Yes – I love my work! I haven’t always felt that way. Yet today, I can honestly say that I love coming to work. So what’s changed. A few things:
- I know my why.
I know what my purpose on this planet. And it’s not to get mine, or achieve a title or have the shiny house on the hill. Those things may happen and I’ve led a pretty amazing life. Yet my passion isn’t just about me. I am but the vehicle.
What I care about is helping people feel seen, expressed and heard at work. It’s that simple. How many of us don’t feel valued or appreciated? I speak with amazing executives every day who feel ageism, passed over for a promotion, underpaid, unable to influence – in short they aren’t seen, expressed and heard. Occasionally, I meet the executive who really ‘feels his oats’ to use a southern colloquialism. Yet when I sit with these people for awhile, they too have the same fears of inadequacy.
Now it didn’t magically happen that I woke up one day and said – “oh here’s my purpose.”
This leads me to #2.
- I crashed.
Fell to my knees. Felt the rug pulled out from beneath me. This happened in both my personal and professional life.
The man I loved left. I felt devastated. I began to question my entire value system and sense of self.
Around the same time, I had allowed a company to eat away at my confidence and treat me like a widget for 4 years. I didn’t feel seen or valued for the most part. Looking back I can see where I made decisions that slowly, bit by bit, gave away my personal power. I was left feeling angry. My identity was shaken. I have always been a high performer and yet I couldn’t figure out how to make this work.
Why did I stay? Fear? Laziness?
I just don’t recall having the energy to look for a role that suited me more completely. And I didn’t know what I wanted that next step to be. I really identified with my title – almost letting it define me completely. I felt paralyzed. For a while I blamed others in the company. I blamed the lack of leadership, the political infighting, poor communication. I wasn’t the legacy employee and had a different approach to strategy consulting.
My consulting approach was a collaborative client partnership model – yet I was with a client who preferred to be the expert. This translated to having great relationships with my clients – and perhaps they are part of the reason I stayed. Now my clients loved me – I felt valued and appreciated.
One quick story can highlight how the difference in philosophy really manifested into reality. I had been working on a program for a large pharma manufacturer. They wanted to shift the work from the US to Europe and wanted me to go lead it.
Can you believe my own company actually dinged me for doing good work and having a client that wanted to send me overseas. They didn’t want to deal with the visas and preferred to staff from Europe. Definitely an option, but that wasn’t the narrative.
They thought I was self-promoting rather than looking out for the best interests of the company. Pretty incredible – I felt judged and convicted without a fair trial.
Now looking back, I’m eternally grateful for both the personal and professional experiences.
Which brings me to #3.
- I found me.
All of me. I’m so grateful for the crash because somewhere along the journey I found me. What was holding me back? Why didn’t I believe in myself enough to say – enough.
I began looking inward. What was really calling me? What had all my successes and failures been preparing me for? What did I truly value? What did I truly enjoy?
I won’t say this was a quick journey. I invested in me. My journey of personal development was a journey into my soul. I adopted meditation. I started focusing on my diet. I reintroduced myself to a gym.
And cried a river – boy did I cry. I grieved for the perceived losses in my life. I felt the anger. I found mentors who were able to provide me a mirror that allowed me to see where I was serving myself and where I was sabotaging myself.
The grief, fear and anger started to move. It was truly important that I let the emotion flow rather than stuff it down and ‘just get on with it’. And when the grief, fear and anger passes – that’s where I returned to me. My sense of self-worth and value returned.
What did I learn?
I’ve learned that I am the owner of all my experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. I get to choose my life. I get to choose the companies, clients and joint venture partners that I want to work with. And I have a stronger sense of what will make those relationships work with ease. And I also have the strength to say no – and just walk away. Without fear. That little voice in the back of my head that says ‘you might need that income’ doesn’t rule anymore. I recognize my own value and worth.
The great thing is that when I started to make decisions from my worth rather than my fear – the ‘right’ doors have opened. I am working with people and for visions that get me excited to work! And I’m not working – I’m actually just living. Living the life I choose to live. A life of purpose and self-worth and service to humanity!
And when my story allows another to see that they can transform their life too – that makes a life worth living!