Musings from ”the Other Side”
by Vivian Groman
Herds of women are migrating out of corporate life. My suburban neighborhood is full of them. Heck, I’m one of them! The reasons why we left are not likely that different. We get out and sigh, “Ah, now I’ll have balance, purpose and joy.” Soon we are wondering, “What now? What does my balance, purpose and joy look like?” These are worthwhile questions to ask no matter where we are.
Start asking the questions now.
I left my corporate career thinking I was leaving behind all the structures that kept me from finding the answers to these important questions. At first, riddled simultaneously with joy and anxiety, I rested and then slowly started taking in the experiences of a non-corporate life.
As I tip-toed into my new life, I received a request. My daughter’s Brownie troop needed a coordinator for their big annual event. It involved leadership and coordinating many details. I confidently accepted. “With my background, this will be a piece of cake,” I murmured to myself. I dove into the design, coordination and execution. Very quickly I found myself driving all over town for special supplies. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. printing and ironing personalized decals on to crisp white t-shirts. I was exhausted. I found no balance, purpose or joy in the Brownie project.
And then it hit me. When we ask the questions, don’t look any further for the answers than yourself.
This is where contextual leadership comes in. Regardless of where you are and what is happening in your career or your life, ask yourself:
- What context am I creating for myself so that living in balance, purpose and joy can show up? Having balance, purpose and joy in your life is a ‘way-of-being’ exercise not a doing exercise. What context for your life are you designing so that you can live into the life you declare?
- What practices do I need to create the ‘being-ness’ in myself to live in balance, purpose and joy? Supporting yourself by instituting new habits that support who you need to be to have balance, purpose and joy is essential. Start simple. Start sitting quietly for five minutes a day. Notice your breathing while in the car. Stop and eat lunch.
- What community can I tap into to support me? There are many others who may not be asking the questions but are yearning for the same results. Engage them in the question, “What does balance, purpose and joy look like for you?” Create a monthly or quarterly lunch group that ponders together.
If I knew then what I know now or more accurately, if I was then who I am now, I would have had a much better chance of living a life of balance, purpose and joy while in the corporate world. Regardless of where our migration paths take us, as a herd we can live a magical life. Engage in your own internal journey wherever you are, now.