Being connected to yourself
Okay. So, what does that mean? That's a question I have been asked all the time when I offered such advice to colleagues in my field, freshers that I have mentored, reporters under my care, bosses and even prospective employers.
Let's start with a bit of context, first. A close friend once told me that I needed to be connected to myself if I am to be a good writer. That was years ago when I was in a bit of a flux, determining whether I wanted to call it quits in agency-level PR and return to good old Wall Street, after spending roughly a year abroad, leading public diplomacy and outreach initiatives for the UK Government, Finland-based Nokia amid its deal with Microsoft, and a Chinese telecom giant accused of an alleged involvement in cyber-espionage in the U.S.
Over the past two and a half years, I feel that I have come closer to realizing the essence of "being connected to oneself." Through a chain of concatenating events, both practical and spiritual, I see that, for me, it means living your truth and following your destiny; it means embracing yourself, as you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses; it means loving yourself unconditionally; it means finding wholeness and peace and joy within. I didn't reach such a state in one A-ha moment. It took several months, if not years, of practical and spiritual work. But, as I began to try opening up more to a higher dimension of consciousness, the results I had were fantastic. For starters, a news leader at a top media company campaigned for me to join the organization and catalyzed a series of events where a large team created a business case to create a new position, just for me. Before, during and especially after that, I found myself being the first port of call, as a journalist, from top bankers, lawyers, financiers, and other Wall Street doyens, who wished to speak with me [sometimes, anonymously] to offer me tip-offs on backroom deals, boardroom drama, and more. The relationships I cultivated with my sources, and the stories and scoops, which resulted from those blessed relationships, catalyzed my felicitation as an outstanding journalist as part of a prestigious North America-wide industry award, I must say, to my greatest surprise since I was not aware of selections made by a 50-member committee until I found my name on a press release earlier in 2017.
You see how this works? I do not say this to brag, but to emphasize that it was first important for me to learn to trust myself and believe in myself, before I could have my sources and other professionals trusting me as much as they do, now. Does that make sense? Because the external world really mirrors what you feel within. What you feel about yourself. And I cannot emphasize enough how much happier and more successful we would be if we did not listen to that voice in our heads, which constantly berates us, reminds us of our shortcomings and/or puts us down. That's not true. Because we are all essentially beings of infinite love, although we are having a physical experience on earth as part of humanity. That's what this is about. Without the backing and/or trust and respect I had from my sources and clients, I would not have produced as many scoops and exclusives on Wall Street or been felicitated as an "outstanding" journalist. Without the backing and support of numerous sources and experts for my upcoming novel, "VICTIMS FOR SALE", I would not have received a book deal from HarperCollins. But, I earned their trust, respect and love after I learned to first do that for myself - a practice that was originally hard since I had spent more than two decades putting myself down and wallowing in low self-esteem [amid other experiences in my earlier life, that would perhaps be a separate topic of discussion, if I decide that is best for me to share]. Long story short, this is what "being connected to yourself" means, for me - finding wholeness within, loving yourself unconditionally and living your truth.
And it is beautiful to see how shifting one's perspective and dimension of consciousness can impact one's professional life directly, especially one's lifeblood as a journalist and/or writer, whether one is a writer of fiction or non-fiction. Whether you are a journalist, novelist or a non-fiction writer, or some combination thereof [like me!], you can infuse your writing with more soul if you live through your characters. This logic isn't just for novelists and fiction writers; it holds true for hard-core war correspondents and financial journalists, too. [As one of numerous examples, I lived through the character of Williams Cos.' top chief, Alan Armstrong, and sought to get into his line of thinking about why he would never sell out the natural gas bellwether as long as he remained CEO. Though I never cited him directly, this approach catalyzed one of several stories that I've heard moved the needle in the energy sector in some way]. The same logic holds true for professionals in any field, ranging from financial engineering to astronomy: Live through the characters you're addressing in real life; in other words, put yourself in other people's shoes before dishing out an impulsive response, and you'll see how far that approach can take you.
Some musings here that I wanted to share upon multiple requests, at different points of time in the recent past, from all my peeps [mostly industry buddies and folks looking for collabs with me] about what exactly "being connected to yourself" means.
In lighter vein: I am off to Prague in the morn as part of a semi-sponsored book research tour. I will be live-blogging, but my email access is intermittent. If you are looking for a business/collab meeting with me in the meantime, or even just hoping to chat about this further and/or related topics, I'll probably first point you to this blog ahead of seeing me!
Much love, N
Amid my research tour - Atop the Euromast