A number of years ago I had an epiphany (my wife calls it a brain fart) – I was in a job that I enjoyed with a team I really liked but didn’t feel fulfilled. I had been in the organisation for a while, our industry had suffered a significant downturn and we weren’t handling it particularly well, it was an extremely difficult environment. On the other hand, my wife loved her job more than anyone that I know, and I wanted some of that.
In the space of a week 3 major things happened that helped change my direction.
- A good friend of mine passed away after battling cancer for 18 months, he fought it hard but, in the end, accepted the cards he was dealt with grace which was tragic and admirable at the same time.
- That same week we had our 3rd restructure in 4 years, I was one of the “lucky” ones still with a role unlike my boss and number of my colleagues. It was shaping up to be a pretty shitty week.
- A day later I ran into a friend who suggested I should do a leadership retreat that she was assisting organise which, to cut a story short, I did that weekend.
At the retreat my friend mentioned to the facilitator that she hadn’t heard me laugh the whole weekend. We had shared an office a number of years before and had enjoyed many great belly laughs during that time. She asked me where I was up to with my training company, I couldn’t even remember the conversation much less the idea. This made me reflect on where I was heading and became the beginning of a very confronting time in my life that provided the opportunity for me to reset my compass.
A couple of lessons from this:
- You only get one chance at life, there is no trial run – a few years ago I saw a television show that suggested 1% or people are living their dream and at the time I remember thinking, jeez that’s pretty sad for the rest of us.
- Tune into the signals provided by caring family and friends, often they will know you need to change your environment before you do.
- Having clarity is contagious, within weeks of my decision I felt so energised that almost everyone around me commented on how happy I was. I am not sure who said it but I love the saying “99% is hard 100% is easy”
- Take control Michael Jordan says “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
Fast forward 3 years, I now run my own Sales Training & Coaching business, my life’s vision is to live in a world where people love what they do and are proud of who they are. It is still early days and I have had some (read heaps) really tough ones but I know that I am now a better husband, father and friend for living my life on MY purpose, not someone else’s KPIs.