My journey started at a corporate…
And there I was, a «still employed» at a corporate, 38 years old, 32 pounds heavier, 400 hours overtime in a single year, no or a challenging personal life, unhealthy eating habits, frustrated, depleted and desperate. Hadn’t I done everything the right way? So far, everyone seemed quite impressed. As a high performer, I had always exceeded expectations. But suddenly it was here, the re-structuring along with a new line manager. Nothing was supposed to change, yet everything did.
Why always me?
All of a sudden, I wasn’t good enough anymore. Helping others to reach their goals wasn’t enough. My value system didn’t fit with the desired norm any longer. I felt locked up more and more – a freedom-loving person like myself had to report back on every step. Naturally, I responded with the all the emotions that nature has graced us with for survival. A rare sickness within the family also overwhelmed me. This perfect storm of distrust, frustration, fighting and lots of tears was rampaging and just didn’t stop.
These days, I know that this was my saving grace. The moment of being fired was a complete blow below the belt. I loved my tasks, responsibilities, and my clients. My job was my life. The daily grind in the team and the politics, however, made me more sick every day. The burnout was lurking in the next back road. There was only this conclusion: My manager had to fire me. Never mind that the “how” was disappointing. In hindsight it’s completely irrelevant.
Take on the responsibility – now!
The storm passed but my seemingly beautiful world had collapsed like a house of cards. My caring ego that had accompanied me lightheartedly wherever I went was bruised. The fighter in me knew what I no longer wanted. But, I beg your pardon, what was it that I did want? For the first time in my professional life I was overwhelmed and didn’t have a plan. Today, I know that that’s part of life.
PS: Please pinch me in case I should ever forget that.
Fast forward: These days I’m allowed to live by my values in my job environment.
PS: Have I mentioned yet that I’m still working for that very same corporate?
I have fullfilled and happy personal life. I am more mindful, sleep enough, meditate daily, take on the responsibility for my thought and emotions, focus on the possibilities that life offers me, reflect regularly, and think about what positive contribution I can make without losing myself. I eat much healthier, and frequent sport is part of my life. But – it was a long journey to get here.
Prior to this, my career had been a steady flow. Active participation wasn’t necessary. Everything was moving along by itself. My professional training, my degree in business law, my specialization in international tax law along with years of experiences completed my tag “corporates’ most wanted”. That was exactly what I had planned. Be diligent, climbing up the career ladder and the rest will take care of itself. I practically perfected that approach later on with my diploma as German tax advisor and a specialization in international transfer pricing.
My future was “clear as mud” as they say up North. I accepted everything I stood to lose with this approach.
So, there I was, fired. I asked myself, looking at the mirror: Who am I? What do I really want? What is good for me? What’s the meaning of it all? Why don’t my jeans fit any longer?
That career flow that I had been perfecting thus far hit a large dam without an outlet. I wanted more, I wanted something different. But what?
I was lucky to find a coach who helped me break through that dam. He, himself a member of the C-suite of a corporate, asked me questions that, so far, I never wanted to answer. I told myself: In his position, he most likely knows what he’s talking about. I had no excuse!
I couldn’t escape from answering questions about myself, my life, and my feelings. I started remembering, in baby-steps, how to follow my intuition. In the maelstrom of emotions, going in circles, I had cried many tears. Recently separated from my partner, I travelled, slept long hours, spent much time in nature, took up jogging, and finally found myself again. I came to the realization that it didn’t matter what my job was – as long as it was in authentic unison with myself.
But, how was I to move on? All these doubts… Just like before, I was getting job offers. But not offers for “Mirjam” but for my straight-forward professional profile and the well-known job experience. Not only the unemployment office wanted me to take on a supposedly secure role and then continue to job hunt from there. I stumbled, but it didn’t feel exactly good.
My responsibility – My success
In the meanwhile, holding a not very challenging part-time job, I decided on August 23, 2013, to find my next boss on my own. Why should only the candidate be a good fit? The manager should fit to the candidate as well, shouldn’t they? Thanks to this approach, I encountered many shaking heads. I’ve been known to be a bit peculiar anyway.
PS: A big thank-you to all my favorite people who still supported me in this!
My top-ten list was compiled quite quickly. I chose wisely and enjoyed three wonderful years, in which I was allowed to learn an incredible number of things while easily remaining myself with all my rough edges. My weight, health, and personal life, by the way, fell into their place all by themselves. I did not only become the shield and sword for my department, but also for myself. PS: I fit into my jeans again.
But, as life goes, it is fluid. Sometimes there is a branch-off, a congestion, a vortex or other obstacles to overcome. So, managers move on and restructurings are bound to happen. Just go with the flow?
My wake-up call
One gorgeous morning while jogging through the Aarbach ravine, I remembered the words of my boss. He kept telling me again and again:
Mirjam, you feel a sandstorm coming even though you’re on the high seas and there is no land in sight near and far.
Mirjam, you know that you have the talent to inspire other people, don’t you?
All of a sudden I remembered that, long before my training as a business lawyer, my corporate career etc., my very first manager in a small whole sale company had been telling me the exact same things. Strange that it came to my mind right then and there. I decided to take a deeper look.
Personal – Business – Team Coach & Mindfulness Trainer
Autumn 2017 – There it was yet again, my intuition. So, I took action. And, of course, there was the one or the other learning curve. There were detours, many questions, emotions, doubts, negative spirales etc. Well, that’s life, I’ve been told – particularly for people like me, who completely commit to everything they do.
These days, those experiences help me in accompanying people to be more mindful, to follow their intuition, to realise their goals and dreams. I invite them to start with themselves, to find clarity about their value system and the purpose of their life, to re-discover resources, to let go, maybe to re-orientate themselves and possibly take on a new perspective. It doesn’t take more than that. After all, I have a few experiences there! And if I can help just a single person to burst through a dam, it is such a big reward for me – happy end 1.0! An incredible feeling. How wonderful that my journey continues…