Events at Best Self Studio
Tony was born and raised in Massachusetts to immigrant parents in a family that would eventually house 5 children as the second youngest sibling to two older brothers, one older sister, and one younger sister. He seemed to get most of the attention being the youngest until his little sister was born. This seems to have been the beginning of not understanding (but later discovering) that direction, question, and communication is paramount in every single person’s life, and especially as a growing child and throughout young adulthood and later in life. Our personal relationships with people (places and things) shape us conditionally and also unconditionally throughout our growing, and are the most important things to our personal growth stability, and happiness we can have. So, as it turns out, relationships of all kinds are extraordinarily important to us as humans whether they are professional, comradery, or personal.
“The most important thing I’ve ever done is quitting my job (the first time) and putting myself through school. A program that through that decision and education still stands the test of time of how I got to where I am. In the Networking IT, and Applications world, one might think it’s all 1’s and 0’s and fixing broken computers and connections. True - but the keywords here is connections. The connections we have with everything we relate to (people, places, things) are
one of the most important cultural experiences we can have. It was at this point in my thinking I began musing at the notion that I was not doing what I was meant to and I was not being who I wanted to be. My potential was not being tapped, I felt there was little meaning in what I was doing, and my responsibilities were not being tested. I had no idea this was happening and not happening for me. Suffice to say, I was lost and didn’t know it until 15 years later.
By the time 2015 rolled around, I had worked for 3 different companies in IT and application engineer support. To clarify, I had been hired, quit, laid off, and re-hired to the same 3 companies more than once. In some respects, you could say “wow, they must have really liked you, to have hired you back after quitting, or laid off”. True, I could say that - and I did. On the other hand, what did I think of myself while continuing on this circular behavior of moving forward back continuously for 15 years. There is that lyric used across time in music “two steps forward, one step back”. This was exactly what I was doing. In some ways, I was taking steps forward to further my career, my monetary wealth, and my hierarchy in a technical field. On the other hand, I was taking steps backward that were costing me time, the personal wealth of wellbeing, and the continued existential question that was coming up in my thinking of “what is this all about” and “what am I really doing”.
It was in mid-2015 that I qualified at my current job for a sabbatical, of which I was grateful to reach that plateau. I was eager to take the time and try and figure out “some things” and hopefully make a plan for my future - only, I had no idea what that might be. For the next 12 weeks, I made a significant amount of changes, and considering I did not have to work for 3 months, the sabbatical I was granted started to show me what might be my real problem. Me. I knew it was me that was holding me back, but It wasn’t quite clear what, or why this was happening. It would be a question I would ask for at least the next few years, slowly gaining momentum towards some sort of answer. Once I came back to work I discovered the people I had hired to do my job had either quit, been fired, or simply were not living up to the job due to
lack of leadership (some of it on my part, some of it by the existing leadership that was then employed by that particular organization). Needless to say, I was frustrated and knew I had to do something. At that point, I started to formulate an exit strategy, but first I needed some guidance. My mentors were of no help since they were in the same technical space as me (and thus, the same challenges), leadership was existent, but would not likely be of much assistance since my goal was to leave the company, at least, this was my thinking.
This is where therapy comes in. In early 2016 I found a therapist and in my first session I exclaimed: “I hate my job and I hate my life”. Well, OK then the therapist said. After my first hour of therapy, I felt pretty good. Things were a bit more clear and I made a decision - I was going to quit that job and figure out what to do next. It was not the job that was the issue, it was my lack of taking a risk, the chance that something was on the other side of this abrupt ridiculous
decision to simply leave a job that is supporting me to live for the most part, comfortably. Between that day and the next session with my therapist, I was able to convince my leadership to lay me off due to stress, lack of direction from them as to what I was being used for within the company. A tough realization for both of us. At my next session, I told my therapist what I had done “WOW” they said…. “Now what?” Great question. The only answer I had was to try and disconnect myself from what I had been doing and try to figure out what I wanted to do. That would take some time, but that’s all I had, so I did just that. It was around mid-2017 that I realized the learning and growing I was doing on my behalf was really helping. My eyes were opening and I had come to the conclusion that the work was not the issue, my previous companies I had worked for were not the issue - it was me, my attitude, and my thinking. That’s when I sensed a change. I enjoyed and benefitted greatly from my therapy sessions, and wanted to give back in the same way. Earlier on in my life I had volunteered as Big Brother (BBBS, Org) and that was a learning experience, to say the least. I enjoyed it, but all things come to an end, eventually. Your little brother gets older, and that’s that. I missed the mentoring, the conversations, and the learning about what a young kid goes through in his life in juxtaposition to when I was his age (how time flies!). I started to think about what I could learn from that, the experience itself, and how I might try to give back in some way as my therapist had done for me, and how the experience of being a big brother and mentor had done years earlier. Eventually, I happened upon a deep digging internet search to figure this out. Massage therapist? No. Public /professional service like an EMT, or a city job, or something I felt was “important enough” for me and my ego. Nope. Then I found coaching, and what I thought I was coaching. I happened upon iPEC and enrolled without much thinking - because for me if I think too much about something, I end up talking myself out of it. And for me, at least historically, if I want to do something, I need to decide quickly or I will allow that idea to get sucked up into a black hole. The things I’ve learned from coaching, the people I’ve met (my “tribe) and the experience I had going through that learning process helped me decide not only what I wanted to do, but who I wanted to be. The experience itself single-handedly shaped my perspective on how I was living, and how I wanted to live. Now years later, I am still here, helping others as I was once helped, and getting those people who are my clients the perspective they need to come up with their own powerful solutions to their own life questions.
PS……. never burn your bridges! Those 3 companies I wrote about? I am still friends with the management of all 3. All in all, the positive relationships we have in our lives are the most important thing we have and so, we keep those regardless of our professional differences. Ending my bio rant, I would like to close out with a few quotes I say to myself when things are not going particularly favorable in [my] life.
● You’ve got to burn to shine (if you want to shine like the sun, first burn like the sun) - Adul Kalam
● If you can write, which is the actualization of your thoughts, and speak precisely what you think, you will be deadly in whatever you do. (paraphrased) - J.B. Peterson
● 7 times fall, 8 times get up (paraphrased) - Japanese Proverb
● Death comes to those who wait a lifetime to live - Tony Monte