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Stay curious: once a teacher, always a teacher

© 2008 Avocationist · March 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Angelina Corbet
In the final part of our interview, Angelina Corbet explains how her many career shifts have helped her personal growth, and offers advice: “stay curious”.

“I think I’m at a very different place because I have done so many different things.”

This is the final of our five-part interview. Find out more about Angelina and Vocationing at www.themobiuscompany.com

Read the interview:

Avocationist: What are you most proud of among your various careers?

Angelina: I’m probably most proud of my facilitation work. I’m most proud of it because the groups I work with generally feel like they have accomplished what they wanted to accomplish in the time they’ve had together. It’s almost like they almost don’t notice that I’m there. It’s the opposite of being the actress. I’m most proud of the role that puts me in the place of not providing the content and not being center stage. But rather facilitating the power and the energy of the group.

Avocationist: You talked about your spiritual growth, what other areas have influenced who you are at this stage of your life?

Angelina: I would say, just a whole lot of experiences. I think people don’t realize that the best part of changing careers is how a new career or a new job gives you all of these experiences that you didn’t have before. I think I’m at a very different place because I have done so many different things.

Angelina: There’s that wealth of experience I have gotten through the variety of things I've done. I think that has brought me to a different place.

“Of all the things to look at, I would look first at what are you passionate about.”

Avocationist: What advice would you give to young people about their careers?

Angelina: Well, I would say of all the things to look at, I would look first at what are you passionate about. What is your heart’s calling? I think when you figure out what you are passionate about, then you can figure out, “Okay. I’m passionate about this. Now what kind of talents do I have or skills do I have? How can I get involved in that which I am passionate about?” Then the next piece of advice would be look for the different ways to get into that field. Don’t eliminate any options. It might be taking a class. It might be volunteer work. It might be an internship. In other words don’t close off any of the options. I would also offer the advice to “be curious”. Just be curious rather than being judgmental. Say, “Oh. I wonder what would happen if I did that?”, or “I wonder what that course would be like?” Being curious is what gets you to the next place.

Avocationist: How do you think "being curious" helps when facing a change?

Angelina: Being curious is about being open-minded. When you get there, that’s when you can be present, and intentional, and say, “Okay, well now that I’m here and I was curious and I got here. What do I want to do? What’s next?”

Avocationist: So, in other words, you get the most from these new experiences. As you described yourself, you started as a driven, "Type-A" kind of person - how do you hold back enough to look at other options?

Angelina: That is the process of letting go. That really is very much 40 years worth of wisdom and career experiences and that is very, very much from my spiritual practice.

Avocationist: Tell me more about your spiritual practice.

Angelina: My spiritual practice is very much focused on being in the moment and not attaching to a particular outcome. When you’re curious you don’t attach to the outcome. It really is a willingness to accept what is: “Well, you know what, let’s see. I wonder what could happen here? I wonder what this could bring? Who know what this could bring?” As an example from typical job searches, if I'm convinced I’m going to go have lunch with this guy because I’m going to convince this guy to give me a job and then everything you do building up to lunch has this attachment to getting this particular job. The whole conversation is geared that way. You’re just missing all the great stuff that could have happened while you were having that conversation. Maybe you weren’t supposed to have lunch with that guy to give you the job. Maybe that guy was supposed to tell you about somebody else who had a different job. You’ve got to just go to the lunch and say, “I’m going to see what happens. I’m going to listen to what he says and in the middle of all the things he says, maybe I’m going to hear what I’m supposed to hear because I’m not going to be in my head thinking about all this other crap that I’m attached to. But just thinking about listen to what he says.”

Avocationist: How would you like to be remembered at the end of all this?

Angelina: I don’t think anybody’s asked me that. How would I like to be remembered? When I write letters or email, I sign “In Service”.

Angelina: I would like to be remembered as someone who was present. Whether it’s present in the conversation, whether it’s present in an email. I’d like to be remembered as someone who was present and intentional. And made choices, whether they were good or bad.

“You really need to look at what you’ve done through a very broad lens.”

Avocationist: That’s great. Is there anything that you wanted to talk about that we didn’t get to?

Angelina: One other thing that helps in career transition is to realize that people have a tendency to cubby-hole their own skills. The example I use is when I wanted to leave teaching and work in computer programming. One of their concerns when I interviewed with Digital Equipment Corporation was “We really like to have our consultants at least have been exposed to some sales over the years. Even if you aren’t a sales person. You need to have worked with sales people. Or to have had experience with the sales process.” I was very quick on my feet and my response was, “Obviously you’ve never had to teach thirty 13-year-olds on a hot afternoon in June. I understand sales.” Very often, people will say, “Well, see I don’t have any organizational skills”, or “I don’t have any selling skills”. They don’t look more broadly at what they’ve done in life, and say, “Well, what did I do over there? That little thing that I did when I raised money for the church and I organized everybody to go out there, that was sales”. You really need to look at what you’ve done through a very broad lens, so that you don’t narrowly define what you’ve done. Rather, look at it from the bigger perspective and realize that it is very applicable to what you might want to do next.

Avocationist: A lot of it is about reframing how you think about yourself.

Angelina: Right. Exactly. I mean, I’ve talked with teachers who’ve wanted to leave teaching and say, “But, I’m a teacher. That’s all I’ve done. I’m a teacher.” I think, well if you’re thinking of yourself as only a teacher, then that’s what you’re only seeing. That’s what you’re only going to write on a resume. Let’s go back and look at the other things. What do you do in a relationship to parents? What do you do in the relationship to the organization? You can look at it very differently.

Avocationist: What’s next? What are you excited about now?

Angelina: What’s next. I’m continuing to do facilitating, coaching, teaching and story telling. A little bit more writing. What I’m most excited about is my husband just changed careers. He’s not been as adventurous up to now as I am. He just got in to the world of "going green". Talk about the future trend.

His timing was perfect. I’m really excited about taking what I’ve learned about building my business over the past ten years and helping him build his business over the next ten years.

We’re setting out to build a green home and we’re going to build an average green home for the average home buyer, so they can see you don’t have to spend a gazillion dollars and you can still have solar hot water and all the other stuff. I’m very excited about helping him with his business.

Avocationist: Yeah. The timing is phenomenal.

Angelina: It’s phenomenal.

Avocationist: You must love Al Gore.

Angelina: You could say we love Al Gore.

Next week, Avocationist brings the story of an at-home Mom turned art therapist.

Tags: Blended Career · Career Advice · Entrepreneur · November Newsletter · Personal Growth

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