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  • Writer's pictureDaniloTambone

(1) The Ordinary World - When “Ordinary” rhymes with “Uneasy”

Updated: Mar 3, 2022



“I don’t know how long I can stand it” told me Christine. “I mean, the work that I do has no soul into it. There are timelines, there are yearly and quarterly goals, that I regularly meet and even exceed, but my company treats the customers as sheer numbers… there’s no trace of humanity into it. I mean, I love making sales, but I want to provide people with value for them, not trick and stuff them up. I feel there’s something more for me to pursue, away from this game. There’s more in the equation than just figures, but they don’t get it.”


I could hear the passion and determination in her voice.


“What keeps you there then?”


“Money. I regret to say that, but it’s money. Our young boy, the new home we’ve just moved in, the mortgage… I have to play it safe.”


And then went on, thoughtful, “And also, as an employee, I don’t have the freedom to just go out in the market and reinvent myself.”

Then she looked me in the eyes, and continued, “You told me that you were able to shape-shift from employee to freelance consultant, and even to change industry multiple times, didn’t you? How were you able to do that?”

 

There are moments in our lives when we are no more at ease with our “Ordinary World”. On the cover things may look just fine, but inside we have a feeling of uneasiness.


The “Ordinary World” is the place where we are right now. It’s made up of our relationships, our acquaintances, our possessions, our image of ourselves, our thoughts about what’s right and what’s wrong. And we tell ourselves that, the more stable this looks like, the safer we feel.

Yet life is constant change, by its own definition. The sun rises, shines, and goes down, and then gets ready for a new day. And so do we. A “stable” sun in the sky would dry up everything, and a sky permanently dark would let no life emerge. This very constant dance is what makes life possible.

There are moments when we recognize that, doesn’t matter how safe we are, something inside has changed and we don’t fit anymore with what we see around us, as in the case of Christine.

We have somehow grown internally and feel constrained by the cage of those same thoughts that had made us feel safe before.

And, our inner knowledge tells us that there is something more to explore.

Or, people or events remind us that we have changed, and that it’s time to move on to the next steps of our lives.

 

Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any troubles! tells Aunt Emily to Dorothy. A few minutes before, Dorothy had disastrously fallen into the pig sty requiring an immediate rescue operation by the three farmhands.


Dorothy lives in a black-and-white, adult’s, Ordinary World.


Her aunt and uncle, too busy with the chores required to carry on their farm there in Kansas, have no time for her childish games.

She purposefully gets into multiple troubles to call for their attention, but her aunt invites her to grow, and to step into the adult’s world.


“A place without troubles… Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?” asks Dorothy to her cute little dog. “There must be”, she mutters.

And then, looking at the sky, she gets hit by the intuition that “Somewhere, over the rainbow…” she’ll find that place.


A few hours later, a twister will hit her family’s farm, and she’ll get projected into the fully Technicolor World of Oz, kicking off her Heroine's Journey.

 

In Ithaca’s Palace, Telemachus' frustration is growing.


In the absence of his father Odysseus, king of Ithaca, more than a hundred Proci, noble young men from Ithaca and other nearby islands, are asking for the hand of Penelope in marriage. In fact, voices are that Odysseus might have died in Troy’s war or on his journey back home, and they want to take profit of the situation.


Telemachus is still too young to throw them out, and Penelope has tried for three to four years to take time. These suitors have become in the meantime permanent houseguests at the palace, behaving badly and exploting the king’s estate.


This is the “Ordinary World” at the beginning of the Odyssey. The situation cannot be dragged on any longer.


It’s time for Telemachus to grow up and reclaim his power.


 

There are also situations where, in spite of a world that is changing around us and that suggests a prompt adaptation from our side, we are scared to let go of our assumptions and we shut ourselves away from any change, inside and outside.


Those assumptions have kept us safe for long, haven’t they?


Maybe we just have to push a bit longer, the right track may not be so far from where we are.

And, stuck in our mind, we feel victims of a world that refuses to support us.

 

In 2012 I was at the top of my professional career.


I was in a mid-management role, good salary, working for a multinational company.


I had already survived the 2009 international financial crisis that had put on halt the construction sector I was coming from.

I had reinvented myself as a project and program manager in the field of large photovoltaic plants. Lots of responsibilities, and good recognition.


Life was good.


Then, in that same year, the financial incentives that were promised by the Government to the Renewables sector with a medium-long term were suddenly reduced and finally cut out.


My company and practically all the ones that were in that industry had to shut off.


I suddenly found myself without a job, having spent the last three to four years in a no more existing sector and with the construction industry still in dire conditions.


On top of this, my experience, know how, and professional credentials, that had been my pride and safety net, guaranteeing my job stability for so long, back-fired at me.

In fact, companies were at most looking for low job profiles and didn’t want to invest on professionals, having themselves no long-term visibility because of the uncertain market.


At that time, I would have never considered freelancing consulting.

I was too scared by what looked like to me the “instability” of self-employment, having been raised in an “open-contract mindset” family and with no successful entrepreneurial examples in my strict circle to take inspiration from.

I was too attached to my previous “Ordinary World” and I was stubborn enough to wanting it still in place, in spite of the signals telling me that it was time to change.


So I dragged myself on.


Hundreds of CVs sent everywhere, job interviews, even 3 months spent in UK looking for a job there.

I was competing with younger candidates who were more in line with the lower expectations from employees during such an economic crisis.


Interviewers were not convinced by my sincere desire to simply get back to work, even at a lower employment level. “If we hire you with this huge curriculum that you have at the price point that we have available here”, they kept telling me, “in a few months you would go away hired by someone else able to pay you more”.


And each interviewer’s reply was the copy of the previous one.


Nonetheless, I kept going, stubbornly stuck into the open-ended contract mindset.


Or rather, into my “closed-minded” world.


I was in denial, obsessing with the thoughts that, if I would have let go of all the titles and know-how I had accumulated along the way in “my industries”, it would have been a failure.


“I” would have been a failure.


And then, an insight stroke me: what if I applied those project management skills to sectors different from the ones I had grown into?

What if, leaving aside the “hard skills” gained in construction, I opened myself up to techie sectors that I had informally cultivated throughout my personal and professional life, like IT and Software Development?

Would that be convincing at all for prospective companies?


Suddenly new potentials seemed so near.


Crazy, but near.


At least, something different to try.


I anyway couldn’t keep going any longer with the idea that I, the family man, was not bringing home decent money, and that our economic survival was on my wife and on other supporting aids coming from my family of origin.


It was time to change my Ordinary World.


I started planning for my personal and professional transformation.

I looked for, and found, allies along the way, like the accounting firm who gained my trust and who has kept supporting me since, and I finally registered for VAT.


It had taken me two full years before jumping into the void.


What I didn’t know at the time was that it was just the first jump, and that it would have been the less scary one in comparison to the others that would have expected me in the next few months and years to come.


And I hadn’t even yet listened to a real call.


I was just forced to move on by the force of desperation.


But, at least, I was on the move.

 

These examples show the very moment when, in our Ordinary World, the “Seeds of Change” are planted.


And the “Call”, that we will explore in the next post, is just one thought away.

 

INSIGHTS CHECKPOINT

  • Are there areas in your life where you feel uneasy and relentless?

  • Is there a calling that you keep at bay by telling yourself that you should be grateful for what you have, be “real”, and stop being selfish and foolish and looking for impossible dreams?

  • Have you ever been forced by the events to take decisions anyway, much later than needed and in then difficult situations, while you could have taken them before in a much easier way?

  • What does your higher wisdom and innate intelligence tells you to do?


 

Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to open up to your potentials?


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Love,

Danilo


 

The Journey so far:

Copyright © Danilo Tambone. All rights reserved.

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