When I decided to retire from corporate life back last fall 2020, there were so many obvious factors (COVID, New Marriage, Blended Family, 5 Kids, Virtual School, etc) that I didn’t ever really get pushed on the personal.
For a couple of mentors and close colleagues, I would offer “I need to peel the saran wrap off of my brain” and they got it, cheered me on.
But what did that really mean? Why did people seem to understand exactly what I meant?
It’s August 2021 and I have been out of the practice of being somewhere at or by a certain time and to others’ expectations for just over half of a year. Even my once weekly yoga class at a local studio is out of the mix as I’m off the regular schedule for a bit. It’s in this sea of clarity (nobody needing me outside of those destined to me (my husband, my kids)) that I can really see my own ideas versus my old ideas.
I do not think it is entirely fair to say that a particular group, organization, school, community traps you or makes you think a certain way if the dynamic started with a personal choice to be a part of it.
I do think it is fair to say that a group, org, school, or community brings to your life expectations. Your personal choice to be a part of and adhere to those expectations seals a little bit of your deal… drives your actions and interactions… and ultimately does or does not align with your values.
One of the hardest parts of my decision to retire from corporate life was that I value teamwork, hard work, being a part of something and helping others. But these things didn’t plug and play at home. I felt this distinct pull to value my time differently, understand my skills differently, see myself interact with life differently.
Who was I without my role at Enterprise? What do I do that is impressive outside of what I was known for? How will my creativity play out?
Would my migraines go away? How would I take better care of myself?
What would my brain be thinking about in the background of my life if I wasn’t trying to understand other people’s motivations… why they did that thing… why they didn’t… can you believe this… but I thought we had decided… there is a meeting tomorrow… I need to talk to… Remind me…
Respond to email… I’ll get up early to…
At first that mental train filled with ingredients needed for Thanksgiving dinner, herb gardens and soy sauce… sprinkled in there was teenage mental health… an obsession with Scottish accents and how to make bread… use salt… use acid… use heat.
In the spring? It became puppy training, essentials to raising baby dogs, rain-scaping… and now?
When not managing details at home or relaxing with husband or working on book, the engine is less thinking and more entertained by:
Yes, my purpose.
My who I am when I feel that lighting up a room feeling. My confidence in specific talents I recognize from my childhood self.
The purpose that when lived out comes with a beloved intrinsic quality of freedom in everything I do.
The purpose that paints… creativity that shows up in the kitchen… on my walls…
via Apple Pen and Sharpies…
I get an occasional migraine still from the sun. And I take better care of myself via walking every day. Questions are answered. I have grown.
The tickle of expectation and butterflies of performance reviews, now a speck back behind me when before they towered ahead of me like a mountain range. More like driving east out of Denver, less like driving west.
The past couple of days / weeks, I have resurrected my LinkedIn. I like the freedom I feel to share my perspectives and random posts without my role as somebody’s subordinate, as somebody’s resource, as a company’s representation.
I get the tickle and butterflies but get to completely ignore it, as my own CEO.
I have always tried for this level of authenticity in the past but am just now getting to where the beauty of TRUST and the smile of KNOWING that even if a person you respect calls you up and says “you have to think about how this looks to other people” or “you should keep yourself squeaky clean” or “I just wouldn’t do that knowing that some day I might want to…” that you would still love what you wrote, how you wrote it because it’s YOU.
It’s your intention.
The underlying motivation of purpose that drives your actions and interactions is yours.
Nobody else’s. Just yours…