A Happy Ending - Part 8 of Snack Size Bites to Feed your Soul

The journey ‘is’ the reward. 

This is of course what you learn once you’ve come to the end of the road. I always knew I would tell you that I have no regrets; that I embraced the time out of work; and that I didn’t settle. Admittedly that’s due to ego but also perseverance. I knew I had created this very public personal script of mine and damn it, I wanted a happy ending! At last, I have one; employment at a company, in a role I’m ecstatic about. (To be announced Monday; sorry folks….! hehe)

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity.

I can count my list of challenges on both hands both related and un-related to my lay off. What I didn’t know is how difficult it would be to secure a job; how I would manage the external pressures coming at me and how long it would take to get off this unemployment train…13.5 months. On average the real opportunities came from referrals from people I knew, juggling copious amounts of research about industries I was unfamiliar with, partaking in at least 5-7 interviews and usually submitting a proposal of sorts. Finding work started to become a full-time gig. Oh, and the close calls! I can count those on my fingers and toes! “Mom’s its just like my hockey tryouts”, said my teenage son, describing the perfect analogy. ‘It’s all about who you know; there are multiple tryouts; you must do your best to perform; you must deal with getting cut and then you finally make a team’. It warmed my heart that he ‘got it’. The anguish, the hard work and the glory of it all. (love you my empathetic boy)

I dreamed of this day, that I would be writing this final chapter. And it won’t be my last blog either! This new passion of blogging has been a source of strength for me, a therapeutic toolkit that has allowed me to chronicle my experience, key learnings and ultimately resulting in personal growth. Some highlights to share:

·       I didn’t realise what the true definition of ‘Community’ was until we moved to our beloved Constance Bay in the Ottawa region. In the big city of Toronto, community for my family were our wonderful neighbours and hockey families and the time we spent together (and still do from afar). Now, we have learned that community also means fundraising for people in our area, it means partaking in fun events like Comedy nights, rural plays, etc., it means supporting families in time of need in our area, it means supporting local business (love our local pub!) and it means meeting new families we now get to call good friends.

·       You can never have enough in your professional network. When I was laid off, I had 33 people from Ottawa in my Linked In profile. Would you believe I now have 129?! Now that’s a lot of coffee, conversations and smiles! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly inspirational professionals including a handful of innovative business owners, corporate CEO’s, a wowzah City Councillor and a Member of Parliament. I’ve learned that thoughtful networking should never stop. There’s such tremendous power and benefits of building and cultivating the Network that goes well beyond trying to find a job.

·       What I’m mostly proud of is increasing my Emotional Intelligence. Justin Bariso describes this leadership trait well detailing 13 actions associated with EI.  Over the past year, with humility and a constant crave to keep developing myself, I can confidently check off the advancement of each action. I’ve also aware I’m gravitating to people that also endeavour to possess these qualities.

o   You think about feelings.

o   You pause.

o   You strive to control your thoughts.

o   You benefit from criticism.

o   You show authenticity.

o   You demonstrate empathy.

o   You praise others.

o   You give helpful feedback.

o   You apologize.

o   You forgive and forget.

o   You keep your commitments.

o   You help others.

o   You protect yourself from emotional sabotage.

Imagine what this world would look like if we all strived for high emotional intelligence. #TeachYourChildrenEI

·       Lastly, I would suggest you need not be a Marketer by profession in order to create your personal brand.  This passion of mine as a newly self-proclaimed writer is now my foundation for my brand. You’ll note the theme of key learnings is continuation. It was such a raw move to let my guard down, bare my soul and so I’ve decided to further cultivate my brand and my EI, I am going to repurpose my story, my Blog series into a public speaking format. Nope, I’m no CEO or an executive, just Ordinary people doing great things. I invite you to look at my new website specially designed to use as a vehicle to speak publicly about my learnings. (Be kind. It’s still evolving just like I am!) I am incredibly excited about this new phase. Keep you posted as it progresses!

This experience also comes with a lot of gratitude and deserves a few shout-outs:

·       My husband and I have always been blessed with an enduring group of close friends. That was surely demonstrated during his near-death illness 2 years ago and surely again during my professional anguish. I’ve reached out to most to personally thank you for your support this past year. A few handfuls to call out:

o   Our ‘other family 5 doors down’…you had your own adversities and yet you put me first with social distractions and were so incredibly empathetic sharing your own past unemployed experiences, truly understanding what I was going though (J) and (N), downplaying your greatest professional win. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to get back into ‘shop-talk’ over a glass of vino in the new year. Thank you for moving us with you; we are blessed to call you our CB family. 😉

o   my ‘Rock’…you let me get raw when I needed to, and you managed to keep up with all the funnel activities I would share even if you had no idea what the hell I was talking about. You are the greatest listener. 🤣

o   and my ‘Work-Wife’…no one more knew my professional worth more than you. Your words of encouragement every 2 weeks on WebEx were a lifeline. You reminded me of my abilities and therefore kept me confident. You’ll always be my work-wife regardless of where we work.

·       To my family who never stopped believing in me and prayed from afar. Your prayers are answered! I know it wasn’t easy to see me in pain. We’ve had a lot of highs and lows we went through together this past year and its our bond that guides our strength.  

·       To my professional network which again I’m proud happily grew especially in the Ottawa region this year. You kept your ears and eyes open on my behalf and you were amazingly supportive in responding to my ‘market me’ email campaign (special props to JP!). You have my assurance that ‘pay it forward’ is my commitment if ever required.

·       To my puppy Bailey. Who knew adding you to our family would give me such happiness. Our daily walks gave me Purpose each day.

·       To SJP who’s Sex in the City series was the refuge I needed at times when I just didn’t want to think at all. You’re my fashionista idol!

·       And finally, I dedicate this chapter to my soul mate, Peter. You took on every ounce of pain I endured and yet you never waivered to build me back up when I needed it the most and to celebrate my little wins with me along the way to keep me motivated. 😊 No woman is as lucky as I am to have a partner like you. I’m forever you’re Kimberley. You’ll never pay for another Lighthouse breakfast again. Lol

Thank you to my readers who supported my journey by reading my Bite Size Snacks to Feed your Soul series, commenting, liking and sharing. Most know, if you’re a good friend of mine, I go by the name of ‘Kimber’. Now that I’ve gone and opened my soul to you all, it only makes sense you too call me Kimber. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Signing off on this final chapter with a both a tear and a smile,