Finding Equilibrium Between Work and Personal Goals
A year ago, I started a new chapter in my professional life, making the difficult decision to leave the comfort and stability of a great job at an established company to an unpredictable journey as an independent consultant. Reflecting back, it was the best decision I could make. I haven’t talked publicly much about why I chose this path. Since many have asked, I thought it would be important and valuable to share my journey in finding equilibrium.
Before I left, I did a lot of soul-searching to understand why I felt like I wasn’t in an optimal point in life. On paper, I had the dream job. My team was gaining more influence and increased recognition, I had opportunities to do more and grow within the organization I was in, and I didn’t feel over-worked. But my emotions were telling a different story. I was easily agitated at home, would stress, and believed I could not grow professionally without compromising my family’s needs. I could not comprehend how someone who had it so good could feel so… out of balance.
A dear friend of mine recommended I read Pivot, by Jenny Blake, and I didn’t have to go too far in the book to realize why; I had been feeling bored and stuck, and Jenny eloquently described boredom as the opposite of happiness. “It turns out that boredom itself can induce stress, causing the same physical discomfort as too much work; boredom is a symptom of fulfillment deficiency – of not maximizing for growth and impact.”
The goal was to find a way to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulation but maintain my work-life balance. I didn’t want to work less; I wanted to work smarter.
And that’s how I started my journey to redefine work-life balance into work-life equilibrium. I stopped making lists and rank-ordering priorities; I drew a Venn diagram instead. My objective was to find the sweet spot between what was right for me, my family and my career. Much like a company with multiple brands that need to define its overarching purpose and positioning, I had goals for each part of my life and had to find the most relevant thread that weaved the pieces together. It was an exercise in self-discovery, that ultimately led to inner truths about what makes me happy and fulfills my passions. The process I went through has enough material for a future post, but for now, here’s what I learned about myself in finding equilibrium:
- I like making an impact that propels change (in how someone thinks, behaves, acts, etc.)
- I have the tremendous capacity to learn to be good at a lot of things. But, I’m happier when I focus on what I’m great at
- Without challenge (and therefore a little bit of stress!) I can’t enjoy my accomplishments
These personal insights provide me with filters for making choices personally and professionally and have been instrumental in putting me on the right career path this past year.
I wanted to find a way to impact change while doing what I do best (leveraging insights to transform strategies), challenge myself by working with a variety of companies across multiple industries, and work smarter (leverage tools and resources so I can be fully engaged at work and at home). I found my equilibrium when I joined Chameleon Collective. Chameleon is a collective of independent consultants with three core beliefs. A) people are most impactful when they can align their work and their passions; b) we live in an increasingly connected world and this should influence how we work, and c) there is an entrepreneur in all of us that is nurtured when surrounded by the knowledge, wisdom, and network of a collective.
This new way of working, surrounded by a network of amazing and talented individuals, has recharged my creativity and passion, and I can say the same for my colleagues. It is reflected in every project we have worked on, and I am excited to take on new challenges in the months and years to come. I invested time this year in finding equilibrium and defining my purpose. I hope to help you or your company find yours.