It was 2001 and I was just downsized in the dot com bust. I was anxious and eager to get back to work after having spent two crazy years working to get ahead in my career that resulted in a lot of long hours. When I wasn't working, I was studying to work smarter and learn more to continue to move my career forwards being rewarded over and over again for my efforts. Then… WHAM, out of work!
The market was tumultuous at that time and remained so for a number of years. As a result of my downsizing, I remained out of work for a period of atleast 5 months. I started furiously looking for work at first and found that many companies were downsizing too. There were no opportunities to be found and I was thrust into a period of stillness.
Gradually, I started learning what to do with my time when I wasn't working or studying to move my career forwards. I had the gift of an outplacement coach as support and began the process of reflecting on what I wanted in my career and life vs. getting lost in the busyness of getting ahead. This was the beginning of two wonderful gifts in life ahead for me: learning to embrace calm and stillness in my life and developing meaningful work that fulfilled me.
Having been thrust into a period of stillness at first was unsettling. I felt lost and directionless. As time went on, I persevered through the discomfort of not having work and learned to enjoy spending time focused on reflection and bringing more variety into my life in ways that didn't include my career. That started a long reflective journey to discover my most meaningful work, a process that took a number of years.
Fourteen years later I can't be more thankful for the journey. The growth and clarity that came from learning to cultivate stillness and calm has allowed me to connect with my strengths and what is meaningful for me in my career and the rest of my life. Learning to set healthy boundaries to keep stillness and calm as a part of life means that I have the clarity to turn away opportunities that aren't fulfilling and embrace those that actively cultivate the meaningful career and life I want most.
To learn more about calm, stillness and meaningful work, read Brené Brown's book: Daring Greatly or come experience them through the lens of leadership in my leadership retreat in partnership with Jamie Davidoff, to find out more visit The Daring Way™ For Leaders.