Perhaps you are like me in the first two months of 2020 and you were doing neither? I was so busy being a social butterfly and enjoying new countries every 4 to 5 weeks that I had a social calendar that was so full I didn't have time to work on much, especially not myself. So you blindly go forward with unprocessed thoughts and feelings (the tough stuff we bury deep).


COVID Time


The response to COVID-19 with social distancing, isolation rules, curfews and more has given many, not all of us, time. Time to pause, dig deep, or do nothing, what have you been doing?


If you have met me personally you will know that I tend to go deep often, It is how I have been trained and wired. I also find great satisfaction from the dep work. This wasn't always my case. I was more keep busy and be a social butterfly and just ignore it all or assume it didn't exist.


I don't think I was unique living a life like this, I believe many of you reading this and believing that neither is your answer may in fact be living a life of lying to yourself. No that doesn't mean I am suggesting that my path will be your path as well, that was my path, yours will be uniquely yours and it could just mean being more honest with yourself and not a completely life-changing event as I travelled.


So what changed, I did!


I was always trained and have mentioned more than once in my online writings that one of the most impactful lessons I learned in management happened early in my management career. I can not change anyone, only myself!!


When I was faced with an identity issue and did the work to brush off the ground cover hiding the truth, I could have covered it up and gone back to living a life that was a lie to myself and everyone in my life ultimately. I never knew that was a lie at the time, only upon reflection do I realize that for me it was a living a life of a lie. I am sorry to you if you were impacted by that.


I always had a few core beliefs that became a part of my work DNA, the first is the clock analogue and the second is imperative to get things done.


The imperative, I had a wonderful leader and friend who always said let's get this done, not now but right now!! That truly became part of my mindset. Realize that not everything I ever did was done right away, reality says that everything is a balancing act, making trade-offs in order to accomplish goals. Rarely did everything gets done when I wanted it done but a lot got done and goals were accomplished. That doesn't mean that my friend's advice was wrong, it just meant that work when dependent upon many persons efforts such as large projects was a balancing act, but if the work solely is upon you and it's important and urgent, get it done, not now but right now!!


The clock, a clock tells time, it only moves forward. We know the clock had history we remember but we can not go back in time. So like the clock, everything can only move forward.


So when faced with this identity issue I had to deal with it not now, but right now! I also couldn't cover it back up and hope it goes away, I waited 50 years to acknowledge it, I had to move forward regardless where the journey would take me.


It was in this journey that I had no choice but to do the deep work as everything I thought I knew, every point of view, every value I thought I had adopted, my sense of understanding roles and identity all had to be challenged and reprocessed with a new lens of identity.


That's what changed, it was me!!


This work continues to this day, not so much about identity although there is some still; but a healthy relationship with a friend; being a good global citizen; what privilege looks like and how it negatively impacts others who don't have my privilege; human rights and much more.


I use various techniques to work through and actively on these issues in order to be like the clock and move forward.


A simple example to help you understand this; Being in lockdown I get agitated at times. No one did anything to cause the agitation, it's an anxiety-driven feeling I get into. That's my feelings to own and deal with, not anyone else's issue. So I remove myself from the space I am in and get to a quiet place where I can meditate, sometimes for hours. I need to acknowledge the feelings because they come from someplace in me, I honour the feeling that came forward, I process it and send it away. I then need to create a more positive frame of mind before I leave my quiet space and return to existing in the space with others in lockdown. That's the deep work I do.


I can't imagine going back anymore, trust me I had second thoughts of doubt I had to do deep work on. I know in my mind, heart, and soul that my path is true and right for me.


So I ask you again, Is this a time you pause your personal development or are you digging deep and working on the tough stuff?




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