Feel like an outsider? Maybe it’s time…

What I know to be true is that clients who are ready to shift something important in their life feel like an outsider, like they’re wearing shoes that don’t fit, like they’re looking in the mirror at someone they don’t recognize.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés describes that “outsider-ness” like this in her phenomenal book, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype as she breaks apart that familiar fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling:

Like the ugly duckling, an outsider learns to stay away from situations where one may be able to act right but still doesn’t look right. The duckling, for instance, can swim well, but still doesn’t look right. Conversely, a woman may look right, but may not be able to act right…

While it is useful to make bridges even to those groups one does not belong to… it is also imperative to not strive too hard… No, it is better, more graceful, and far more soulful to just be what and as you are and let the other creatures be what they are too.

Take my client Karen.  A Senior VP in charge of customer service at a large bank, she was a brutal manager, a role expected in that hierarchical environment. To be at peace amidst those workplace values, she spent her considerable income on pampering herself in a spa and engaging in what she called “retail therapy.”

When she realized that her pampering values could extend to her employees, her leadership style softened. Now, instead of fearing staff meetings her employees opened up and offered creative solutions to ongoing problems.

But our coaching didn’t end with her promotion, although that was the first outcome. Real change came about when Karen realized the dog-eat-dog competitiveness of the corporate environment didn’t fit her.

She was an outsider.

After exploring options with her coach, she resigned and went to work for a large non-profit as budget manager overseeing the funding to do their important work. But her story didn’t end there – that’s where her real life began. She is now certain that she makes a difference in a way that’s meaningful for her.

Feeling like an outsider is a gift.

If it’s time to leave your job, then leave. If it’s time to reset the boundaries in a relationship, then reset them. If it’s time to create, then create. If it’s time to make a change, then make a change.

It won’t be easy, nothing important is.  When you need direction or support, call me. That’s my job, and I do it very well.

Remember the quote from Dr. Estés?  This is what else she said:

It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires. It is never a mistake to search for what one requires. Never.

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