I recently spent time with a brilliant woman. After 18 years of hard sweat and tears, she is almost at the top. She is operating in a male dominated industry. She has carved a career that her peers would be envious of. On the surface she has it all.
Deep inside. She is unhappy.
She shared her story with me. Her struggle to get to the top. But it wasn’t the struggle that had knocked the happiness from her. In fact, it was the the struggle that has kept her going all these years. She had a goal, she had a purpose, to get to the top.
Now just as she is at the pinnacle, she is questioning herself. Is it worth it? Am I happy? Have I found fulfillment?
As I sat with her, I couldn’t stop thinking of how she reminded me of me. For twelve years I worked in a career which to be honest, I was good at it. I enjoyed the work. I enjoyed meeting new people. I enjoyed finding them opportunities. So what was wrong?
Okay so a series of events took place but it was the catalyst to something which was already there. Why was I so unhappy?
I look at myself now. I feel like a different person. I used to go from day to day like an empty shell. Uninspired. I was good at what I did, but it didn’t fuel me. Today, I literally bounce out of bed with ideas, buzzing around my head. My skin is better, I am healthier. Even my husband says he likes me better!
These are the three questions which helped guide me to my purpose. I highly recommend combining it with, a weekend away with just you, a beautiful meal, a long bubble bath and butcher’s paper, lots of butchers’ paper.
What am I passionate about?
Now don’t get me wrong. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean you need to find a career in that area. Take me for example. Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with food. Eating it, cooking it, literally anything about it. But I am not making a career from it although it does find it’s way into my business from time to time.
I am passionate about a lot of things. I think the technical term is multi-passionate. It doesn’t make me a flake. Just a real person. I’m passionate about food, design, creativity and most of all I am passionate about people. I love to see transformation and I am driven to be a part of that change.
I don’t run a restaurant or a design studio but I make opportunities to embrace my passions when I can. From building my own website to event planning I make sure my passions get an opportunity to shine.
What am I good at?
I asked everybody I knew. My family, my friends, my work colleagues, my clients, my candidates. I asked everybody I could. I wanted to see though their eyes what they saw in me. What I heard was a couple of key resounding messages “communicating, connecting, intuition, seeing potential and belief” I soon realized that the skills and experience that I had been building up in my corporate life, was what I was good at.
During my years I met hundreds of candidates and worked with them on a deeper level. What did they want? How could they develop? Where were they going? If you took away all the politics, and drilled down to the actual job. Finding the right job, the right candidate. I enjoyed doing it. I was good at it and it played to my strengths.
What does the world need?
Research shows it will take 81 years for us to reach equality in the workplace. I just can’t wait that long. Yes, some have called me impatient but I would like to think I see a problem and I cannot sit still.
There is a need for organisations to manage their talent more effectively – from acquiring the right talent to developing high potential staff. There is room for action.
I see everyday opportunities for women to connect and strengthen each other. One of my best friends is going through the same obstacles I had faced. I can use my story to strengthen her.
Do you see where I am going with this? Fundamentally I didn’t jump into something drastically new. I am doing what I love, using my skills and strengths to fix a problem I see. I love what I do. I have found a purpose which connects to my passions. I am now fuelled by a different energy. It makes my soul happy.
Those who know me, have seen a difference. Even my four-and-a-half-year-old can tell the difference. She says to me “Mummy I love it when you work for Accelerate Women.” How intuitive.
Life is too short to be unhappy. I know. I have been there.
You don’t have to all quit your jobs and start up a new enterprise. But you can ask yourself these questions. You can use it to find your voice. There is power in finding your purpose. You literally never know what is around the corner.
Phebe Cho is passionate about unleashing the potential in career focused individuals. Her business ACCELERATE WOMEN equips and empowers you no matter where you are in your career. Contact Phebe Cho for your free one hour coaching consultation and take the first step into unleashing your potential and finding your true purpose.