Sometimes we just keep pushing ourselves, constantly on the move, seeking a better life, a better job, a better place to live, a better car, a better partner – there is always something that has to be better. But it often comes at high personal cost…
As much as it’s healthy to have motivation, it can also create restlessness or a lack of fulfilment, which in turn can be counter-productive against your goals and your happiness levels.
What if you pause for a moment and live as if you’ve already got that better life, the better job etc… and adopt deep gratitude for everything that you have got? Surely that way you enjoy the ride for the ride itself and good things will happen. I’m a great believer in karma and what you put out, comes right back to you. In the same way, when you remove the heaviness of self-imposed pressure, everything comes together as it should.
There are many career chapters that I’ve experienced, which have brought about challenges both good and bad and that have ultimately allowed progression towards something better.
My twenties were about learning and moving forward. It was a natural growth period when I had nothing to lose. My goals were primarily monetary, and I went hell for leather, immersing myself into work and social life, the two intertwined. Who wouldn’t join that merry go round? It was fun, quick paced and I climbed high. The 90’s were when Lettings was really starting to take off.
Hitting six figures by age 29 was a big deal. It didn’t so much matter that it wasn’t my favourite role, but I did it and I remember my late father telling me that what was important was that I achieved it young and it was a CV marker. How right he was.
My thirties were about integrating a fulfilling work life around a young family – a very hard thing to do back then – and developing greater awareness of softer skills, stakeholder management and becoming a more authentic version of my real self, at work.
At first I felt exposed. The motivation was still there, but I was becoming more comfortable in my skin and actively showing my more caring as well as professional side. After all the commodity in which I trade is people and relationships and getting those right is so very important. The relationships, the variety and complexity of work content overtook any monetary gain and diminished that previously important driver.
GET RID OF TOXICITY
Well my 40s are proving interesting. In the early part, they’ve been one of my most challenging work chapters. I’ve never been a huge fan of politics and deliberately exposing myself to toxic people and environments, but I ended up royally ensconced in the thick of one. Note to self: you can’t change rotten cultures even if the change you desire is for the right reason. When people ask ‘would you do it all over again?’, my reply is absolutely not, don’t waste your time in a place that doesn’t align with your values and vice versa.
I loved my team and I loved my role, but the rest quite frankly was an unhealthy energy drain. I learned how cruel and weak certain ‘kindred’ colleagues could be; smile to your face, conceal truths and stick a dagger in your back. Thank goodness it’s over, you only go through that once (I hope) and I can now safely say that it was a defining chapter as it led me back to myself and stamped out the self-doubt that had accrued from being in the ‘wrong place’ for far too long.
This could have been immensely damaging, both personally and professionally, but luckily those who know me, knew the truth. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, but maybe it had to happen to return me back who I really am and what I stand for. It was certainly character building on so many levels.
A new self-awareness
So, I find myself now happy, motivated, more than comfortable in my own skin, back working for a former client and loving it, with the sole focus of doing a great job, with and for great people. By that I mean people who value one another; who work in collaboration of one another; push forward for the greater good of the company; are positive, happy, get on with it and deliver.
At the end of the day titles are just ‘badges’ to collect the higher you climb and shouldn’t define us or give us the grandeur to behave badly and disrespectfully. They just help position your experience in the context of getting things done efficiently within the framework of a team.
What have I really learned? Don’t fixate everything on money, power and position. It comes to you as easily as it is taken away. Once you focus on what you’ve got to give and you believe in a world of abundance everything that you need naturally comes your way.
I also learned that poor behaviour is often based on fear and that there’s a lot of it in certain work places. Like everything, it’s more about you as a person that defines the work that you do and the legacy that you leave behind. How you engage with others and how you can help them is far more fulfilling than any self-gain. The moment you let go and show your true self, weaknesses and all, the more you attract and surround yourself with good people.
SIMPLICITY IS KEY FOR FLOW
Keeping it simple doesn’t mean I don’t have major stress days, targets to hit and strategies to deliver. It just means that I use my energy carefully. Some call it ‘flow’ when you’re in the zone working at optimum capacity and clarity. That’s where I’m at now and plan to be going forward.
A little forgiveness also goes a long way. After all, we are all human navigating our way through our personal and work lives and as much as people chose us to share their journey, we have the same choice to let them into our life, or not.