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Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley

Knitting a New Life

If you missed the live online chat with Jane and her guest, professional knitter Betsy Lee McCarthy, you can catch the conversation here.

Comment from Chris Holtz: Hi Jane and everyone! Regarding how to figure out "what" to reinvent yourself as, there are many avenues. Every state has a bureau of employment security where a person can get free career counseling, which can involve taking "interest inventories," exploring transferable skills, exploring one's core values and reviewing work and volunteer opportunities connected with those areas. Also, community colleges offer free and almost-free courses that can turn light bulbs on for us—just browse their catalogs. We can also ask close friends and relatives what they think our greatest gifts and strengths are. That's frequently enlightening. In the end, I think we just have to get started on something and we'll know in our heart when it's right for us.
Pauley: I think it's very insightful that we need objective contributions to our own self-assessment. We may recognize our face in the mirror, but we haven't been making an ongoing list of our strengths, weaknesses, and interests. I couldn't give you even a short list of my passions. But be careful who you solicit. Family can have a tendency to see us as we used to be—or how they need us to continue to be. They don't necessarily do this out of maliciousness. All that said, one of the most important insights I've ever had about myself was given to me by my sister Ann, who told me, "Jane, you have a gift for helping people see themselves in powerful new ways." I never thought about that before, but when she said it, I recognized that it was true. I realized that whatever I did in my future, large or small, that helping other people see themselves would have to be a part of it.

Comment from Sherry:
[On the Today show segment] Betsy's husband commented about what she had accomplished during the day, and I guess that's the question I ask myself about taking something I love (knitting is one) and accepting that it's a justifiable change in my career path. I've taken a part-time job at an independent bookstore. It satisfies a reading passion yet [the work] feels more like a way to keep my mind active and a little spending cash in my pocket. How and when does the acceptance come that this is a true life change? The old work ethic seems to interfere here.

McCarthy: Yes, it is interesting how the voices we hear from the outside sometimes make us question the decision that we've made. I think it's important to really listen to yourself. The person who just wrote in obviously loves the combination of book store and knitting, but at the same time she has the feeling that maybe it's not justified. We are the ones who know if it's right for us. Maybe, if too many people in our environment are not being supportive, it's good to start looking for groups or people who smile upon what we do so we can get positive feedback and feel comfortable with our decisions.

Pauley: If Sherry can find a way to share her passion for reading with other people, it might give her a very profound sense of justification in what she's doing. It might be a simple matter of making the point to look out for customers who appear as if they might need her help. At the end of the day she can total up all of those chances that she took to help someone.

McCarthy: That's right. If I had just stayed home and knitted to please myself, I wouldn't be feeling the way I do.

Comment from Tena: I'm very excited about "Your Life Calling." The ambiguity comment hit home with me. I recently experienced the loss of a parent and a job of 23 years in a very short amount of time. I just turned 50 and have lots of thoughts running through my head. My favorite saying these days is, "Jump and the net shall appear."
Pauley: I am very much of that temperament, Tena. However, in hindsight, I realize that it took me nearly four years of collecting ideas, and taking them out into the marketplace so to speak, before I found the right partnerships. I'm very grateful I had the patience—patience not being one of my virtues—to wait until the right people, partnerships and opportunities lined up. What do you think Betsy?

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