And Claim Your True Calling
“Creating your life on your own terms is really about allowing for grace through your next transition.”
I woke up in a dreadful fury. The red light on the alarm clock glared at me: 5:30 a.m. A few more minutes of sleep was all I wanted – anything to put off going back to another useless morning meeting.
Does this sound like your average day? It used to be mine.
For many years, I had enjoyed my job, but now it felt more like a prison sentence, and I knew I had to find a way to escape. I decided that I deserved to follow my creative calling. It was time to get real, face my fears, develop a career transition plan, and become the mistress of my own destiny.
I was unconsciously bumping around from one role to the next, one task to the next, seemingly dead inside. It made me ask myself: how had I become numb and cut off from a world filled with abundance and wonder?
What does going through the motions look like? Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when you’re just “bumping around” while you’re still bumping around. You may feel confused, fearful, angry, and scattered. You may distrust your own decisions and feel more worried or anxious than normal. The pain of an uninspired work life lends itself to a reactionary autopilot protection program that only makes things worse. Living on perpetual autopilot does not serve anybody well.
One big red flag for change is that you’ve been putting your life on hold. Are you waiting for your tenth anniversary watch/clock/golf clubs before moving on? Are you putting off having children or taking a life-changing adventure vacation because you “can’t afford” to be away from your desk? If so, ask yourself what you’re really waiting for.
I remember precisely when I realized I was ready to let go of everything and pursue my calling. I was in a meeting with my peers and our newly-appointed general manager. The true purpose of the meeting was lost as a discussion about the future of our sales force suddenly took a nose dive, becoming a mosh pit of ruthless judgments. The experience was awful. I lost my cool while being interrogated by someone with absolutely zero knowledge of sales management and even less compassion for our tenured sales staff. I was trapped in the no-win game of arrogance and corporate garbage, and I experienced a complete emotional meltdown.
At that moment I completely shut down; I looked out the conference room window. Blazing across the sky was an intense, perfect rainbow. I was the only person in the room with this spectacular view, and in that instant, I knew I had to get out of the company to save my soul.
Another sure sign of impending change is the feeling that you must make a difference in the world. The paycheck and the benefits are no longer enough. For me, a major turning point was the realization that selling television commercials does absolutely nothing meaningful for the world. Advertisers spend stacks of cash to promote products like Viagra and Lipitor so the general public can get an erection and eat more cheeseburgers.
This wasn’t an easy truth to swallow: I had invested much of my life in the television advertising business, and I loved the game – until I didn’t anymore.
Hey, people change.
In fact, we are all changing every day: evolving, growing, and learning; researching, soul searching, and witnessing our lives. But these are small changes, accomplished over time. If you want to make a big change, begin by focusing on your current scenario. Where are you right now in relation to where you want to be? When your life is more miserable than happy because you no longer fit into the confines of your career, it’s time to a) get a new job, or b) become an entrepreneur.
My internal transition lasted for almost one year. Before I was ready to move forward, I had to have several deep and lengthy conversations with my husband, move around investments, secure a line of credit, negotiate a healthy severance package, and buy a new car. Admittedly, this part of the planning process was uncomfortable for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants woman who’d never thought about money, but I’m glad I went through it. Once those things were out of the way, it freed me up to flesh out the other aspects of my business plan. It’s difficult to dream big if you’re worried about where the groceries are going to come from next week!
In the beginning, my inner critic would berate me with statements like: “How could you walk away from eighteen years of sales and leadership success to do this? Reinventing yourself is a waste of time.” When I heard that voice I would do my best to think, “Nonsense! Cancel! Clear!”
Fear is the biggest saboteur of your auspicious goal to reinvent yourself. Fear can take hold of you and cling like an evil shadow until you decide to take action. The voices in your head that mutter things like, “I can’t,” “I’m afraid,” “I’ll let somebody down,” “I’m not good enough,” or “Don’t quit your day job!” represent pesky negative programming that must be undone. If you don’t address it, you will continue to play on a fear-breeding mental merry-go-round.
When undertaking my own transition, my biggest fear was losing everything I’d created over a lifetime serving the television industry. I had power, money, an exquisite lifestyle and lots of material wealth. How could I chuck the stability to follow my dream? I struggled with severe self-doubt. Was I a fraud? Could I really go it alone?
After thoughtful consideration and soulful conversations with loved ones, moving toward my dreams became my ONLY option. Transformational coaching, writing, voice work and yoga have become the stones that pave my way. Learning to honor my natural rhythm, explore new interests, and inspire others is hugely rewarding.
The process of uncovering your calling and learning to trust in yourself, your passion, and the Universe is like riding a wave of pure, unbridled joy. When the wave crests, you’re suddenly on top of the world – but you might also find a wash of peacefulness tugging at the corner of your lips, the promise of a smile.
Do you have the courage to face your fears and surrender to your true calling?