One of the most amazing things that has transpired since I left corporate America is reconnecting with old colleagues and friends. Many have experienced parallel journeys, journeys I was oblivious to when I was enveloped in my bubble, journeys I am now inspired by and can relate to.
Susan was a senior leader at my former company. She was one of the best. I never hesitated to put her in front of my customers. She always upheld her commitments and truly added value to my business. I remember hearing that she was leaving the company and had this overwhelming feeling of disappointment, like there was a chink in the armor of a company I drank kool-aid from daily. I could not believe they would let her leave. Meanwhile, now knowing or understanding the rationale and the conflict behind her decision, I see the beauty in her choice.
Reconnecting years later she shared this journal article with me, and I wanted to share it with you. As you read her words, her story, can you relate? Are you sacrificing your soul for something that keeps you tied to your employer? If it weren't for money or a car or benefits, would you still be there? Take a listen:
I remember very clearly the peace that I felt when I made the decision to leave my longtime corporate career. Although in hindsight I can see now that this really wasn’t a decision about my career, but rather a decision to live congruently within my soul. I had a certain amount of time to think things through before committing to my decision to leave.
My mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis had initially been my wake-up call and it was very evident that she needed additional care and oversight. Even then, as the deadline of my decision approached, I would waver and question myself. Could I really leave my career? 28 years invested? A lucrative job that offered financial “security”? My children were still finishing or soon heading off to college?
On and on, the doubts persisted…. such that, I even began to rationalize that my mother would probably be just “fine” despite increasingly strong evidence to the contrary. I ventured out in nature as I usually do when I need to quiet my mind and listen to my innermost voice. I decided to go on a long hike on a nearby mountain trail in hopes of gaining clarity. As I was descending the trail, I was still vacillating as to whether to leave my corporate job. I stopped for a moment in my tracks and just simply asked myself, “If it wasn’t for the money, would I be doing this job?” The answer was, “No” and it was accompanied by a very peaceful feeling throughout my entire body.
Despite not knowing (and somewhat fearing) what exactly all the answers were, I knew that I wanted to maintain that peaceful feeling. This feeling of inner peace would be my new barometer. It would be my new “feeling” checkpoint, should I start to waver again in my decision, and I did waver again. Multiple times.
Despite feeling resolute and peaceful with the decision I made during my hike on the mountain, doubts would invariably creep in as my deadline soon approached. Indeed, I would catch myself rethinking, overanalyzing, and of course, begin wavering. I “checked” myself most of the time when anxious feelings arose about my fears of an unknown future and shifted my focus instead to the inner peaceful feeling I had during my moment of feeling congruent with my soul on the mountain. Yet still, I wavered.
One specific “waver” transpired just about a week later after my epiphany on the mountain. I was driving to the airport for a business trip in my new company provided vehicle. About 8 months prior to entertaining any thoughts of leaving my corporate job, I had elected to upgrade to a nicer company vehicle for $3,600. The car was delivered just a few months prior to my decision to leave.
The car was fun to drive, nice, and brand new! Could I really give it up? Let alone, could I get my money back? Nonetheless, here I was bartering with my soul over a $3600 non-refundable upgraded new car! I shocked even myself. I then laughed out loud at myself when I became conscious that I was seriously entertaining reversing my decision over a vehicle!
The ego can be a formidable foe when faced with real dynamic change or fears of the unknown. However, this time my soul persevered and I followed the soothing, comforting feeling that inner peace provides when living congruently within it. I submitted my resignation to the company just a few weeks later. Within days of my resignation, I was driving down the road in a 10-year-old vehicle with 90,000 miles on it that we had used to transport kids, dogs, etc. over the years. I couldn’t have been happier.
Thank you Susan for sharing your experience with our community!!!
I hope you found her experience insightful. Whether you are in the perfect occupation with the perfect employer or the contrary, it is always good to do a barometer read. Make sure your work is feeding your soul and that you are there for reasons beyond financial or fringe benefit. If the answer is no, sit in the driver seat and boldly, bravely, turn towards the unknown. Your soul is worth it!