Generally, I avoid using marketing materials to describe what I “do.” It feels to me like using brochures or shoving business cards down people’s throats somehow adds a ‘snake oil’ component that distracts others from my intentions. Those intentions, that I work hard at maintaining daily, basically focus on strengthening my personal integrity and building new relationships while building a healthier community.
Not to say that using materials to network wouldn’t be smart, as I aim to make a living, but it just isn’t who I am. So, you probably won’t see anything about me at the next health fair or support group meeting. This website is enough for me and referrals from people matter more than anything.
What I have been asked to do, however, is to write up a bio and put together a CV (Curriculum Vitae) for new collaborations with Naturopaths and health systems that I’m now working with directly. It has been a struggle to comb through years of service work, counseling, grant writing, program development, crisis intervention/family mediation, youth case management, graduate studies, research, and so on. I’ve also learned that it is very important to include volunteer work, which only made this whole exercise that much more daunting.
This additional recommendation of using volunteer work as “work experience” reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a workshop participant about how much work living with chronic illness can be for all of us. Simply managing all that we have to manage to get through our days, weeks, months and years is, in itself, a full-time job.
My exercise in getting this bio/CV put together has been to go back to my professional beginning (starting in high school, apparently) and identifying all of my skill building opportunities that have contributed to who I’ve become over the years. Basically, write my professional story.
I would say that we could all stand to take some time and write our story, as if learning to manage the challenges of our health has become what we “do.” Why not? We keep going to workshops, reading books, searching the internet, taking classes, going to our medical providers….all under the assumption of “If I just knew…”
Through my work as a facilitator, and based on my past service work experience, you will discover what I have over the past couple of days in doing this exercise…
we already know a hell-of-a-lot…and it’s damn time to give ourselves some credit for it.
Take time to stop expecting someone out there to have more knowledge about how to care for ourselves better than we already do. Give ourselves more credit in the level of expertise based on our own personal experience, trial-and-error and real-time living.
Write your own C.I. (e.g. chronic illness) ‘resume’ – you will be shocked at how powerful your own professional skills have truly become over time.
And smile – you’re amazing.