135 days ago I took a break from the working world. I left a great digital agency with passionate people doing innovative work. I went cold turkey. No jobs lined up. No interviews. No plans. No ticking clock. No roadmap ahead. It was time for a reset. A career pivot as a friend said…And the kicker was that I honestly didn’t have any expectations. I only had hope. And hope is a pretty powerful force.
20 years in advertising, selling products all over the globe. Getting under the skin of consumers, creating strategies and deep relationships with teams and clients. Never in those two decades did I consider calling a time out.
Perhaps because of my career trajectory.
Perhaps a bit of FOMO.
Perhaps because I was incredibly grateful to how good advertising had been to me.
Perhaps because I really enjoyed my work.
And perhaps because years in agency life had allowed me some space to in effect work two jobs at once — my day job was servicing clients, my other day job was mentoring, coaching and managing,
All of these are actually true. And the other truth is this.. after jumping from country to country, job to job, product to product, team to team, client to client, I had put my purpose on hold.
These 135 days have been filled with hours and hours of space, stillness and even at times, nothingness — but never boredom. I was able to be 100% present with friends and family all over the country and across the pond. The time with them was intentional, it was slow time, it was full of connection. I wasn’t looking at my phone. (Well actually I did pick up my phone, many times, only to realize that once you stop working, you only get about 3 emails a day! So it’s a worthless fishing trip).
I wasn’t fitting people into my schedule but rather I had so much space to happily fit into theirs. Some days were like a fertile blank canvas when massive possibilities began to race across my mind. Some days were spent reading (something I had forgotten how to do), and some days I just put headphones on, walked the dog and zoned out. For hours. My best friend reminded me that the world was my oyster… and she was right.
135 days brought me back home. This didn’t happen day 15 or day 47 or even day 89.. but the culmination of all of hours and days brought me what I had hoped for — that I would find my “Zen” again. A relationship with myself that was calm and kind and not rushed. And in that clarity my purpose became crystal clear — I only want to facilitate growth and change in people and organizations.
There were many people over the 135 days that were there for me, either knowing or unknowing. My incredible and generous friends near & far, my amazing girlfriend, my wonderful family, my awesome boss, and even my former clients. Hopefully you all know who you are. I love you. Thank you.
Today I go back to work! It’s a new chapter for me. It’s a dream come true. Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia. The same place I said goodbye to 135 days ago. I’m walking in with open arms and an open heart — ready to get down to business and BE my purpose. Every minute of every day!