Improvisation, Giving, and Career/Self Reinvention

Today is my first day of work as a freelance recruiting professional.  I am thrilled to have two projects to sink my teeth into.  It’s been a wonderful process to get to today.

This past week my mentor, friend and colleague, Dr. Fred Newman, passed away.  Fred taught me many, many things but one of the most important things he taught me is to give, give again, give some more, and give in the particular way that he expresses in his practical guide to continuous development, Let’s Develop:

Be unexpectedly giving for “no reason at all” to someone who is unlikely to give you anything in return.

It’s been a hard road to learn how to give in this way, after all we live in a culture that is all about getting. Learning this from Fred and other colleagues has changed my life.  How did I get here?  I gave everything to my friends — the fear, the insecurities, the doubt that I could leave a job after 15 years and go out on my own.  And then I accepted the offers that my friends gave to me, I built with them (giving to my friends in this way), even if I thought they were asking me to do the impossible.

Accepting all the offers people give us, saying yes, and building with everything we have is the essence of improvisation.  As human beings we have the opportunity to create and recreate/reinvent our lives.

As one friend put it, “Let’s soak up all the offers the world has to give us” — yes and let’s develop by giving.

Thank you, Fred.

I am quite pleased that a wonderful article written by Jude Trader-Wolff was just published online; it features an interview she conducted with me about improvisation and career/self-reinvention.