Episode 33 Being the Observer

March 17, 2023

When I moved to New York back in 2004, after 20 plus years in Europe and never having lived as an adult in the United States, my ticket to ride on this new life was reinventing myself as an executive recruiter in the fashion business. I had outstanding pedigree in fashion, and I got lots of interviews, but I was having difficulty landing a job until a wonderful woman by the name of Maxine Martens hired me to be an executive recruiter.

I remember sitting in meetings during the early days. First name references peppered the conversations, and I had no clue who they were talking about. I thought, how am I ever going to get this? I had limited money in my bank account. I did not have the wisdom around the words positive expectation. They had positive expectation about me, but I was very fearful. I was coming to the office late at night to work on searches in Japan to show my boss that I was eager to please and hardworking.

At some point, quite early on, I noticed that people would pop into my mind. I trained myself to pay attention when someone popped in more than once.  It became a hack. No matter what I was doing, when I noticed I would put everything down and make that phone call. I’d say I made a lot of money paying attention and acting on recurring thoughts and valuing those seemingly random thoughts that popped in.

Fast forward many years later, I was in the early days of what I thought was going to be a sabbatical from executive search, but I ended up never going back. When I first stopped working, I was sort of walking in circles not knowing what I was doing. I simply knew that I didn’t want to do that work anymore, and that I was willing to have this dance with uncertainty and not knowing. One of the very first things I did was I made a timeline of my life. I went back and charted major life events. I would call my brothers and my cousin and. I reconstructed a lot of my life timeline. I used to say all the time, I have a terrible memory. In doing that project, I changed my language and I started saying I have poor recall. I don’t have poor memory. I have poor recall. That’s very different.

Anyway, that was a super fun project and I started seeing patterns that I had never’ paid much heed to. A little bit further into my new life, I started journaling more consistently, but more importantly I started using a Moleskin daily planner. It’s not a diary or an agenda or a journal. I simply capture what I do every day to support my memory.

When I started doing that, I think I’ve been doing it for like five or six years now, I started to see patterns that I hadn’t seen before. There are several summary pages at the beginning where you can look at the whole year and I absolutely love it. I wish I had done it all my life. It makes it a lot easier to connect the dots and to see patterns. I consider it part of my awareness practice.

In past episodes, I’ve made reference to AI. I consider AI a superpower, and I don’t mean artificial intelligence.  A is for awareness and I is for intentionality. That is what I consider heart intelligence. I think the point I’m trying to make here is that the subconscious is always trying to get messages through in dreams, in recurring thoughts in what can feel like seemingly random coincidences. There’s a lot of gold in there when you start paying attention to recurring thoughts and apparently random coincidences, even if it’s simply to notice them or be curious about them. I think there are lots of clues in there. Maybe that’s why I have post-its everywhere. I always try to capture my thoughts. Sometimes I read what I wrote, and I have no idea what I was making reference to, but I do capture them. It’s a practice of capturing them that’s important.

Yesterday I went up to the brand-new McNally Jackson bookstore in Rockefeller Center. It’s gorgeous. I bought myself something I’ve been wanting to buy for a long time.  It’s a Japanese hardbound journal. There are three-year journals and five year journals. This is a three-year journal where every day for three years you write something. It’s just a couple of lines. I don’t quite know what I’m going to write. Am I going to write what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling? Or a combination of the three? I’m super curious to see what I’ll find after three years.

I think it’s important that you find your way to journal. If you’re not going to write, then simply some way to capture what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, where you are, what’s happening around you, something to give you context.  It can be a memory and recall aid, and it’s an incredibly useful way to see patterns and reoccurring thoughts and feelings. Like I said, it’s something I didn’t start until I was well into my fifties and I wish I had done it all my life. And that’s why I’m sharing this. I have no idea who’s listening nor who may need to hear this, but I think it’s a fun practice to play with.

I’ll leave you with that. That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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