The most rewarding job interview I ever had didn’t end with an offer, but I walked away with something a lot more valuable. The interview was with a senior executive named Elaine at a major market branding firm. She told me on the phone that she didn’t have a position for me but loved my cover letter and wanted to meet the person who wrote it.
What Elaine taught me that day transformed everything.
To be completely candid, change and I were not on friendly terms back then. I walked into that meeting hoping that a new job would fix everything. I thought I needed new circumstances to start feeling good again, but luckily for me, Elaine knew that what I really needed was a new perspective.
It turned out that change was neither the problem nor the solution.
In a conversation that lasted about 90 minutes, Elaine gently shifted my attention in a new direction. I had 20 years experience in marketing, communications and corporate quality management but saw no value in any of it because of my circumstances. She asked me to recall the work experiences that had brought me the most happiness, satisfaction and excitement. She disconnected my personal “brand” from all the unwanted changes of the moment and rewired it to all the positive, energizing things that I was really destined to do. Things I’d been doing all along without realizing it.
Here’s the blinding glimpse of the obvious Elaine gave me.
My sense of worth had been based entirely on my circumstances. Circumstances always and forever change because that’s what they do, even during those fleeting moments in life when we enjoy the illusion of stability. If you don’t want change to be in constant control of your life, including all of your thoughts and feelings about it, then it makes sense to find some other hitching post that isn’t in constant motion. Elaine helped me to see that the only thing that ever stands still is not outside of us. It’s the sense of purpose we find at the calm center inside of us. It’s impossible to have the presence of mind to see it or act on it when we’re freaked out by change – a reality we’ll never escape.
ABOUT CHANGE ON PURPOSE
Elaine helped me to see that there was a common thread in all of the best memories we talked about that day. Every one of them bloomed effortlessly when I was fully connected to the three driving passions in my career. These turned out to be creativity, communication and process improvement – specifically, the art of finding simple ways to get at-risk business relationships back on track just by observing and listening. Elaine said, “Tim, you’re a change agent. You’re just going to have to find a less dated term for it.”
The purpose of this blog is to serve others by helping them transform the inevitable changes of life and business into things that yield lasting value. The “philosopher’s stone” that makes this transformation possible is the guiding purpose and passion that already exists in the heart of every individual and organization. “Change On Purpose” is what Lenedra J. Carroll calls a “catchment system” for insights collected over a lifetime about how to create, connect and expand with purpose.
I’ve been a professional communicator most of my working life, starting in big engineering and construction companies as a marketer and quality manager and then along other interesting career paths in radio broadcasting, advertising and corporate communications.
I’m at my best when I’m bringing senders and receivers together through the written and spoken word and I now produce content for private clients as an independent creative consultant.
I have three grown sons who inspire me and are each mastering change and purpose in their own beautiful ways. I’m fortunate to live a life where the boundary between work and play is extremely thin.
Contact me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org