2012 was the year I changed my life drastically. I went from being in a nice, well paying job with great career opportunities to the insecurity of being a solo-entrepreneur.
Why, for the love of God would anyone do that, right?
Let me share a little part of my journey to explain.
Being Ms. Ordinary
A couple of years ago, in my first year of working at the job I just mentioned, I took a course in Open Communication together with about 10 of my colleagues. At one point, the trainer asked us to talk about our hobbies and our plans for the coming years.
I remember feeling dumbstruck at that question: I didn’t HAVE any hobbies other then ‘reading’ and ‘spending time with my friends’. Nor did I have any concrete plans for my future. I was just going where things took me and because that led to results that passed as ‘not bad’, I didn’t feel pressed to change that.
But during that course, something shifted in me. While I listened to my colleagues describing all kinds of inspirational, sometimes far-fetched hobbies, I started to feel worse and worse about myself. Why didn’t I have anything special to share that day? Didn’t I have any dreams? Why wasn’t I standing out as a unique person?
I felt like Ms Ordinary. And I wasn’t happy with that – at all.
Because somewhere inside, I knew I WAS a unique person.
I WAS special and I knew I had an interesting story to share with the world. But I just had absolutely no idea what that might be.
That day, I left the training space feeling defeated. Lost, uncertain and not at all like the person I knew I could be. You may be surprised that I treasure the memory of that day.
It’s the moment things started to shift for me. The moment I realized I needed to change.
Not who I was – or am, but how I allowed myself to be seen.
How I got to living my best life – enter The Newsroom.
Within a couple of years from that moment, I went to living the life of my dreams:
- Working on my own terms, in my own time, in my own place.
- Being able to tell people exactly what my passions and purpose are.
- Dreaming BIG.
- And having those hobbies that set me apart and inspire people.
The great thing is: I didn’t have to pretend anything to get here. I didn’t have to fake. Or be political. Or suck up to anyone.
It feels like I’m finally home.
It’s always hard in retrospect to see exactly when things started to change, but I do know one exact moment when I realized that I was making a profound change in my life and when I was finally able to name it.
It happened while watching the first episode of one of my favorite tv-shows, The Newsroom. The series is a ‘behind the scenes’ of a fictional news channel. One of the main characters is Mackenzie McHale, the executive producer.
I love Mackenzie. Honestly, I couldn’t be more fond of a woman on tv.
And the moment that changed my life for the better is one of her first important scenes in the series. You can watch it here. If you do, pay extra attention at 4:08 min, when Mac delivers the line that turned out to be my game-changer:
“See that girl over there? She’s me. Before I grew into myself and got hotter with age.”
And when she said that, I finally understood what had happened to me.
Or better phrased: what I’d been doing to myself.
I had been ‘growing into myself‘. I had been learning to accept who I really am, becoming the person I always sort of knew I had inside me, but that I hadn’t allowed myself to be.
Why? I was scared. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be successful in everyone else’s book. But when I heard Mackenzie say that line, I knew I was getting ‘hotter with age’ too.
Because I was finally ok with people seeing me as I really, really am.
Not long after that, I quit my job and moved to San Francisco with my family, where I started building my business as a transformational leadership coach.
What really did the trick
Before that big Aha-moment watching The Newsroom, I had spend the better part of a decade on self-improvement. I took loads of courses, went to dozens of seminars and had many different coaches.
I can’t say these didn’t help me at all, but looking back I realized there where only a few things that really had a profound impact on finally accepting who I truly am:
- Finding out who I really am and learning to appreciate that
- Figuring out what makes me really unique; and focusing my energy to my core talents instead of trying to improve stuff that wasn’t really my cup of tea anyway,
- Connecting to my intuition, and from that place: create an image of my future and the work I want to be doing in the world. And taking concrete steps to make that image real (like quitting that nice well-paying job).
If you’re struggling with feeling like Ms or Mr. Ordinary, or if you’re feeling you’re not being able to reach your potential or if you feel stuck in a safe, but limited life; consider focusing first on growing into yourself.
It’s never simple to make impactful changes in your life, but it is so worth it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosalie Puiman is the founder of The Sovereign Leader and the author of The Mindful Guide to Conflict Resolution. She works with executives and founding teams to bring forth effective, impactful and purpose-driven success.