My journey from depleted and pissed off
to energized and inspired.
Depleted and pissed off. That’s how I felt for all too often during the last few years of my hotshot New York City advertising career. For years, I worked with the world’s biggest brands on their advertising campaigns. I created partnerships between global media like Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, CNN Networks, and Fast Company, and brands like Lexus, Hilton, American Express, and LVMH. For years, the work was thrilling, energizing, and even glamorous.
I rose up the ranks by creating innovative deals that made tons of dough for everyone involved. I navigated airports, recessions, tech bubbles, and industry disruption on a regular basis. Most of the time, I was crushing it – nimbly putting out fires, appeasing grumpy clients, and babysitting frazzled colleagues. And while I was lauded for making sense of the chaos, I started to feel like I was being crushed – by office politics, 24/7 demands, endless meetings, a brutal commute, and a nagging sense that my work had no meaning.
Then, it got worse. I stopped sleeping. And when I did sleep, I broke teeth grinding through the stress of my job. I had no time for hobbies and barely knew the community I’d lived in for five years. Every day I would wake my daughter just before 7am so I could say goodbye before slogging through my commute. My husband seemed like an old friend I ran into every once in a while, over a pile of laundry or school forms. I swear my cleaning lady spent more time at my house than I did.
My career had become painful. I was missing so much of my life working my ass off.
Then one day as I sat listening to a guest speaker at my umpteenth global team meeting, a light bulb went on. Our speaker closed his remarks saying:
“The future does not fit into the containers of the past.”
Those words hit me like ton of bricks. He was speaking about the advertising business, but to me, it was a crystal clear call to make some changes in my life.
I’ll admit my immediate inspiration faded — as I let the pressure cooker corporate world consume me again. But I kept coming back to that quote again and again. (I even had the quote imprinted on a set of mugs for my team.)
I built a support system. I worked with a trusted mentor and surrounded myself with new people and new ideas. I read books and steeped myself in TED talks. I worked on my mindset and confidence because I knew there would be naysayers who might push me off course. I leaned on anything that fostered forward action towards my goal of a new “container”.
Today, I love the work I am doing. I have a career that energizes and inspires me every day. Many of my skills and expertise areas have translated to my new career vision. In all things (career and otherwise), I strive to honor my core values: discovery, authenticity, and connection. When I look back, I can track all of my successes to these three loves, and all my failures to ignoring what matters to my soul. Today, I live my values by helping others discover and design their own blueprint for happiness, fulfillment, and reward in life and work.