When I think of my rebirth experiences, I tend to place them in two categories. I think of the times rebirth looked more like being replanted and I had to start over in new surroundings. The other rebirth experiences felt more like being relaunched in a new direction… like discovering who I am today as opposed to who I was yesterday.
The first rebirth type would include moving out of my home state in 2009. I made plans for the move for almost a year. I checked in with others who had done something similar. I downsized and tried to save enough money knowing that I had a pension that was due me as well. While many regarded it as an adventure, I knew there were risks involved.
On more than one occasion, I was told how unwise I had been to leave a job of eight years. Different state licensure requirements and an overly saturated market; made reestablishing my career as a counselor difficult. Rebirth in this instance required I find a way to replant roots that had been nurtured in one state and were now in a new community and culture.
The second type of rebirth I’ve experienced involves a decision to return to school and pursue a different degree and field. When I began my second master’s program, I thought I could merge the degrees and increase my marketability. Some four years later I find myself with 30-years work experiences having to repackage myself in a way that portrayed me as being a forward-thinking entrepreneur rather than an over-educated employee who may be dealing with burnout.
With rebirth comes the not so easy task of self-evaluation and self-adjustment. When reintroducing yourself as someone with different or expanded interests, it’s important to know who you are currently in relationship to who you hope to be in the future. No, I’m not talking about your values or personality characteristics. I’m talking about presenting yourself in a way that may feel a bit foreign because you are moving into and describing a space you’ve never inhabited before.
I HATE elevator speeches. You know, the 30-second pitch you give that tells the listener who you are, what you do and how you can help him/her. Initially, I found it hard to commit to the same pitch week after week. As I learned more about what I liked and disliked… what I was willing to do or not… my slant would change. It was like I was redefining myself on a weekly basis. The hard part then was to not feel any guilt or shame about doing so.
With self-evaluation and self-adjustment comes the responsibility to take a hard long look at what we do daily. We then determine that if those actions are getting us closer to or further away from our goals… from our decided image. To relaunch in this way, means to welcome any changes we need to make and embrace them as part of the process.
One of the consistent things I’ve learned about rebirth is that patience is essential. We not only have to be patient with those who need time to adjust to our new way of existing, we too have to be patient with ourselves. Being patient with self may look like realizing that some of our plans will go awry. With every rebirth event there is growth and regrowth. Who we thought we were yesterday only lends itself to who we’re evolving to become. As long as we continue to breathe and remain open to life’s changes, we are being rebirthed to something greater and tailor made for our purpose and God’s plan.
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