Life Meets Work

A few months ago I had the opportunity to coffee shop with an executive who, ironically, had decided to resign from her job the very same morning of our meeting (see my post about her decision: Resignation Day) . It was bold decision and beginning of an entirely new chapter in her professional journey. I didn’t know her then. I do now. I am proud to call Teresa my friend.

When I first wrote about Teresa I referenced a “transformational event in her personal life” serving as a catalyst to move her toward meaningful change. Teresa isn’t just a careerist. She is a whole person. Devoted wife. Mother of two. When her husband suffered a life threatening injury in a near tragic accident she shifted her perspective. Through that experience she handled more than most while managing to prepare to walk away from work that provided her with all of the comfort one might seemingly covet during such a challenging time. She describes her process as finally “finding the courage to listen to her inner voice and align with her purpose.” She wanted to feel alive at the office again. Work on work that matters. She was intent on taking her shot.

I had the opportunity to visit with her again this week to catch up on how she was progressing a few months into the new chapter. As we settled into the coffee shop conversation she indicated that she was about to experience another, unplanned and fairly significant life altering event. I pressed and she replied:

“We are expecting twins.”

Life is an unpredictable story. This is her version. Let the magnitude of that sink in for a moment.

I was prompted to inquire about her career trajectory in the midst of so much significant personal change. Did she regret leaving her big, stable corporate job? Did she go beg for it back? What was she going to do?

I don’t know that she has it all figured out. I don’t know that any of us do. I do know that she embraces change and is emotionally invested and excited for what is next and new. That includes the new chapter in her work life which I believe is appropriately called Life Meets Work.

I couldn’t quite do the story of her career choice, confidence and courage justice. So in her own words:

Life Meets Work by Teresa

“I’m the one that gave up the office with a view. That walked away from the six figure salary. That left ten years of earned respect and professional equity sitting on the table. And for what? All because I felt like I was missing my mojo?

Foolish? Maybe. Courageous? Certainly. Worth it? Absolutely!

A former colleague just reviewed some of my new work and validated what I’ve been feeling since resignation day. She said “You absolutely made the right decision. Your passion for this topic is so clear. You can tell this is work you love”. It got me thinking. How long had it been since I’ve done work I love?

Over the past couple years I started to realize I had lost the passion for my job. But instead of taking action, I settled for the comforts that came along with the role and ease of doing work where I could perform exceptionally well.   The familiarity of the same company & co-workers. The safety of not having to put myself “out there”. What I didn’t immediately see setting in was the unhappiness. The stress. The lack of enthusiasm. The loss of vitality. The impact of those feelings on my whole life.

I finally generated the courage to listen to my inner voice and and get aligned again with my purpose. It is amazing how different I feel. I feel healthier. I have more energy. I wake up each day eager to get started on the work I love. I I have more to give to the important people in my life. The effects on my life have been profound.

I am truly a happy person.

While getting to resignation day wasn’t easy and came with hard work and a ton of risk, I can say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My only regret? Not reawakening the idle passion inside of me sooner. Some say that it is irresponsible to leave stability in pursuit of passion. That is fine for them. For me? There is simply nothing better than feeling alive again. Then being happy.”

NOTE: If you would like to meet Teresa we will both be speaking at the 2011 Work/Life & Flexibility Expo on October 11 in Minneapolis. Join us!

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