Getting started

Don't expect words of wisdom or earth shattering revelations, just my thoughts and observations about living in Ottawa, being a public servant and trying to live life every day to its fullest

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Networks and friends

The best thing that has come from 6-plus years with the Federal Public Service has been the people. They are smart and dedicated and really want to change things. They have great ideas and energy, and they understand why I am where I am. They are my rock, my guides, they are my reality check and possibly co-conspirators. Dreaming up ideas is only useful if there are people who are going to support you, dare you, or point out why, perhaps, it is actually not a good idea!

No secret - I want to leave. I will leave. I have made up my mind and there is probably very little that will change this in the long-term. The short-term and medium-term are different stories. So what happens in the short-term or the medium-term? I continue to take the space and time for me to figure things out. The process of self-discovery has been hard, it has also been eye-opening. It requires a level of honestly with myself that I am still hesitant to commit to, it requires me to open up and explores my hopes, dreams and failings.

The most important part of this journey so far has been the people. The incredible individuals who have stepped up and provided insight into who they think I am, what I can do and where I can go. They force me see myself as someone other than who I thought I was, and I have been shown the incredible opportunities that are in front of me.

I have mentors out there who have shown me what it means to be a visionary, a leader, and to take an interest and make it into an opportunity. These are people from whom I can learn; people who have experiences from which I can gain, people who have energy and excitement for something be it their day-job, their hobbies, their families, the future, or life itself. These are people in the cubicle next to me, half the world away in a corner office, or riding a bike down a trail somewhere.

I am lucky enough now to have a small support group, a kind of public-servant anonymous; helping each other figure out what to do next. This doesn't necessarily mean leaving for all of us, but we are creating a space where we can each be honest with ourselves and challenge each other with assumptions that we have held about where we can go and the reality of each of our individual situations. 

I have an inspiring woman guiding my journey, pointing out when I try and deceive myself with vague notions of who I am. Questioning what I have identified as my personal values; not because they are wrong - but because they are not actually my values. She has helped me see why I react the way I do, what motivates me and who I really am. Did I know these things? Possibly? Was I willing to admit them to myself? No! Would I have shared these things with others? Never.

This network of incredible people can only take me so far. These friends who have stepped up and are willing to be part of this journey cannot carry me, they can challenge me and push my boundaries, but at the end of the day, I am responsible.

Here is the crux - I am afraid of failure. Part of the problem is I have actually never defined what success is and so instead I have tried to live up to others' perceptions of success, which may be appropriate for them but is most definitely not appropriate for me. This incredible group of people around me, my network and my friends are showing me that I need to figure out what being successful means to me and that if I believe in myself, I can probably do anything.

What if I fail? Maybe it doesn't matter - as long as I tired.

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