So, when I started put thoughts down on this blog (2012), I was in a pretty “in session” part of life. I had recently left my spouse of 18 years for infidelity and felt released to go on with my life, figuring out what single looked like. I accepted a promotion to a C-suite position in public sector work – as an HR professional – and was extremely blessed to have that 3 years to focus, learn, grow and dive into something bigger than me and my problems.
Things have shifted again (as they usually do). I’ve been in a different role in another public organization because, quite frankly, the stress got to me and I needed a change. I had so much going on… I was now remarried, adjusting to life with a husband, helping my three teenagers with that adjustment while they all bravely navigate between two households on a weekly basis. We then built a home and moved and have been settling into the new norm. The change of paths at work was needed, but has not been a bed of roses, not even a little bit. It’s been a struggle, and I find myself in a season of waiting.
Waiting. What does that even mean? Waiting for the bus? Waiting for a table at my favorite Saturday night bistro? What am I waiting for? To try to describe the waiting is a bit like nailing jell-o to the wall, but here goes. Waiting feels like this space of time between the pain or struggle, and the breakthrough. I know breakthrough is going to come, but I don’t know when and I don’t know what it will look like. ARRRGGGHHHH!!! (Think Charlie Brown as Lucy is pulling the football out from under him, yet again.) My friend Elaine told me once that there is so much to be learned in the waiting. I’m taking that promise as a claim-check, and hanging on to it!
For someone who (apparently) struggles with control, this season is tough. Rather than feel like a helpless victim of circumstance, I’ve put a few action items together to try to help me make some sort of sense of it all. I learned from #recovery, that taking action over areas I can control helps me feel empowered, and keeps me moving forward.
Here’s what I’ve done recently and what I am doing:
- Get certified. Study for and sit for the SHRM-SCP exam and pass. DONE. This is a milestone for my profession that honestly should have been accomplished about 15 years ago. I kept kicking that can down the road. “I just had a baby.” “I have three little ones at home.” “I don’t want to.” “My husband just started a new shift.” “My toe hurts.” Lots of really legit excuses. He he he… This one took a while, a small investment and dedication. It was a commitment. I took an online prep course that was 30 hours in total, spent approximately 1,000 hours a day in personal study time, reviewed nearly 1,000,000 flash cards, and took the practice exams about 100 times, each. I had scheduled the exam for about 2 1/2 weeks after the class was over at a proxy test center in my area. I arrived, got frisked, and was chastised about the contraband (a tissue in my pocket) (they take their jobs seriously); I was allowed to take only photo ID and locker key into the exam room. I was ushered to an old PC in a room full of old PCs and other test-takers. I sat down in front of the computer and thought – let’s do this. I prayed silently – God, I’ve put the work in. Help me finish this task today – bring the information to my remembrance, and help me to be careful as I read and thoroughly understand what the question is asking. Then, something happened. The first question was something I felt confident about. So was the next one. And, the one after that. I thought, this is really weird. I didn’t feel this confident with the practice exams at all. But, now, I actually felt good about my answers.
For someone who pretty much skated through school by the skin of her teeth, not really diving in to studying the actual material, or go beyond the minimum requirements, and getting the appropriate resulting grades, I suddenly learned what all the straight-A kids felt like when they took an exam. Weird. Not that much stress. At the end, the computer told me that I PASSED and boy did that ever feel good!!! REALLY good. An investment in ME. #accomplishment #SHRM-SCP #killingitatlife
- Update resume and obtain review and feedback from two trusted colleagues. IN PROCESS. This one is tricky because I’m not necessarily looking to leave my job, but I do want to position myself for the next thing if/when God brings it along my path. Plus, what better time to update my resume with the little letters at the end of my name now earned. Kerry Mader, SHRM-SCP. Hmm, nice ring to it.
- Think differently. IN PROCESS. Romans 12:2 commands, “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], SO THAT you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (AMP, emphasis mine). I’ve put this verse into action by setting up a semi-professional executive coaching situation with a family member of mine who is working towards becoming an executive coach. Win-win! For starters, I’m reading a new book called, “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, along with using the companion workbook.
So far, I’m really enjoying it. I would sum it up as a book that introduces the reader to a design mindset. This has been freeing for me so far – as someone who struggles with perfectionism. (Maybe I’ll do a full book review at the end of my process, if that’s something of interest.) At this point, my coach and I meet about every other week via phone due to distance and in person when we’re able. He has a unique mindset and very different experiences in life than I do, I respect his wisdom, and so I think that it’s going to be extremely valuable to have this exchange and accountability.
- Seek God. Honestly, why isn’t thing one in the #1 slot? It should have been. If I’m being real, and I am, it wasn’t at the time. I have a really amazing resiliency (that’s code for stubbornness) for trying to do it all on my own. It’s a very clear pattern in my own life, as I know it is for so many. (Here’s an older post on that very theme.) I am now earnestly seeking God – I spent the better part of a day this week seeking Him, learning, growing, healing. I needed a level set, a refresher. One of the key things that I am pressing into right now is my identity. How do I see myself? More on that in a future post!
- Write again. Write until there are no more words for today. I’m picking up the blog again. I have a story to tell, hope to spread, and a light to shine.
I look forward to the future! Be blessed and know you are loved, Kerry