Recently, I had the most interesting synchronistic week. The week started out a little against my beliefs as I was working on Memorial Day. I don’t like to work on holidays but I had just taken on a marketing consulting project the week prior and we had a fast turnaround. I still do some marketing consulting work part-time and this was a great opportunity that came up for a short-term project. It seemed ideal and I was willing to work a little on a holiday since it was a fleeting situation.
On Tuesday I met with some of the other members of the project. I only knew the person who brought the project to me and she was great. We’d worked together before so I had no concerns about working on this project. Our meeting kicked off and it was all business. I was the new person and there wasn’t an acknowledgement of this strange new body occupying a chair in the room. I introduced myself.
We got to my section of the project and I was really off on all of it. I didn’t event get the opportunity to go through my slides before this one particular person on the team skipped ahead and fired back at me with everything that was incorrect. Considering I really didn’t know the business and it was my fourth day on the project I assumed there would be feedback. I’ve been in many project reviews but this was different. It was challenging and I was challenged and pushed. I was oil and water with this one person on the project. I didn’t think I had ever encountered this situation or if I did, I was so willing to please that I reacted differently in the past. This person was pushing all my buttons and I didn’t like it. One month I thought. I can do this for one month.
I left the meeting with an arm load of changes and set out to fix the presentation better.
The next day I started out my morning with yoga. The instructor, Silvia Mordini, is incredible. She dedicated the entire practice that day to “change”. “I am ready for change,” she kept repeating to the class as we moved from pose to pose. I kept repeating this in my head too. I was ready for change. I love change.
Later that day, I re-grouped with the project team members. Again I was challenged and pushed and treated as if I knew nothing about the subject I was presenting on. I suggested to this challenging person that they weren’t looking for my type of expertise, they needed something else – the job that apparently this person was hired to do. I hit a nerve. I wasn’t aware that it was their role. They hadn’t shown that expertise so far which is why I suggested they needed it. They pushed and jabbed and finally I couldn’t take it any longer and I jabbed back. They suggested I couldn’t do my job so I should get help. Ouch. In so many words, I reminded them that it was my fifth day and to take it down a notch. They were being a bully and I couldn’t allow it any longer.
I wasn’t rude but it wasn’t a proud moment for me. In the course of one week I’d gotten so stressed out and worked up that I couldn’t even be sane. I’d gotten caught up in their flow, in their unbalanced river of an off-kilter life. They also represented everything I was going away from – working all the time, doing emails in the middle of the night, and nothing to fill them up but work.
I decided it wasn’t the right fit for me. I needed to quit, one week into the job. I called my friend and we had a great talk. She was supportive and could see how stressed out it made me to work on this project. The project and the environment was out of alignment with everything I now stood for in my life – and continuing to develop in my life. Being there was taking me backwards. I’m not someone who typically looks back or goes back. Once I’ve completed something, it’s complete. I learn and move forward. I look forward.
After I spoke with my friend, I was elated! I had the biggest smile on my face. I couldn’t recall when I had felt so good recently. I went directly to an appointment after the call. At the appointment, they have a selection of inspirational cards that you can draw and get a message from. The cards that day were from the Dalai Lama. The card I drew said this, “Genuine happiness cannot be defined by material and sensual satisfactions, but only by mental and spiritual development that always acknowledges others and their needs.” I couldn’t have made this up. I realized at that time I had chosen my happiness over money for the first time in my life. That’s why I was so happy. I chose happiness. I chose coaching and helping people find happiness.
This flow and alignment with life is what my coaching practice and this site are all about. When you are in alignment and in the flow of your life, things are easier – it’s a cakewalk so to speak. When things are out of alignment, you’re struggling, you’re challenged, and you’re frustrated. The same week I was going through this struggle on this project, I had three new potential coaching clients come to me. It seemed that the universe wanted me to choose – struggle, or coach and serve others. The choice was very easy.
I know it’s not always easy to say no to a paycheck. I needed the paycheck. It was necessary to have the paycheck. It would have been very, very helpful to have that paycheck. I had hit a tipping point though and my happiness far outweighed the paycheck. I knew I would just have to get paid another way.
I know not everyone can make that decision. I’m thankful that I could. I think what’s helpful though is recognizing when you are in or out of alignment with things in your life. Maybe you are out of alignment with your job. It’s causing you a lot of pain to continue in the job and you can’t quit today. You need the paycheck. But take the time to notice what you are feeling about your situation and figure out what you can do to make a change. I know you might be exhausted and discouraged by where you are today, but even noticing that it’s not working is a step towards figuring out what will work. By taking any small steps today it will lead you towards what you really want and put you back in alignment with who you are.
The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.
– Mike Dooley