Episode 38 Renegotiating Terms

March 29, 2023

Good morning from New York City. It’s only 8:30 am and I’ve already had multiple exchanges with interesting people about what’s going on in their lives. What’s coming up for me this morning is this thing I say a lot… I’m renegotiating my relationship with ….and I use it with everything from I’m renegotiating my relationship with exercise to I’m renegotiating my relationship with time and how I manage myself to I’m renegotiating my relationship with New York City. I don’t have any idea where I came up with that, but if you’ve followed Dear Constance for any amount of time, you hear me talk a lot on the show about reframing, questioning assumptions, paying attention to the stories I tell myself.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve heard two different stories about people’s job situations. One is a woman whose identity is very much around being an entrepreneur. She’s had multiple different businesses and her identity is very tied into being an entrepreneur. She announced on a call that she had taken a job. She’s been struggling for with her business – it’s not doing very well and she really doesn’t like the business itself. When someone on the call said why don’t you take a part-time job, her initial reaction was negative. When she was able to let that land and to reflect and question the story she was telling herself, she found a great part-time job that turned in to a full-time gig. It’s solving a lot of immediate matters in her life.

When someone has their identity so closely tied with being an entrepreneur and then they take a job, it can feel sort of shameful or embarrassing. Knowing this, I left her several messages about something I talked about on a past episode: deliberate language.  It’s all goes back to how she frames her new job situation, how she thinks it through, and the language she uses to talk about it. For example she’s going to be in an entrepreneurial business. She’s going to see the inner workings of someone else’s business from a different perch. She’ll be in learning mode. She’s giving herself a break to rethink what she wants her next entrepreneurial endeavor to look like. You get the idea. It’s entirely up to her how she frames the language she uses to talk about her decision.

Then I got a call from a friend whose husband recently lost his job. There was a reorg and his position was eliminated. He’s 61 years old. She was asking me for some tips and thoughts so that she can support him, because she knows it’s a blow. So, I’m going to share what I said because perhaps it can be helpful. I said, first and foremost, he needs to allow for the ending. If you jump back in too quickly to look for another job, you aren’t allowing yourself to land and mourn an ending. Even if you didn’t like your job or were super unhappy, it is still a loss and an ending and you need to reset. My second suggestion was to think about how much time he’s going to allow himself to let go. It could be eight weeks, 12 weeks, or five months. Whatever that time frame is,  deciding about how long you’re going to allow yourself to take a break and to not get caught up in thinking about the job search.  When you decide about that timeframe, this allows you to let go. You can expand into the space; let your mind wander and simply wonder what might be next. You can get curious about what you could create for your next opportunity.

In this way, you shift out of left-brain mode a little bit and you let your right brain kick in and, as I said, you wonder, wander and you allow information to come through or come to you in in a different way. You turn off the analytical part of your brain. There is richness there.  It’s fertile. You can get to a place to wonder what could be you might actually want to do. There’s a lot of fodder. By getting clear – I mean thinking through those important filters – what is really important at age 61 in your next job? What’s your minimum requirement on salary? How much flexibility do you have in geographic location? How important is title? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do and never tried?   Those are the filters you create for yourself to evaluate future prospects. You get the idea.

So, I guess I’d say that in both stories – the entrepreneur who’s taking a job and my friend’s husband who’s been downsized – it’s an opportunity for them to renegotiate the terms of their relationship with work,. How they think about it, what they bring to it, what they take away from it, that kind of thing.

I use that language also with sibling relationships This has also come up a lot recently with various friends who have some fraught issues with their family. There is default behavior happening, liberties being taken, comments being made that are no longer acceptable that are creating challenges in the family. I always say well, you’re renegotiating the terms of your relationship with your siblings.

So I do like that language around renegotiating terms of your relationship. It’s a good way to think about how you want to evolve something in your life. You can renegotiate the terms of your relationship with whatever.

Let’s bring that full circle. What relationships and what aspects of your life are perhaps ripe for renegotiation right now? Where do you need to shift your thinking find some fresh thinking around. Situations, challenges, relationships, try my language on for size, renegotiating the terms of your relationship. I hope that helps someone out there. 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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“Speaking with Constance helped me to see myself  – and my experience –with fresh perspective.  I got great clarity and completely shifted gears. She totally got it. The experience fully re-energized me.”

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