Stop Following the Herd | Learn to Listen to Yourself for a Happier Life
For the first 26 years of my life, I killed it. I did everything I was “supposed” to. I made straight A’s in high school while succeeding in sports and theater, went to a great college and majored in the smartest sounding major I could find (Political Economy) while working to support myself and then went straight to a top ten law school where I did equally well. I graduated law school with a high powered law firm job in Chicago with a salary well into the six figures. I had made it!!!
I started my corporate law job in 2007, which was a challenging time. In 2009, after months of learning of at least one classmate that was laid off every week, it was my turn. I lost my cushy-salaried job that was supporting my mortgage and my student loan payments. In just a year and a half, I went from “killing it” to feeling like a complete failure.
I knew when I was laid off that I didn’t really want to continue being a corporate lawyer, but I felt I had no choice. Miraculously, I landed an in-house job that felt successful and interested me much more than the law firm job and felt I was back on track. Recession schmecession…no one can stop me!
And then I got a groupon for a yoga studio in my neighborhood.
I had been athletic my whole life and was competing in marathons and triathlons, so figured yoga would be a cinch. Plus, this studio had a “Yin and Vino” class on Friday night, and I can totally get behind any endeavor that involves wine.
I started going on Friday nights pretty religiously. It even felt like church to me. My teacher would say these terribly wise things — “You get to choose how to experience this pose.” “The shape doesn’t matter, what matters is how it feels to you.” “You can push to your max, but how sustainable will that be?” “There is no reason to strive beyond your limits.” “No one is watching. This is about you.” — as I was suffering quietly in an eight minute pigeon pose.
I didn’t know this lady (and now she’s one of my closest friends), but she was turning my world upside down! All of these things she was saying about the poses seemed to have a direct application to my life. Who was I performing for? Why did I keep making decisions that made me look good to other people but that really weren’t fulfilling to me? I was tired and unsatisfied.
In our current world, there are so many accolades and achievements and certifications and milestones that you are “supposed” to collect. There are endless blogs and email lists promising to deliver you success and happiness with “5 Simple Steps!” It’s overwhelming.
If you spend more than 20 minutes perusing the internet reading what you think is “productive” because you’re learning about how to succeed, you can easily come out of your internet fog overloaded with what you’re “supposed” to do to achieve success and confused at all of the conflicting information out there — let alone what you already know.
What those first yoga classes really gave me were a time and place where I could start to listen to myself. The wisdom spouted in class was further encouragement to slow down and listen. Yoga definitely didn’t quell my type-A achiever tendencies, but the beauty is that those tendencies made me want to do yoga “right.” And I was lucky enough to have found a teacher that told me that “right” meant figuring out what it meant to me.
When I knew that a future in the law wasn’t right for me I figured the obvious next step was to teach yoga full time. I wanted to help other people the way yoga had helped me.
But yoga isn’t for everyone. I get it. It can feel too “woo-wooey,” can easily get confused with a workout and finding the right teacher and studio takes time (and often times a long drive). I wanted to help people in a way that felt comfortable and approachable to them and to utilize my corporate side that had served me so well. I found a profession that is the perfect marrying of my type-A, achiever mentality that propelled me through the legal profession and my yoga side that told me to slow down and determine my own path.
While working full time as a lawyer and teaching yoga whenever I could, I began a coach training program. It was great, and it really just felt like the wisdom of yoga without the physical side. I loved it and loved the idea of incorporating my yoga knowledge in a package that I could deliver to people that were just like me — skeptical, hesitant to step into a yoga room, “successful” but not happy.
In 2015, I left my full time law practice and began a full time career coaching practice. Now I get to help people define their idea of success and start living it. I offer people the wisdom of yoga in a more corporate-like setting that is less intimidating and more directly applicable. Mainly, I help people do the work to discover what is right for them.
Most of my clients are a lot like me. They have done all of the “right” things. They have succeeded beyond what they ever imagined. They have followed the path they are “supposed” to follow. And they’re still not satisfied. Working with a coach helps people get clear on what they really want their future to look like — regardless of what others are doing — and then take the steps to get it.
When people follow a strategic approach to their career they don’t end up 15 years into their career feeling trapped and wondering how they got there.
If you feel like you’re following a pre-determined career path with no intention for how you really want your career to support your life, sign for a free session with me! Get intentional and strategic about your career so you can control your career and stop being just another sheep in the herd.