Change is messy. It’s a big unwieldy tangle of expectations and dreams that slams up against reality. What’s that common saying? Life is what happens when you’re making plans. I’ve learned how true that is. I had a very rigid plan that now, a few months in, looks very different … and thankfully so!

Photo by Phillip Chin

I’m still in the early stages of my year of change. After 20 years running the corporate marathon, I knew that I needed to hit pause and take a creative re-set. So the past few months have been full of “A-HA moments” – those life-changing realizations that stop you in your tracks. I’ve had so many of those lately that my head is spinning. I thought that I knew myself really well but I’ve realized a whole lot more (which is scary / amazing / exhilarating / relieving). It goes to the core of who I am and the direction I want my life to take, starting with my next career path. I’m rethinking where I want to work; who I want to work with; and the energy I thrive on to move forward. I made all kinds of assumptions last year that I’m now reviewing. I’m grateful that I gave myself this gift of time to get to know ME better. And honestly, I really wasn’t expecting to do that much self-reflection. (I thought I should delete that last sentence but I’m leaving it right here because understanding my own ego was yet another “A-HA moment“.)

A few things I’ve discovered:

Take it slow: I was racing to check off everything on my agenda instead of taking thoughtful steps towards a smaller series of goals. My Type A personality is driven to get everything done all at once. “Why wait? You’re wasting time! Go! Go! Go!” is what I often think. And a lot of time, that’s not only kind of dumb, but pointless and even harmful. I’m forcing myself to put the brakes on and consider my decisions. And trust me, that’s not easy when I’m a little impatient. 

Patience: And about my lack of patience … (now that’s an understatement!) I’ve realized that I simply have to stop and wait at times, even when I’m really anxious for a resolution. That’s been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I doubt that I’ll ever master the art of Zen (what exactly is that?) but I am hopeful that I’ll learn to be more chill.

Detour: I’m discovering that while I love to write, it’s not what I crave full-time. I like being around people. That was a major “A-HA moment“. I thought I wanted to work at home every day and now I know that I thrive in a collaborative setting with creative people of all stripes.

Great expectations: I need to stop letting other people try to write my story. I don’t have a lot of answers yet. What I need to do is savour the moment, and, really truly, live in the present. 

A favourite quote by Marcel Proust

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

I often think about this quote, especially now as I challenge myself to look at my life with fresh eyes from different angles. I’m fortunate to have my team close by (my mentors, partner and close friends) to support, and challenge, my decisions. It’s easy to roll along on one track with a laser focus. I need to pay more attention to the flags up at detours along the way that are worth exploring. I will pivot when something intriguing pops up – even when that may veer from my original plans. I’m allowing myself that flexibility, and in the process, I’ve begun to know myself better than ever. Stay tuned!