We all have a story of living our purpose, getting off track and, with work and luck, finding our way back to our best selves. Let it be your ultimate career, your passion, whatever makes you, you.
This month’s guest blogger is Leah Krieger, Executive Director for Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal.
I’ve been partnering with Centerpoint for almost a year. It’s been an amazing ride and I look forward to what the future holds. Leah shares with us her journey of how her ultimate career found her and through life’s twists and turns she found herself too!
Until we meet again, Live Vibrantly, my Friends!
By the time I was 18, I had it all figured out.
I would live my life as an advocate, someone fighting the good fight, helping the under dogs of the world. I’d had a taste of protesting (started harmless, at a rodeo for “animal abuse”), and I was beginning to understand the world wasn’t how it seemed. I wanted to be a part of the truth, of movement, of making things right. Ohhhh what an age, what a mentality…anything and everything was possible!!
Instead… by the time I was 35, I had worked for three of the biggest hotel chains in the world and ended my 14-year hospitality career as a Department Head in a downtown Seattle hotel. In my opinion I made a pretty sizable paycheck (bigger than I thought I’d ever get, for someone who had NO interest in going to college). I was good at what I did and my life had been, by all definitions, successful. Promotions were easy to me, I never interviewed for a job I didn’t get, I was the one that ended employment, etc.
So, why… WHY was I so unhappy?!
I’ll tell you why! Because I had been hearing this little pesky voice in the back of my busy brain for 14 years, incessantly whispering to me that I was meant for more. Telling me I was destined to have an impact somewhere. At the end, it was screaming at me like a toddler having a tantrum: “Leah! What are you DOING?!”
I was impatient. I was stressed. I was drinking too much. I never saw my family. And my fiancé was all done with my mood at home. I was heavy and unhealthy – emotionally, mentally and physically… which if you know me, it’s really NOT me.
When change finally happened, it felt like I didn’t even really have a choice. I had to go. It was going to kill my soul forever if I stayed. I can’t sacrifice everything for something that brings me limited, if any, joy. My job was fun for a while, then it got boring, then it got hard, then it became something else entirely. It changed. I changed.
Why try to force the current to flow a different way?
It was me. I had to go.
April 7, 2012 was my last day of a nearly 15-year career that I put 150% of myself into. That takes a bit of processing.
I resigned without a new job in sight. Not even an attempt on my part. I needed a summer off to get clear, to get quiet, to find ME again. Best summer EVER.
And by the end of it I was tan, healthier, calmer and present. To be present in your life, when you spent so long not being present, well… there’s more processing there. When I was done with all my processing, I was ready to discover my next chapter.
My father-in-law recommended a place called Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal.
A beautiful little Seattle non-profit that helps people find their true purpose, and passion. Using a very holistic, narrative approach they got me to dive deep into my heart, my soul, to find what it is I am destined for. And guess what? That 18 year old had it right all along…
Today you find me a happy, whole human.
I am married to the most incredible person I’ve ever met (good thing I didn’t mess that one up!). I no longer work 60-80 hours a week. I am back to my fighting weight, and I have connections to the important people in my life. Funny enough, through a series of fortunate events, I became the Executive Director of that beautiful little Seattle non-profit that helps people find themselves. I seriously couldn’t even make this up.
My point? It’s never too late. You have choices. Listen to your gut.
Changing your career can be one of the most terrifying things you’ll ever do, but there is help out there. Having help removes a LOT of that fear.
There is a way to navigate that transition with the best of intentions, with your best interests in mind, with your definition of success involved, and with your own blood, sweat and tears in the results. It’s there for you, you just have to want it bad enough. Imagine that. Imagine a world where we all do that…
I’ll end with a quote from the great Joseph Campbell (it’s difficult to choose just one!):
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
– Joseph Campbell